The Official Poker Rules

Poker is a card game with many variants, all of which involve betting and the formation of poker hands. The highest-ranked hand wins the pot. The game requires a considerable amount of luck, but also a great deal of skill in making decisions during the betting intervals.

The game is typically played with a standard deck of 52 cards, though some games use multiple packs or add jokers. There are four suits (spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs) and an Ace, which can be high or low. Most games allow players to make one, two or three pair combinations; some also have wild cards.

Traditionally, poker was a game that involved wagering real money. Players often built up a special fund called a “kitty” that was used to pay for new cards and other supplies. If a player leaves the game before it is finished, they forfeit their share of chips in the kitty.

Modern poker is generally considered to have evolved from a variety of three-card and five-card brag games, such as Post & Pair (English, 17th – 18th centuries), Brelan (French, 19th century) and its American successor Brag (18th century to present). Poker then adopted the draw from its British three-card antecedent, allowing players to improve their hands by discarding and receiving replacement cards.

The rules of poker vary widely from game to game, reflecting local customs and preferences. A written code of poker laws is recommended for adoption by all clubs and groups of players.