Poker is a card game of strategy and luck, played by people from all over the world for pennies and matchsticks, or in casinos for thousands of dollars. Some think that poker is purely a game of chance, while others believe that there is a significant amount of skill involved in the game and that the more you play, the better you become.
Whether you’re a new player or an experienced pro, having a clear understanding of the official rules of poker will protect you from misunderstandings and help keep the atmosphere at your table fun and fair for all players. In addition to official poker rules, there are a number of unwritten poker rules that can improve the experience for all players at the table, and also help you win more often.
It is customary that a club or group of players may make special poker rules to suit their own preferences, but those rules should be written down and made available to all members. This rulebook includes many such rules and is recommended for use in all poker rooms.
One player acts as the dealer and rotates clockwise after each hand. The two players to his left (known as the small blind and the big blind) must each place a forced bet, or “blind”, into the pot before being dealt cards. Each player then receives two cards face down, which are known as their hole cards. In the earliest days of poker, all hands were dealt face up to the players, but as the game developed and grew in popularity, the use of private or secret betting became common.