Official Poker Rules

Poker is an immensely popular card game. It can be played socially for pennies or matchsticks, or professionally in world-famous casinos for thousands of dollars. Regardless of its stake, the game requires a great deal of skill, both in minimizing losses with poor hands and maximizing wins with good ones. Despite its enormous popularity, there are many unwritten rules that have been adapted to local customs and preferences. It is recommended that any club or group of players adopt a set of written rules, called house rules, to serve as the final arbiter of all questions of rule.

Official betting terms are simple, unmistakable, time-honored declarations such as bet, raise, call, fold, check, all-in, and pot (pot-limit only). Regional terms may also meet this test. Other non-standard phrases or gestures, such as tapping the table to check, may be used at a player’s own risk and will not guarantee that action will follow as intended.

A common rule is that only a small percentage of the players at one table receive any money. This means that a player will have to win multiple tables to make a significant profit. For this reason, winning in a tournament is different than in cash games. In a tournament, a player begins with a certain amount of chips that represent his or her entire stake in the event. The remainder of the prize pool is then divvied up amongst the players according to their final place.