Official Poker Rules

Poker is a card game in which players compete for an amount of money or chips contributed by all the players in a hand (called the pot). Players use their own cards and their knowledge of what other players are likely holding to make bets that maximize the value of their own hands. Although some people believe poker is purely a game of chance, it is actually a highly skillful game that requires both luck and strategy.

While the specific rules of each game may vary, all official poker games follow the basic principles outlined below. Players must ante a certain amount of money to be dealt cards and then bet into the pot throughout the course of each hand. The highest-valued hand wins the pot. The game is played from a standard pack of 52 cards, including the Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10, with some games adding wild cards or other symbols (dueces, one-eyed jacks, etc.).

In order to maintain the integrity of the game, it is critical that all players adhere to the highest standards of etiquette and professionalism. Among the most serious violations are showing a hand to an opponent, advisor or spectator, discussing strategy with anyone not involved in the action, intentionally exposing cards (including the current player’s mucked cards) with action pending and failing to maintain adequate card visibility and countability at all times.

During play, players can establish an optional fund for the game called a “kitty.” This is often done by unanimous agreement and is used to pay for new decks of cards and food and beverages. When the game ends, any chips remaining in the kitty are distributed evenly to the players who are still at the table.