Official Poker Rules

There are many different ways to play poker, from social games for pennies or matchsticks to professional tournaments where the stakes can run into thousands of dollars. But whatever game you choose to play, there are a few basic rules you should be aware of. These are commonly called “official poker” and help to avoid confusion or misunderstandings among players.

The first rule is that players must ante something (amount varies by game) to get dealt cards. Then, the players bet into a pot in the center of the table. The highest hand wins the pot. The cards are usually dealt in stages, starting with two cards for each player (“the hole”) and then adding an additional five community cards (“the flop,” “the turn” and finally “the river”). Some games also have one or both jokers as wild cards.

In home games and some casinos, a standard set of poker chips is used. The chips are stacked in sets of 20. The value of each chip is indicated by its color: whites are worth the lowest amount ($1), reds are worth more than whites and blue chips are even more. The value of each stack is also shown on a poker table, so that players can see how much a bet costs before making it.

As poker has become an international game, there are efforts to standardize the rules. The Professional Tournament Directors Association, or TDA, is a group of poker managers from large online and live poker rooms, circuits, and poker leagues that meet every two years to discuss tournament rules reforms.