The Official Poker Rules

The game of poker is a gambling game that involves bluffing as well as the skill of the player. It can be played socially for pennies or matchsticks, or professionally for thousands of dollars.

When a hand of poker is dealt the players place their bets into the pot, which is in the middle of the table. Each player has the option to call (match the amount raised by the person before them), raise, or fold. When betting is over, the remaining players with hole cards show their hands. The best hand wins the pot.

In some games, one player is designated as the banker and keeps track of how many chips each player has. When a player needs more chips, they may ask the banker to issue them more, or pay him with cash. Players should not exchange chips between themselves, or give them to third parties.

A player must protect their own hand from the muck – a dealer reaching over to kill a winning hand is considered bad gamesmanship and is against poker rules. If a player can’t protect their hand, they must put something on it to keep it from getting mucked.

Some groups or clubs have special rules, called house rules, which they follow in their games. These rules should be written down and available to all members. They can vary from the official poker rules, but should be consistent with them. These rules are meant to help make the game fair for all players and prevent any disputes.