The Official Poker Rules

Poker is a card game in which players wager real money, called chips, on individual hands. It is a game that appeals to both amateurs and professionals and has become a popular pastime in casinos, private parties, and online. The rules of poker vary by game and game type, but some general principles apply to all games.

A hand of poker consists of five cards, one of which is dealt face down to each player. Each player then tries to make the best possible five-card poker hand using their own two hole cards and the remaining community cards, which are dealt in three stages: a series of three cards (“the flop”) followed by a single card (“the turn”) and finally the fifth card (“the river”). The best poker hand wins all the chips in the middle, known as the pot.

Each round of betting starts with the player to the left of the dealer button, who has the option to check, call the bet of another player, raise or fold. Once all players have matched the highest bet of another player, the hand is over and any remaining chips are put into the pot.

During a betting round, it is important to refrain from revealing any information about your hand, such as the number of cards you have or their value, even to other players at the table. The same applies to comments made during the deal, such as indicating your intention to play a particular hand. It is also inappropriate to give other players advice or coaching, and it is improper to look at a non-player’s cards or chips.

Poker games generally use a small and big blind bet (forced contributions to the pot by players), with an ante being used in addition to this in some situations. The size of these bets and antes may change over time, particularly in tournament play.