Poker is a card game in which players compete for an amount of money or chips contributed by the players themselves (called the pot). The cards are dealt randomly, so winning a hand depends largely on a player’s prediction as to what other players are holding and how they might behave. In most games, only a small percentage of the players receive any money; the rest lose.
In a poker game, each player is dealt two cards, called hole cards, face down. Five community cards are then dealt face up in three stages: a series of three cards (“the flop”), an additional single card (“the turn”), and the final card (“the river”). Each player seeks the best five-card poker hand from their hole cards and the five community cards. Players may bet, check, call, or raise.
When a player wants to protect their cards, they may place their hands or chips on top of them. In some games, a player who exposes their cards may be penalized. In addition, any player who has been a legal part of the game can ask to see a called hand that has been mucked; abuse of this privilege can result in denial by the dealer.
It is common for players to make up their own house rules that differ from the official poker laws. These customs may be helpful in creating a more enjoyable game, but should not be allowed to interfere with the rules of the official game.