Whether playing in a home game or a professional tournament, poker players must abide by a set of official rules. These rules are a necessary component to ensure that poker remains a game of skill and not just chance.
In most games, a player must “ante” (pay an amount, varying by game) in order to receive cards and bet into the pot. Once betting begins, the highest hand wins the pot.
A standard pack of 52 cards is used for all games, although some variants use more or less. The cards are ranked in order from highest to lowest: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 7, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. There are also special cards called wild, which can take on any suit and rank as desired.
The dealer must always have one card dealt face down as a burncard before dealing each player his or her cards. If a dealer accidentally exposes a card, procedure varies with the specific poker form. A player who exposes a card intentionally should announce that it was exposed before looking at the card to obtain a ruling from the floor.
The value of a poker chip is not tied to a dollar amount, but is assigned a number that makes it easy for players to understand and report chips at the table. Cash game chips have a different color than tournament chips, and the latter may be stamped with the name of a tournament host or other branding.