The Official Poker Rules

The game of poker requires great skill, as well as a significant amount of luck. It is important that a written code of rules be used as the final arbiter for all questions and disputes that may arise during play. The rules contained in this rulebook are intended to serve as that final arbiter, and they should be followed in all games unless the players specifically adopt a set of house rules to suit their own preferences.

Poker is typically played in casinos, private clubs, and at tournaments where a professional dealer is used to shuffle and deal the cards. In such environments, a round disc called the dealer button is passed clockwise each hand to indicate which player will be the nominal dealer for betting purposes. The dealer is typically paid either a flat hourly rental fee for each seat or a small percentage (say, 5 percent) of each pot that he collects as his “rake.”

Each poker deal consists of one or more betting intervals, depending on the rules of the particular poker variant being played. During a betting interval, one player has the privilege or obligation to make the first bet, and all other players must place enough chips into the pot (representing money) to at least equal the contribution of the player who went before him. Cards that are exposed due to the fault of the dealer must be played, unless they are considered “dead” by the rules of the specific poker variant being played.