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The Official Poker Rules

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Poker is a card game in which individuals compete for an amount of chips contributed by all players (called the pot). The underlying skill in the game is to minimize losses with poor hands and maximize winnings with good ones. Players compete for a share of the total pot by placing wagers, called bets, in relation to their own chips and the value of their hand.

The rules of a particular variant of the game determine how the betting process will proceed. In general, players bet on a poker hand by raising or calling, or both, and sometimes a player may fold his or her cards. The highest-ranked poker hand wins the pot. Players must be aware of their opponents’ actions and predict what they might do in future betting rounds.

In a poker game, the cards are dealt to each player from a standard pack of 52. The card ranks are: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 7, 6, 5, 4 and 2. The suits are spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. Some games have additional cards, known as wild cards, which can take the place of other cards or rank higher than them.

A standard poker game requires a supply of casino-style poker chips that represent the value of a player’s stake in the game. Typically, the white chip is worth one unit or minimum ante or bet; a red chip is worth five whites; and a blue chip is worth either 10 or 20 whites. A player must “buy in” for a fixed number of chips before the start of the game.

Each poker game must have a dealer who is responsible for dealing the cards and keeping track of each player’s betting actions. The dealer must also know the rules of the poker game being played and be able to apply them in a fair and consistent manner.

If a player suspects the dealer of violating a rule, it is the responsibility of that player to speak up and inform the floor manager, or “floor,” of the situation. The floor is typically the poker room manager, and he or she will come over to make a final judgment about an issue adhering to the rules of the game.

The rules of poker must be clear and unambiguous in order to be applied consistently. The use of regional or nonstandard terms and gestures is discouraged because they may lead to a ruling that is different from what the player intended. Similarly, the use of clothing or other accoutrements must be consistent and not distract from the game.

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