When playing poker, you must follow a set of official rules. These rules are designed to protect the integrity of the game and the interests of players. They include the basic game rules, the betting procedure, and the types of hands that are possible. While some of these rules may vary slightly from game to game, the majority of the rules remain the same.
A game of poker starts with a standard deck of 52 cards plus two jokers. Most casinos supply players with chip trays to facilitate handling large numbers of chips. The trays are usually of the same denominations, with white chips being worth the minimum ante or bet; red chips being worth either five whites or twenty-five whites; and blue chips being worth ten or twenty-five reds. The dealers who handle buy-ins are often willing to let departing players “color up” their stacks by exchanging their lower-denomination chips for higher-value ones. This is done in order to speed up the game and to reduce the amount of time it takes casino staff to deliver fresh chips to the table.
During the betting phase of a hand, each player can choose to not bet (“check”); call (match the highest previous bet made); or raise (increase the size of the previous high bet). If you say “raise,” other players must call your bet to stay in the pot; or fold their cards. It is considered impolite to verbally state that you plan to make a raise or call before doing so; however, your statement will be binding once the action begins. If you are unsure about whether to call, raise, or fold, it is usually best to simply check.
When the showdown happens, all of the remaining players compete for a sum of money or chips contributed by each player (called the pot). In some games, players can agree to establish a special fund known as a kitty, which is built up by ‘cutting’ one low-denomination chip from every pot in which there has been more than one raise. The kitty belongs to all of the players equally and is used for a variety of purposes including paying for new decks of cards, drinks, or food. If a player leaves a poker game before the end of the session, they are not entitled to take any of the chips that comprised part of the kitty.
It is considered rude to show or discuss your hand with another player, advisor, or spectator. It is also considered unfair to reveal information about your hands, such as the type of hand you have or how strong it is. Finally, it is unacceptable to give advice or help other players with their strategy at the table. The only exception is when a player asks for assistance to determine how to play their hand. Besides these rules, a good poker player must commit to smart game selection and participation. This will allow them to play the most profitable games while maximizing their potential for winning.