The Official Poker Guide
Poker is a card game in which individuals compete for an amount of money or chips contributed by all players (called the pot). The rules and strategy of different poker games vary, but most share some basic principles. For example, all players must protect their cards and cannot reveal them to other players. Also, all betting must be done in a predetermined order and each player is required to have at least one of their chips on the table at all times. Some poker games use different betting structures, while others have a single fixed limit.
Poker has many recognizable variants, and most of them fall into three major structural divisions. One is stud, the other draw, and the third is a group of variations that have communal cards. The earliest such variety is a variant called Poque, which has been traced to the 16th century and may be an immediate ancestor of Poker. Other antecedents include Primiera (Italian, 16th century), Gilet (under various spellings and variants, French, 16th – 18th centuries) and Ambigu (Spanish, possibly Basque, current).
During poker tournaments, each player must pay a fixed amount of money to enter the event and begins with an equal number of chips. This is a key feature that separates tournament poker from other games that involve wagering actual cash. Players that win multiple hands and make it to the final table will receive a significant portion of the prize pool, or chop.
A number of books and articles have been written about the history and rules of poker. A major contribution to the genre was made by E. Alvarez’s The Education of a Poker Player, which was first published in 1957. The book introduced the game to a wider audience and has been credited with increasing the popularity of Texas hold’em, which eventually replaced seven-card stud as the most popular poker game in the United States.
While poker games are generally played for real money, there are some situations in which exceptions to the rules can be made. These exceptions are rare, but it is important for players to understand the rules so that they can play responsibly and avoid violating any gambling laws.
When a player is away from his or her seat during the dealing of cards, the hand is considered dead. Players must be at their seats to be dealt in to a hand and to be eligible for any blinds or antes. In some cases, the cards are re-dealt after a player is out of his or her seat to ensure that all players are eligible for the hand.
A player can only call, raise, or fold after verbally declaring their intention to do so. If a player is not at his or her seat when the first round of betting occurs, the hand is considered dead. In some cases, the player can place a chip or other object on his or her card to protect it from being exposed by another player.