Official poker is a card game played by individuals for money or as part of a tournament. The rules of the game are codified in a written code of laws and must be followed by all players. In addition to the official rules, some clubs and groups of players may make their own house rules for specific situations or to suit personal preferences. This is a fine custom, and it should be honored as long as all members of the group accept them.
The game is played with poker chips that are of different colors and carry a value that corresponds to dollar amounts. A white chip is worth the lowest amount, usually a minimum ante or bet; a red chip is worth five whites, and so on. Each player must purchase enough chips to play, which is known as buying in. The total number of chips purchased is known as a stack size.
Once all players have two cards, a round of betting begins. This is initiated by mandatory bets (called blinds) placed into the pot by the two players to the left of the dealer. A further three cards are dealt face up on the table in stages, called the flop, the turn and the river. Each player then seeks to make a poker hand using their own two cards and the five community cards.
A poker hand is made up of a pair or better, and the best poker hand wins the pot. Ties are broken by the suit rank, which is clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades. Verbally stating an action, such as a call or raise, is binding, but any stated action out of turn is penalized.