The Official Poker Rules

Poker is played with a standard deck of 52 cards and is available in many variations. Despite its reputation as a game of chance, there is an immense amount of skill required to play well. The best players are able to minimize losses with poor hands and maximize winnings with good ones.

Poker rules are governed by an international body called the Professional Tournament Directors Association (PTDA), which was formed in 2001 to standardize poker’s rules and to put in place new reforms as necessary. The PTDA is made up of managers from large live and online poker rooms, circuits and poker leagues and the organization meets every two years to discuss new regulations for the game.

To begin a poker hand, all players must first buy in by putting an initial contribution, known as the ante, into the pot. A player may then choose to raise the bet by any amount up to the total pot size. Most games use either pot limit or fixed limit betting.

A dealer will burn a card before dealing each round of cards. This is done to make it harder for players to guess what cards will be coming. The dealer will then pass out the cards in a clockwise direction starting on the left.

It is important to protect your own cards at all times, and a player should never try to see another person’s hole cards. This is considered bad etiquette and can be punished by a dealer.