Poker is a card game with an element of chance and skill, and it has many different forms. There are several official poker rules that players must follow, though, to prevent misunderstandings and ensure that the game is fair and impartial. These rules, along with common sense, help players make informed decisions about how to play their cards and maximize their potential for winning the pot.
The game of poker is usually played with a deck of cards, and a number of chips are used to indicate the amount that each player must place as a blind or forced bet (if there is no ante). One of the players acts as the dealer, and the players to his or her left act as the small and large blinds respectively. All players receive two cards, face down, called their hole cards.
In most cases, the player to the left of the button places the first bet, then raises it as the players around him or her call it. After the last player has raised, the remaining players show their hands in a “showdown.” The best poker hand wins the pot.
The rules of official poker have been set by a group known as the Tournament Directors Association (TDA). This organization is made up of managers of large live and online poker rooms, circuits, and poker leagues. The TDA meets every two years to standardize poker rules. The group is led by a board of directors that includes WSOP tournament director Jack Effel.