Official Poker Rules

Whether played socially for pennies or matchsticks or professionally for thousands of dollars, the game of poker requires more than just luck. A game of great skill and deception is involved, too. In order to minimize losses with poor hands and maximize winnings with good ones, players must anticipate what their opponents are holding, as well as how they will react to those cards.

A standard 52-card pack with one or two jokers is used for the game. In most professional games, a second pack of contrasting colors is utilized to speed up the deal and improve the accuracy of the cards dealt. It is recommended that this method be adopted by all tournaments. A player’s discovery of a joker before acting on his or her hand does not cause a misdeal, as long as the player calls attention to the card before doing anything with it.

The rules for a given game of poker may require that an initial amount of money, called an ante, be placed in the pot before the cards are dealt. It is also possible for players to contribute additional chips into the pot after each betting interval.

The official rules of poker are set by the Poker Tournament Directors Association, or TDA. This group represents managers of live and online poker rooms, circuits, and independent poker leagues from around the world who gather every two years to review and implement new rules. The TDA’s full set of rules is available on its website. This rulebook is free of charge and can be copied without restriction by anyone. It can be modified for use in a specific establishment and may be used for commercial purposes, provided the name of the author is included with the rules.