The Official Poker Rules

Poker is a card game that involves betting and requires a certain level of skill. While luck will always play a major part, it is possible to minimize losses with bad hands and maximize winnings with good ones. Poker also involves a considerable amount of psychology, which can be learned over time.

A game of poker can involve anywhere from two to ten players. One player serves as dealer, which rotates clockwise after each hand. Before cards are dealt, forced bets, known as the small blind and big blind, are placed into the pot by two players to the left of the dealer (or the button). The dealer then deals each player two cards face down, which are known as hole cards.

The objective of the game is to combine a player’s own two hole cards with the five community cards in order to form the best possible five-card poker hand. Depending on the type of poker being played, players may raise or fold during the betting intervals.

It is customary for players to make special rules, called house rules, to suit their preferences. It is important that these are recorded so that they can be followed and referenced.

If a card is dealt face down and an opponent sees it, the player must announce that it was flashed or exposed before playing. The procedure for replacing a exposed card varies according to the poker form being played. Some games allow players to replace a downcard with another from the deck while others require that a new card be dealt in its place.