The Official Poker Rules

Like most games and sports, poker has an official set of rules that are managed by the professional Tournament Directors Association (also known as the Poker TDA). The organization’s mission is to help avoid many disputes that can arise during live or online poker tournaments. Founded in 2001 by a group of poker players, the TDA is made up of poker managers from large casinos and other live or online gaming operations. The organization meets every two years to discuss new rule reforms and keep the game as standard as possible.

The earliest poker games involved the dealing of a complete hand to each player and a round of betting, with raising and re-raising permitted. This variant of poker evolved into draw poker around 1810, and it is thought to have taken its name from the French word poque, which referred to a five-card vying game played on the Mississippi steamers.

Today, the game is played with a deck of 52 cards plus two jokers, which are not used in the betting process but act as wildcards. In addition to the basic rules, there are a number of other variations that use poker hands as a basis for the betting structure and payouts. It is common for clubs or groups of players to establish their own customs, which are sometimes called “house rules,” for their games. These should be written down to ensure that everyone follows the same guidelines.