The Official Poker Rules

Poker is a card game played in private homes, poker clubs, casinos and in tournament play. It is considered the national card game of the United States and its play and jargon permeate American culture.

In the earliest recorded form of the game, players received five cards from a 20-card pack and vied to establish the highest hand. The original top hand was four of a kind, and the joker – a wild card – could be used as a fifth ace or to complete a flush or a straight. A single aces was sufficient to win a high game and a straight was enough for a low game.

During betting intervals (in accordance with the rules of each poker variant) one player acts as dealer, and the two players to his left act as blinds or antes. A round disc, called the dealer button, is passed clockwise after each deal to indicate the nominal dealer. Players in these positions must put chips representing money into the pot (the pot is a container for all bets) equal to or greater than that of the player to his right.

Like many other games and sports poker has a set of official rules. The International Federation of Poker was founded to enshrine the rules into international law and avoid the many disputes that can arise in poker rooms, casinos and tournaments worldwide. The organization has compiled a set of 81 rules that can be found on the FIDPA website.