The Official Poker Rules

The game of poker has been played by people for hundreds of years, whether socially for pennies or matchsticks or professionally for thousands of dollars. It is one of the most popular games in casinos and cardrooms and a main event at many world-famous tournaments. It is also a popular pastime in the home.

There are numerous variations of the game, but a basic set of rules has become the standard. These rules, known as Robert Ciaffone’s Official Rules of Poker, have been adopted by most casinos and are in use throughout the world. This publication is a collection of these rules, adapted for the needs of the modern cardroom.

A good deal of research has been done into the origins and varieties of poker with a view to drawing up a set of definitive rules. This work, first published in 1904 and later summarized by R F Foster, is the fruit of this labor.

The earliest structural division of poker occurs with the introduction of draw poker, which arose about 1850 from stud poker and incorporated the bluffing element of brag. It expanded rapidly after the Civil War, largely because of its greater range of combinations and the additional opportunity to improve a hand by drawing.

In a poker game there are usually several players and each player begins the round with a certain number of chips. The player with the lowest-valued chip, called the ante or bet, sets the sizing of all wagers and the action is generally clockwise around the table. If the number of players is too large to permit a single game, it may be necessary to divide the table into two and run separate games.