The Official Poker Rules

The game of poker is a card game, played socially or professionally for pennies or thousands of dollars. It requires skill to minimize losses with bad hands and maximize winnings with good ones, but it also relies on luck. Even the best players win some and lose some.

In some games, players may establish a special fund, called a “kitty.” When a player raises their bet more than once in a hand, they cut one low-denomination chip from the pot to the kitty. The kitty is the property of all players equally and is used to pay for things like new decks of cards or food and drinks. If a player leaves the game before the end of the session, they are not entitled to their share of chips that comprised the kitty.

Players must keep their attention focused on the game and not engage in distracting activities. For example, reading at the table is not allowed. In addition, guests must not look at any hand other than their own, and they should not hold up play by talking or using gestures.

Poker is played from a standard 52-card pack and includes four suits (spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs), but no suit is higher than another. The highest-ranked hand wins. Some games also include wild cards, which take on any suit or rank their possessor wishes. This rulebook incorporates many of the rules that are in use at cardrooms throughout the country. It is based on the work of Robert Ciaffone, a renowned cardroom rules consultant and drafter who has authored several different poker rulebooks.