The Official Poker Rules

In poker, players bet real money (or chips that represent currency) into a pot that is awarded to the best hand. In poker tournaments, the players pay a fixed amount to enter, and then play until one player accumulates all the chips in the pot or the players agree to chop up the remaining prize pool.

Unlike most games and sports, poker has an official organization managing its rules: The Poker Tournament Directors Association, or TDA. It has more than 2,500 members who are managers of large live and online poker rooms, circuits, or poker leagues, and meets every two years to discuss new rules reforms. Several of the most prominent poker players, including WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel, are on the TDA board of directors.

A dealer’s dealing procedure often varies from game to game, but some standard rules apply across all poker variations. In general, a dealer must reveal all cards in the hand to each player before betting can commence, and if a card is accidentally exposed, it should be replaced. In addition, players must announce that a card was flashed to avoid misunderstandings about whether it plays or not.

It is also important to know that you are not allowed to look at another player’s hand before their turn in the action, but even if you only peeked a glance to make sure yours was good. It is bad sportsmanship, but it’s not breaking the rules – just be careful when doing so.