Official poker is a card game that can be played with money in a variety of formats and venues. The game is most popular in the United States, where it has been referred to as the national card game and is a significant part of American culture. In addition to being played in private homes, at poker clubs and in casinos, it is also widely played over the Internet.

In poker tournaments, players begin with a fixed amount of chips and then play on until one player has all the chips in play. Blind levels increase at regular intervals, forcing players to make moves or risk having their stacks dwindle quickly. In addition, the rules of the tournament determine how a player is eliminated – whether they have lost all their chips or have reached an agreed-upon cut of the prize pool.

There are a number of rules that all poker players must abide by, including protecting their cards and making sure they call out their action. In most cases, a player must verbally state their intention to raise or call before doing so. Once a player has stated their intention, they are bound to that action and cannot retract it.

Poker rules also stipulate that cards are only considered exposed if they are shown to other players or the dealer accidentally exposes them. Otherwise, a player must protect their cards by placing their hands or another object on top of them. Players who fail to do so are liable for a penalty in the event of an issue with their hand at showdown. It is also a good idea for players to call out their hands in order to speed up the resolution of showdowns. This helps prevent players from miscalling their hands or being mucked by other players, which is against the rules of poker.