Official poker is a game of cards played by two or more players against one another. It requires a high degree of skill, with the goal of minimizing losses with poor hands and maximising winnings with good ones. Whether you play poker for fun, at home, in a casino or in a private game, there are a number of unwritten and written rules that must be adhered to. Understanding these rules will make the game more enjoyable for you and the other players at your table.

Verbally stating that you are going to take a specific action is binding; in other words, once you have said that you are going to call or raise your bet, you must do so. This is true regardless of the fact that someone else has already called or raised their own bet.

Some poker games require a contribution, or “ante,” of one or more chips to be put into the pot before cards are dealt. This is usually done in order to ensure that the dealer has sufficient funds to pay for new decks of cards and other supplies for the game.

Some poker games use a special chip known as the joker, which can be used to represent any other card in the hand. These chips are usually worth half of a regular chip. Some poker players choose to ante with these chips, although it is not mandatory. When a player wins a large amount of money, they may wish to hedge their risk by taking some of their stake out of play after the win. This is called going south or ratholing, and while it is perfectly legal in most other casino games, it is not allowed in poker.