Poker is one of the most popular card games around. It can be played casually for pennies or matchsticks or professionally in famous casinos for thousands of dollars. It is a game of betting and bluffing in which players use cards as well as their knowledge of the other players’ positions to gain an advantage.

Official poker uses time-honored, unmistakable terms for action: bet, raise, call, check, fold, all-in and pot (pot limit only). Regional terms and gestures may be used as long as they meet house standards of clarity and do not obscure the action or distract other players. Verbally declaring an action is binding, so if you tell someone you are raising, for example, you are bound to do so. Similarly, knocking on the table is a sign that you are passing.

Keeping your cards in good condition is important. If your opponent sees your cards, he or she will be able to figure out your hand and may adjust his or her strategy accordingly. In some cases, the rules allow you to place a small object like your hand or a chip on top of your cards to protect them.

If you are skipped over for a bet, it is your responsibility to defend your right to act. If you are skipped and do not speak up with a reasonable amount of time, you will forfeit your chance to act. If you are skipped over because of OOT action, the floor will rule on how to treat your hand given the circumstances, including ruling it dead.