Official poker is played for fun, socially and in a wide range of settings from private homes to world-famous casinos. The game requires a lot of luck, but it also contains elements of skill and psychology.

The game begins with a forced bet called the ante (amount varies by game). Players then receive two cards face down, known as their hole cards. Five community cards are then dealt face up to form the board, and each player uses their own private cards in combination with the five community cards to make their best possible five-card poker hand.

Aside from basic rules, there are some poker etiquette issues that are worth keeping in mind while playing. One of these is slow rolling, which refers to a player who attempts to raise a bet but does so slowly and deliberately. This can cause a delay and annoy other players at the table. It’s also important for players to protect their own hands, and this may include placing their hand or chips over the cards to keep them safe.

Another unpopular poker practice is the “hit and run” – which occurs when a player wins a large pot, then quickly gets up from the table without staying to collect their winnings. While this isn’t against any official rules, it’s often considered rude and ruins the atmosphere of the table for other players. Lastly, players should always speak out loud when they decide to call or raise, and this is binding; once you verbally state that you’re calling, raising, or folding, you must follow through with your decision.