While poker is often considered a game of chance, there is an incredible amount of skill in the game that can greatly improve one’s chances of winning. Whether you play in your friends’ garage, at a casino poker room, or in a major tournament, the rules of official poker are designed to keep the game fair and enjoyable for all players.

In a typical poker game, all players buy chips into the pot for a certain number of hands. The dealer usually keeps a large number of different denominations on hand to avoid delays while players count their change and to minimize the likelihood of players surreptitiously “ratholing” (taking away and securing chips to circumvent buy-in limits). In more formal games, it is not uncommon for dealers to allow departing players to “color up” their stacks by exchanging low-value chips for higher-value ones. While this may speed up the action, casinos generally discourage this practice to prevent players from taking advantage of the dealer and circumventing buy-in limits.

When it is a player’s turn to act and the betting is unopened, the player may open the action by making a voluntary bet, or if they have insufficient chips remaining to call an all-in bet, they may call with their whole stake to go “all-in” (Rule 49). A player who opens the action is entitled to a reasonable estimation of opponents’ chip stacks, but he or she cannot request a precise count on any occasion. Visible and countable chip stacks greatly improve counting accuracy.