A game of poker is played for money (or chips that represent money). Individuals compete against each other for this amount. The game is usually played in a ring environment with one player acting as dealer (in casinos this is done by the button). Each hand begins with forced bets from players to the left of the dealer. The dealer deals each player two cards, face down. These are their hole cards. Players may not show their hands to any other player or spectator, talk about their hand, strategy, etc. They must also not expose their cards while a hand is pending action or throw them high (“helicoptered”).

Poker is almost always played with poker chips, which are assigned values according to a standard system. A white chip is worth the minimum ante or bet, while a red chip is worth five whites. Other colors are also used, with a blue chip worth 20 whites, for example. Each player must purchase a certain number of chips at the start of the game.

The game is usually played with a standard 52-card pack, and some games add one or two jokers. The ranking of the suits is spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. The ace is higher than all other cards. The highest poker hand wins.

The rules of poker are set by the International Federation of Poker (FIDPA). This 81-rule rulebook, freely available on FIDPA’s website, has been adopted by many cardrooms worldwide and can help prevent most disputes between players. However, any club or group can make additional “house rules” to suit their preferences and the specifics of their games.