Poker is a card game where players compete for an amount of money or chips contributed by the other players (called the pot). It is a game that blends luck with skill. However, it is important to understand the rules of poker and how to protect your hand.

In Texas Hold’em, two cards are dealt face down to each player, followed by a series of five community cards that are dealt in three stages (called the “flop”, “turn” and “river”). The aim is to make the best possible 5-card poker hand from these cards, with or without your hole cards.

The standard 52-card pack, often with one or two jokers, is used for poker. When a dealer deals, he or she usually assembles all the cards from the pack and shuffles them before passing the deck to the next player. Some games use two packs of contrasting colors to speed up the deal. If a joker is discovered before the player acts on his or her hand, it is replaced as in previous rule.

It is customary for clubs to create house rules that suit their own preferences, but it is important to write them down. This will prevent any misunderstandings and disputes. It is also important to know how to protect your hand, as a hand exposed by a dealer or other player could be considered cheating and penalized. Players may put their hands or chips on top of their cards to prevent them from being seen.