Whether you’re playing poker at your local card room, in a home game with friends or in one of the many online poker sites, it’s important to understand official poker rules. These unwritten rules improve the atmosphere at the table for everyone, and can help you win more poker hands.
Some clubs have specific house rules based on their own customs and preferences, but it’s recommended that you follow the written code of poker laws as the final arbiter for settling all questions and disputes in a game. In particular, players should avoid trying to see another player’s hole cards or attempting to give the impression that they don’t have a strong hand by hiding high-value chips or moving them closer to the middle. This is known as angle shooting, and while it’s not technically cheating, it’s bad etiquette.
In tournament play, the players each buy-in a set amount of money and all start with the same amount of chips. Depending on the tournament, the winner can take the entire prize pool or just a percentage of it. The remainder is a shared pot called the “kitty.” The kitty can be used to pay for new decks of cards, drinks and food. When the game ends, any chips left in the kitty are divided equally among the remaining players.
Most poker games use a standard 52-card pack with two jokers for wild cards. Some dealers prefer to deal from one pack, while others deal from two packs stacked on top of each other to speed up the dealing process.