There are a number of different poker rules that must be adhered to in order to ensure the fairness and integrity of the game. Often the rules are based on traditional card games, but there is room for interpretation and variation. In general, the best way to ensure that the rules of the game are followed is by playing under a written code of poker laws. These laws are designed to be used as the final arbiter of all disputes in a game.
The most popular form of official poker is Texas hold’em, which features a series of stages consisting of a set of three cards (“the flop”) and later an additional single card (“the turn” or “fourth street”) before the final card is dealt (the river). Each player has two cards, called hole cards, in addition to the five community cards, and seeks the best five-card hand. Players can raise, call or fold. They may also protect their hand by placing a chip or other object on top of it. Verbally declaring an intention to act, such as raising or calling, is binding.
In a typical tournament, each player is required to purchase a certain number of chips. These are known as the starting stack. The size of the starting stack will have a major impact on how a tournament plays out, as it will determine how much time you spend in the action. The higher your starting stack, the more aggressive you can be.