Poker is a card game played between individuals for an amount of money or chips contributed by each player (called the pot). Individual players compete to minimize their losses with poor hands and maximize their winnings with good ones. The underlying skill of the game is in making accurate reads of the other players’ actions and reading their intentions.
Almost all games are played with poker chips of different values. The white chip, or lightest-colored chip, is worth the minimum ante or bet; a red chip is worth five whites; and so on. The smallest denomination of chip is sometimes called a “cut.” One low-denomination chip from the pot is taken by all players in a raise, which is placed in a special fund, called the kitty, that pays for new decks of cards and food and drinks. When a game ends, any remaining chips are returned to each player.
When playing poker, all players must protect their cards from exposure to other players. They may use their hands or chips to cover them, but it is important that they do not use anything that could be confused with a sign of weakness or deception. Exposed cards are dealt with on a case-by-case basis, according to the rules of each particular poker variation.
During play, all players must pay attention to the other players and to the dealer. This is not only a matter of courtesy, but also speeds up the game. Furthermore, players must refrain from talking on the phone or using any other device that would disrupt the game or distract players. Lastly, players must speak clearly and respectfully to their opponents.