Poker is a card game in which players place bets by putting chips into the pot, which is shared among the winners of each hand. A skillful player can minimize losses with weak hands and maximize winnings with strong ones. The rules of a poker game can vary greatly, depending on the variant being played.
In most games, players must put an initial contribution, known as the ante, into the pot before they receive any cards. Then, they can call, raise or fold. In most games, a high hand wins the pot. The highest calling hand receives an odd chip (the amount varies by game). If the hand is tied for high, the first clockwise player to act gets the odd chip; if it is a low hand, the second clockwise player gets the odd chip.
A standard 52-card pack is used to play poker, although some games use multiple packs or add a few jokers to the mix. The cards are ranked from highest to lowest as spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs; the Ace is always high. Some games include wild cards, which can take on any suit and rank the possessor wishes.
Most live and online poker tournaments are governed by a professional organization, the Professional Tournament Directors Association (Poker TDA), which was formed to help standardize the rules of poker worldwide and reduce disputes between players and dealers. The association’s members are managers of large live and online poker rooms, circuits, poker leagues or independent tournaments.