Whether you’re playing socially with friends for pennies, professionally in famous casinos around the world for thousands of dollars, or somewhere in between, there are official poker rules that must be adhered to. Although luck plays a big role in poker, skill is also essential for consistent winnings. The best players are able to read their opponents, make the right decisions in the heat of the moment and avoid making bad mistakes that could cost them big.

The official set of poker rules are managed by the professional Tournament Directors Association, or TDA. This organization is comprised of managers of live and online poker rooms, circuits, leagues or independent tournaments that meet every two years at the TDA Summit to review and put in place new rules for governing professional poker. Jack Effel, a longtime WSOP tournament director and a founding member of the TDA, is on its board of directors.

In games of fixed limit or pot-limit, a player who announces an all-in bet must commit to that amount. A player cannot withdraw their all-in bet unless the action is dead or they are not called. Players may ask to see a mucked hand if they are a legal part of the game; however, abusing this privilege can result in denial by the dealer.

In games of fixed limits, a special fund known as the kitty is usually established by players by unanimous or majority agreement. It is used to pay for things like new cards and food and drinks. Any chips left in the kitty when the game ends are divided equally among players who are still in the game.