A game of poker can be played socially for pennies, in a bar for matchsticks or professionally for thousands of dollars. Regardless of the amount of money being bet, all poker games share the same basic rules and some have additional rules specific to the particular game.

Some players may play poker in a casino or public cardroom and the game will have supplemental rules designed to speed up play, earn the casino rake, improve security and discourage cheating. For example, players will be required to pay a forced bet called the small and big blind before being dealt a hand. In addition, some games have different rules about how the dealer and other players act after a bet has been made.

In addition to these specific rules, there are a number of general poker rules that must be observed. These include verbally declaring your intentions to take an action such as a raise, call or fold, not peeking at another player’s cards (although some players will do this anyway) and not acting in a manner that would give away the strength of your holding.

Breaking poker rules can have devastating consequences and is one of the reasons why the game has so many controversies associated with it. One such controversy occurred in the 2007 World Championship of Online Poker where Natalie Teltscher, better known as “TheV0id,” was found to be playing on two accounts. The resulting punishment was that she lost all of her prize money, which would have been quite significant for the winner as the tournament had a field of 2,998 players.