In a game of poker each player deals a complete hand in turn. The deal moves in a clockwise direction. Once a hand is completed the deal always passes to the player to the dealer's left. A small white disc, known as a button, is used to indicate the dealer for the current hand. The player who is dealing the hand is known as the button and the two players to his left are known as the blinds. In the next section we shall be discussing the role of the blinds in more detail, but for now it is just important to note that the button determines the order of play for each round.

In the US most cardrooms employ dealers to manage the game and deal the cards on behalf of the players. When there is a dealer running the game, he acts as the dealer for each player in turn. The button moves around the table in the usual clockwise direction, indicating the nominal dealer for that hand, and the dealer starts the deal with the player to the left of the button.