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- Section 1 – Proper Behavior
1.1 Conduct Code
1.2 Poker Etiquette
- Section 2 – House Policies
2.1 Decision Making
- Section 3 – General Poker Rules
3.2 Dead Hands
3.4 Betting and Raising
3.5 The Showdown
- Section 4 – Button & Blind Use
4.1 Rules for Using Blinds
- Section 5 – Hold’em
- Section 6 – No Limit Hold’em(NLH) & Pot-Limit Hold’em (PLH)
6.1 No-Limit Rules
- Section 7 – Tournaments
- Summarized Quick Rules
River Rat Poker League rules are based on Roberts Rules of Poker and an abbreviated copy appears below. We also have a few House Rules that may differ from other leagues. All rules are subject to change any time, and all rules are open for interpretation to the Tournament Directors best understanding of the rules at time of decisions.
The player behind the dealer, with one hand, will cut card in approximately the middle
OUT OF TURN BET
A player that bets out of turn is forced to follow the action of the previous player (this will be a check if the previous player checks). If there is already a bet on the table (if there is already a bet of 1,000 then the player that has bet out of turn can only call 1,000)
action then will move back to the player on the right that was due to act
That player has 3 options
- Call the bet/raise, then the out of turn player may only call
- Fold, then the out of turn player may only check
- Raise the bet/raise, then the out of turn player may call or fold.
A raise must equate to anything over the previous raise. Here are some examples.
Small Blind 100
Big Blind 200
Raise any amount 400 or over
After the flop
Player 1 bets 500
Player 2 raises to 2,000
If player wishes to re-raise must raise to 3,500 or more
In Example 2, Player 2 raised 1,500 over the previous bet, so Player 2 may raise to 3,500 or more.
Tournament directors will attempt to maintain a pleasant environment for all our players, but is not responsible for the conduct of any player. We have established a code of conduct, and may deny game entry to violators. The following are not permitted:
- Mobile phone use during active hands
- Collusion with another player or any other form of cheating.
- Verbally or physically threatening any player, patron or employee.
- Using profanity or obscene language.
- Creating a disturbance by arguing, shouting, or making excessive noise.
- Throwing, tearing, bending, or crumpling cards.
- Destroying or defacing property.
- Using an illegal substance.
- Carrying a weapon.
The following actions are improper, and grounds for warning, suspending, or barring a violator:
- Using a mobile phone whilst you are in an active hand. (If you need to be on the phone, please step away from the table)
- Deliberately acting out of turn.
- Deliberately splashing chips into the pot.
- Agreeing to check a hand out when a third player is all-in.
- Soft playing by refusing to bet against a certain opponent whenever heads-up.
- Reading a hand for another player at the showdown before it has been placed face up on the table.
- Revealing the contents of a live hand in a pot before the betting is complete.
- Revealing the contents of a folded hand before the betting is complete. Do not divulge the contents of a hand during a deal even to someone not in the pot, so you do not leave any possibility of the information being transmitted to an active player.
- Needlessly stalling the action of a game.
- Deliberately discarding hands away from the muck. Cards should be released in a low line of flight, at a moderate rate of speed (not at the dealer’s hands or chip-stack).
- Stacking chips in a manner that interferes with dealing or viewing cards.
- Making statements or taking action that could unfairly influence the course of play, whether or not the offender is involved in the pot.
- Tournament Directors reserve the right to make decisions in the spirit of fairness, even if a strict interpretation of the rules may indicate a different ruling.
- Decisions of the shift Tournament Directors are final.
- The proper time to draw attention to a mistake is when it occurs or is first noticed. Any delay may affect the ruling.
- If an incorrect rule interpretation or decision by a Tournament Director is made in good faith, the River Rats Poker League has no liability.
- A ruling may be made regarding a pot if it has been requested before the next deal starts (or before the game either ends or changes to another table). Otherwise, the result of a deal must stand. The first riffle of the shuffle marks the start for a deal.
- If a pot has been incorrectly awarded and mingled with chips that were not in the pot, and the time limit for a ruling request given in the previous rule has been observed, Tournament Directors may determine how much was in the pot by reconstructing the betting, and then transfer that amount to the proper player.
- To keep the action moving, it is possible that a game may be asked to continue even though a decision is delayed. The delay could be to check the overhead camera tape, get the supervisor to give the ruling, or for some other good reason. In such circumstances, a pot or portion of it may be impounded by the Tournament Director while the decision is pending.
- The same action may have a different meaning, depending on who does it, so the possible intent of an offender will be taken into consideration. Some factors here are the person’s amount of poker experience and past record.
- A player, before he acts, is entitled to request and receive information as to whether any opposing hand is alive or dead, or whether a wager is of sufficient size to reopen the betting.
- Only one person may play a hand.
- No one is allowed to play with another player’s chips.
- Tournament Directors will decide when to start or close any game.
- Buy-ins are paid in advance.
- Cash is not allowed on the table.
- Chips may not be removed from the table
- Players will only be dealt in if they have chips in front of them. A player at the start of a deal may play for that hand. All chips must be kept in plain view.
- Permission is required before taking a seat in a game.
- Players must keep their cards in full view. This means above table-level and not past the edge of the table. The cards should not be covered by the hands in a manner to completely conceal them.
- Any player is entitled to a clear view of an opponent’s chips. Higher denomination chips should be easily visible and kept in-front of smaller denominations.
- You may be absent from the table for no more than 10 minutes. Your absence may be extended if you notify a Tournament Director in advance. Frequent or continuous absences may cause your chips to be removed from the table.
- Looking through the discards or deck stub is not allowed.
- After a deal ends, dealers are asked to not show what card would have been dealt.
- A player is expected to pay attention to the game and not hold up play. Activity that interferes with this such as reading or mobile phone usage at the table is discouraged, and the player will be asked to cease if a problem is caused.
- A non-player may not sit at the table.
- Speaking a foreign language during a deal is not allowed. English only
- You must follow the direction of the Tournament Director at all times
- A player may not hold a seat in more than one game.
- Tournament Directors reserve the right to require that any two players not play in the same table (husband and wife, relatives, business partners, and so forth).
- When a button game starts, active players will draw a card for the button position. The button will be awarded to the highest card, if a tie occurs another card will be dealt to each player in the tie
GENERAL POKER RULES
- Once action begins, a misdeal cannot be called. The deal will be played, and no chips will be returned to any player whose hand is fouled. In button games, action is considered to occur when two players after the blinds have acted on their hands.
following circumstances cause a misdeal, provided attention is called to the
error before two players have acted on their hands.
(a) The first or second card of the hand has been exposed by a dealer error.
(b) Two or more cards have been exposed by the dealer.
(c) Two or more boxed cards (improperly faced cards) are found.
(d) Two or more extra cards have been dealt in the starting hands of a game.
(e) An incorrect number of cards has been dealt to a player, except the top card may be dealt if it goes to the player in proper sequence.
(f) Any card has been dealt out of the proper sequence (except an exposed card may be replaced by the burn-card).
(g) The button was out of position.
(h) The first card was dealt to the wrong position.
(i) Cards have been dealt to an empty seat or a player not entitled to a hand.
- Your hand is
declared dead if:
(a) You fold or announce that you are folding when facing a bet or a raise.
(b) You throw your hand away in a forward motion causing another player to act behind you (even if not facing a bet).
(c) The hand does not contain the proper number of cards for that particular game
(d) You have the clock on you when facing a bet or raise and exceed the specified time limit.
(e) You are not seated by the time the 2nd card has been dealt to your seat.
- Cards thrown into the muck may be ruled dead. However, a hand that is clearly identifiable may be retrieved and ruled live at the Tournament Directors’ discretion if doing so is in the best interest of the game. An extra effort should be made to rule a hand retrievable if it was folded as a result of incorrect information given to the player.
- Cards thrown into another player’s hand are dead, whether they are face-up or face-down.
- In button games, if it is discovered that the button was placed incorrectly on the previous hand, the button and blinds will be corrected for the new hand in a manner that gives every player one chance for each position on the round (if possible).
- You must protect your own hand at all times. Your cards may be protected with your hands, a chip, or other object placed on top of them. If you fail to protect your hand, you may have no redress if it becomes fouled or the dealer accidentally kills it.
- If a card with a different colour back appears during a hand, all action is void and all chips in the pot are returned to the respective bettors. If a card with a different colour back is discovered in the stub, all action stands.
- If two cards of the same rank and suit are found, all action is void, and all chips in the pot are returned to the players who wagered them (subject to next rule).
- A player who knows the deck is defective has an obligation to point this out. If such a player instead tries to win a pot by taking aggressive action (trying for a free roll), the player may lose the right to a refund, and the chips may be required to stay in the pot for the next deal.
- If there are extra chips in the pot on a deal as a result of forfeited chips from the previous deal (as per rule #5), or some similar reason, only a player dealt in on the previous deal is entitled to a hand.
- A card discovered face-up in the deck (boxed card) will be treated as a meaningless scrap of paper. A card being treated as a scrap of paper will be replaced by the next card below it in the deck, except when the next card has already been dealt face-down to another player and mixed in with other down-cards. In that case, the card that was face-up in the deck will be replaced after all other cards are dealt for that round.
- A joker that appears in a game where it is not used is treated as a scrap of paper. Discovery of a joker does not cause a misdeal. If the joker is discovered before a player acts on his or her hand, it is replaced as in the previous rule. If the player does not call attention to the joker before acting, then the player has a dead hand.
- If you play a hand without looking at all of your cards, you assume the liability of having an irregular card.
- One or more cards missing from the deck does not invalidate the results of a hand.
- Before the first round of betting, if a dealer deals one additional card, it is returned to the deck and used as the burn-card.
- Procedure for an exposed card varies with the poker form, and is given in the section for each game. A card that is flashed by a dealer is treated as an exposed card. A card that is flashed by a player will play. To obtain a ruling on whether a card was exposed and should be replaced, a player should announce that the card was flashed or exposed before looking at it. A down-card dealt off the table is an exposed card.
- If a card is exposed due to dealer error, a player does not have an option to take or reject the card.
- If you drop any cards out of your hand onto the floor, you must still play them.
- If the dealer prematurely deals any cards before the betting is complete, those cards will not play, even if a player who has not acted decides to fold.
- If the dealer fails to burn a card or burns more than one card, the error should be corrected if discovered before betting action has started for that round. Once action has been taken on a board-card, the card must stand. Whether the error is able to be corrected or not, subsequent cards dealt should be those that would have come if no error had occurred. For example, if two cards were burned, one of the cards should be put back on the deck and used for the burn-card on the next round. On the last round, if there was no betting because a player was all-in, the error should be corrected if discovered before the pot has been awarded, provided the deck stub, board-cards, and burn-cards are all sufficiently intact to determine the proper replacement card.
- If the deck stub gets fouled for some reason, such as the dealer believing the deal is over and dropping the deck, the deal must still be played out, and the deck reconstituted in as fair a way as possible.
BETTING AND RAISING
- The smallest chip that may be wagered in a game is the smallest chip used in the antes or blinds.
- In no-limit games, unlimited raising is allowed.
- Any wager not all-in must be at least the size of the previous bet or raise in that round.
- If you make a forward motion with chips and thus cause another player to act, you may be forced to complete your action.
- A verbal statement in turn denotes your action, is binding, and takes precedence over a differing physical action.
- Rapping the table with your hand is a check.
- Deliberately acting out of turn will not be tolerated. A player who checks out of turn may not bet or raise on the next turn to act. A player who has called out of turn may not change his wager to a raise on the next turn to act. An action or verbal declaration out of turn is binding unless the action to that player is subsequently changed by a bet or raise. If there is an intervening call, an action may be ruled binding.
- A player who bets or calls by releasing chips into the pot is bound by that action and must make the amount of the wager correct. (This also applies right before the showdown when putting chips into the pot causes the opponent to show the winning hand before the full amount needed to call has been put into the pot.) However, if you are unaware that the pot has been raised, you may withdraw that money and reconsider your action, provided that no one else has acted after you. In no-limit betting, if there is a gross misunderstanding concerning the amount of the wager, see Section 14, Rule 8.
- String raises are not allowed. The dealer should enforce obvious infractions to this string-raise law without being asked. To protect your right to raise, you should either declare your intention verbally or place the proper amount of chips into the pot. Putting a full bet plus a half-bet or more into the pot is considered to be the same as announcing a raise, and the raise must be completed. (This does not apply in the use of a single chip of greater value.)
- If you put a single chip in the pot that is larger than the bet, but do not announce a raise, you are assumed to have only called. Example: In a $3-$6 game, when a player bets $6 and the next player puts a $25 chip in the pot without saying anything, that player has merely called the $6 bet.
- All wagers and calls of an improperly low amount must be brought up to proper size if the error is discovered before the betting round has been completed. This includes actions such as betting a lower amount than the minimum bring-in (other than going all-in) and betting the lower limit on an upper limit betting round. If a wager is supposed to be made in a rounded off amount, is not, and must be corrected, it shall be changed to the proper amount nearest in size. No one who has acted may change a call to a raise because the wager size has been changed.
- To win any part of a pot, a player must show all of his cards face-up on the table, whether they were used in the final hand played or not.
- Cards speak (cards read for themselves). The dealer assists in reading hands, but players are responsible for holding onto their cards until the winner is declared. Although verbal declarations as to the contents of a hand are not binding, deliberately miscalling a hand with the intent of causing another player to discard a winning hand is unethical and may result in forfeiture of the pot.
- Any player, dealer, or tournament director who sees an incorrect amount of chips put into the pot, or an error about to be made in awarding a pot, has an ethical obligation to point out the error. Please help keep mistakes of this nature to a minimum.
- Any player who has been dealt in may request to see any hand that was eligible to participate in the showdown, even if the opponent’s hand or the winning hand has been mucked. However, this is a privilege that may be revoked if abused. If a player other than the pot winner asks to see a hand that has been folded, that hand is dead. If the winning player asks to see a losing player’s hand, both hands are live, and the best hand wins.
- Show one, show all. Players are entitled to receive equal access to information about the contents of another player’s hand. After a deal, if cards are shown to another player, every player at the table has a right to see those cards. During a deal, cards that were shown to an active player who might have a further wagering decision on that betting round must immediately be shown to all the other players. If the player who saw the cards is not involved in the deal, or cannot use the information in wagering, the information should be withheld until the betting is over, so it does not affect the normal outcome of the deal. Cards shown to a person who has no more wagering decisions on that betting round, but might use the information on a later betting round, should be shown to the other players at the conclusion of that betting round. If only a portion of the hand has been shown, there is no requirement to show any of the unseen cards. The shown cards are treated as given in the preceding part of this rule.
- If there is a side pot, the winner of that pot should be decided before the main pot is awarded. If there are multiple side pots, they are decided and awarded by having the pot with the players starting the deal with the greatest number of chips settled first, and so forth.
- If everyone checks (or is all-in) on the final betting round, all players must show their hand starting with the player who is first to act. If there is wagering on the final betting round, the last player to take aggressive action by a bet or raise is the first to show the hand. In order to speed up the game, a player holding a probable winner is encouraged to show the hand without delay. If there are one or more side pots (because someone is all-in), players are asked to aid in determining the pot winner by not showing their cards until a pot they are in is being settled. A player may opt to throw his hand away after all the betting for the deal is over, rather than compete to win the pot. However, the other players do not lose the right to request the hand be shown if he does so.
In button games, a playing dealer normally does the actual dealing. A round disk called the button is used to indicate which player has the dealer position. The player with the button is last to receive cards on the initial deal and has the right of last action on all but the first betting round. The button moves one seat clockwise after a deal ends to rotate the advantage of last action. One or more blind bets are usually used to stimulate action and initiate play. Blinds are posted before the players look at their cards. Blinds are part of a player’s bet (unless a certain structure or situation specifies otherwise). A blind other than the big blind may be treated as dead (not part of the poster’s bet) in some structures, as when a special additional “dead blind” for the collection is specified by a card-room. With two blinds, the small blind is posted by the first player clockwise from the button and the big blind is posted by the second player clockwise from the button. With more than two blinds, the smallest blind is normally left of the button (not on it). All RR games have free to play options On the initial betting round, action starts with the first player to the left of the blinds. On all subsequent betting rounds, the action starts with the first active player to the left of the button.
RULES FOR USING BLINDS
- The minimum blinds and allowable raise sizes for the opener are specified by on the time clock and blind amounts set for a game. They remain the same even when the player in the blind does not have enough chips to post the full amount.
- Each round
every player must get an opportunity for the button, and meet the total amount
of the blind obligations. Either of the following methods of button and blind
placement may be designated to do this:
(a) Moving button – The button always moves forward to the next player and the blinds adjust accordingly. There may be more than one big blind.
(b) Dead button – The big blind is posted by the player due for it, and the small blind and button are positioned accordingly, even if this means the small blind or the button is placed in front of an empty seat, giving the same player the privilege of last action on consecutive hands.
- In heads-up play going from three players down to two with two blinds, players cannot be the same blind twice. When play becomes heads-up, the player who had the big blind the most recently is given the button, and his opponent is given the big blind.
- A new player cannot be dealt in between the big blind and the button. Blinds may not be made up between the big blind and the button. You must wait until the button passes.
- In all multiple-blind games, a player who changes seats will be dealt in on the first available hand in the same relative position. Example: If you move two active positions away from the big blind, you must wait two hands before being dealt in again. If you do not wish to wait and have not yet missed a blind, then you can post an amount equal to the big blind and receive a hand.
- Straddle betting & blind raising is not allowed except in specified games.
In hold’em, players receive two down-cards as their personal hand (whole-cards), after which there is a round of betting. Three board-cards are turned simultaneously (called the “flop”) and another round of betting occurs. The next two board-cards are turned one at a time, with a round of betting after each card. The board-cards are common cards used by all players, and a player may use any five-card combination from among the board and personal cards. A player may even use all of the board-cards and no personal cards to form a hand (play the board). A dealer button is used. The usual structure is to use two blinds, but it is possible to play the game with one blind, multiple blinds, an ante, or combination of blinds plus an ante.
These rules deal only with irregularities. See the previous chapter, “Button and Blind Use,” for rules on that subject.
- If the initial whole-card dealt to the first or second player is exposed, a misdeal results. The dealer will retrieve the card, reshuffle, and re cut the cards. If any other whole-card is exposed due to a dealer error, the deal continues. The exposed card may not be kept. After completing the hand, the dealer replaces the card with the top card on the deck, and the exposed card is then used for the burn-card. If more than one whole-card is exposed, this is a misdeal and there must be a re-deal.
- If the dealer mistakenly deals the first player an extra card (after all players have received their starting hands), the card will be returned to the deck and used for the burn-card. If the dealer mistakenly deals more than one extra card, it is a misdeal.
- If the flop contains too many cards, it must be re-dealt. (This applies even if it were possible to know which card was the extra one.)
- If the dealer failed to burn a card before dealing the flop, or burned two cards, the error should be rectified by using the proper burn-card and flop, if no board-cards were exposed. The deck must be reshuffled if any board-cards were exposed.
- If the dealer burns and turns before a betting round is complete, the card(s) may not be used, even if all subsequent players elect to fold. Nobody has an option of accepting or rejecting the card. The betting is then completed, and the error rectified in the prescribed manner for that situation.
- If the dealer fails to burn a card or burns more than one card, the error should be corrected if discovered before betting action has started for that round. Once action has been taken on a board-card by any player, the card must stand. Whether the error is able to be corrected or not, subsequent cards dealt should be those that would have come if no error had occurred. For example, if two cards were burned, one of the cards should be put back on the deck and used for the burn-card on the next round. If there was no betting on a round because a player was all-in, the error should be corrected if discovered before the pot has been awarded.
- If the flop needs to be re-dealt for any reason, the board-cards are mixed with the remainder of the deck. The burn-card remains on the table. After shuffling, the dealer cuts the deck and deals a new flop without burning a card.
- A dealing error for the fourth board-card is rectified in a manner to least influence the identity of the board-cards that would have been used without the error. The dealer burns and deals what would have been the fifth card in the fourth card’s place. After this round of betting, the dealer reshuffles the deck, including the card that was taken out of play, but not including the burn-cards or discards. The dealer then cuts the deck and deals the final card without burning a card. If the fifth card is turned up prematurely, the deck is reshuffled and dealt in the same manner. [See “Section 16 – Explanations,” discussion #4, for more information on this rule.]
- You must declare that you are playing the board before you throw your cards away. Otherwise, you relinquish all claim to the pot. (The rule for tournament play is you must retain your hand and show it if asked, in order to win part of the pot.)
NO LIMIT AND
A no-limit or pot-limit betting structure for a game gives it a different character from limit poker, requiring a separate set of rules in many situations. All the rules for limit games apply to no-limit and pot-limit games, except as noted in this section. No-limit means that the amount of a wager is limited only by the table stakes rule, so any part or all of a player’s chips may be wagered. The rules of no-limit play also apply to pot-limit play, except that a bet may not exceed the pot size. The player is responsible for determining the pot size at no-limit, not the dealer. The dealer is responsible for determining the pot size at pot-limit, and should enforce the pot-size cap on wagers without waiting to be asked to do so by a player.
- The number of raises in any betting round is unlimited.
- The minimum bet size is the amount of the minimum bring-in, unless the player is going all-in. The minimum bring-in is the size of the big blind unless the structure of the game is pre-set by the house to some other amount (such as double the big blind). The minimum bet remains the same amount on all betting rounds. If the big blind does not have sufficient chips to post the required amount, a player who enters the pot on the initial betting round is still required to enter for the big blind and a pre-flop raiser must at least double the size of the big blind. If a player goes all-in for an amount that is less than the minimum bet, a player who wishes to raise must raise at least the amount of the minimum bet. For example, if the minimum bet is 1000, and a player goes all-in on the flop for 500, a player may fold, call 1000, or raise to at least a total of 2000. This will create a side pot.
- All raises must be equal to or greater than the size of the previous bet or raise on that betting round, except for an all-in wager. Example: Player A bets 1000 and player B raises to 2000. Player C wishing to raise must raise at least 1000 more, making the total bet at least 3000. A player who has already acted and is not facing a full-size wager may not subsequently raise an all-in bet that is less than the minimum bet or less than the full size of the last bet or raise. (The half-the-size rule for reopening the betting is for limit poker only.)
- Multiple all-in wagers, each of an amount too small to qualify as a raise, still act as a raise and reopen the betting if the resulting wager size to a player qualifies as a raise. Example: Player A bets $100 and Player B raises $100 more, making the total bet $200. If Player C goes all in for less than $300 total (not a full $100 raise), and Player A calls, then Player B has no option to raise again, because he wasn’t fully raised. (Player A could have raised, because Player B raised.)
- At non-tournament play, a player who says “raise” is allowed to continue putting chips into the pot with more than one move; the wager is assumed complete when the player’s hands come to rest outside the pot area. (This rule is used because no-limit play may require a large number of chips be put into the pot.) In tournament play, the TDA rules require that the player either use a verbal statement giving the amount of the raise or put the chips into the pot in a single motion, to avoid making a string-bet.
- A wager is not binding until the chips are actually released into the pot, unless the player has made a verbal statement of action.
- If there is a discrepancy between a player’s verbal statement and the amount put into the pot, the bet will be corrected to the verbal statement.
- If a call is short due to a counting error, the amount must be corrected, even if the bettor has shown down a superior hand.
- A bet of a single chip or bill without comment is considered to be the full amount of the chip or bill allowed. However, a player acting on a previous bet with a larger denomination chip or bill is calling the previous bet unless this player makes a verbal declaration to raise the pot. (This includes acting on the forced bet of the big blind.)
- If a player tries to bet or raise less than the legal minimum and has more chips, the wager must be increased to the proper size (but no greater). This does not apply to a player who has unintentionally put too much in to call.
- Because the amount of a wager at big-bet poker has such a wide
range, a player who has taken action based on a gross misunderstanding of the
amount wagered may receive some protection by the decision-maker. A
“call” or “raise” may be ruled not binding if it is obvious
that the player grossly misunderstood the amount wagered, provided no damage
has been caused by that action. Example: Player A bets $300, player B re-raises
to $1200, and Player C puts $300 into the pot and says, “Call.” It is
obvious that player C believes the bet to be only $300 and he should be allowed
to withdraw his $300 and reconsider his wager. A bettor should not show down a
hand until the amount put into the pot for a call seems reasonably correct, or
it is obvious that the caller understands the amount wagered. The
decision-maker is allowed considerable discretion in ruling on this type of
situation. A possible rule-of-thumb is to disallow any claim of not
understanding the amount wagered if the caller has put eighty percent or more
of that amount into the pot.
Example: On the end, a player puts a $500 chip into the pot and says softly, “Four hundred.” The opponent puts a $100 chip into the pot and says, “Call.” The bettor immediately shows the hand. The dealer says, “He bet four hundred.” The caller says, “Oh, I thought he bet a hundred.” In this case, the recommended ruling normally is that the bettor had an obligation to not show the hand when the amount put into the pot was obviously short, and the “call” can be retracted. Note that the character of each player can be a factor. (Unfortunately, situations can arise at big-bet poker that are not so clear-cut as this.)
- All wagers may be required to be in the same denomination of chip (or larger) used for the minimum bring-in, even if smaller chips are used in the blind structure. If this is done, the smaller chips do not play except in quantity, even when going all-in.
- Since all a player’s chips may be put at risk on a hand, the house has the right to set a maximum amount for the buy-in to help control the effective size of a game.
- In non-tournament games, one optional live straddle is allowed. The player who posts the straddle has last action for the first round of betting and is allowed to raise. To straddle, a player must be on the immediate left of the big blind, and must post an amount twice the size of the big blind. A straddle bet sets a new minimum bring-in; it is not treated as a raise.
- In all no-limit and pot-limit games, the house has the right to place a maximum time limit for taking action on your hand. The clock may be put on someone by the dealer as directed by a floor-person, if a player requests it. If the clock is put on you when you are facing a bet, you will have one additional minute to act on your hand. You will have a ten-second warning, after which your hand is dead if you have not acted.
By participating in a tournament, you agree to abide by the rules and behave in a courteous manner. A violator may be verbally warned, suspended from play for a specified length of time, or disqualified from the tournament. Chips from a disqualified participant will be removed from play. Players, whether in the hand or not, may not discuss the hands until the action is complete. Players are obligated to protect the other players in the tournament at all times. Discussing cards discarded or hand possibilities is not allowed. A penalty may be given for discussion of hands during the play.
- Whenever possible, all rules are the same as those that apply to live games.
- Initial seating is determined by random draw or assignment. (For a one-table satellite event, cards to determine seating may be left face-up so the earlier entrants can pick their seat, since the button is assigned randomly.)
- A change of seat is not allowed after play starts, except as assigned by the director.
- The appropriate starting amount of chips will be placed on the table for each paid entrant at the beginning of the event, whether the person is present or not.
- If a paid entrant is absent at the start of an event, at some point an effort will be made to locate and contact the player. If the player requests the chips be left in place until arrival, the request will be honoured. If the player is unable to be contacted, the chips may be removed from play at the discretion of the director any time after a new betting level is begun or a half-hour has elapsed, whichever occurs first.
- A starting stack of chips may be placed in a seat to accommodate late entrants (so all antes and blinds have been appropriately paid). An unsold seat will have such a stack removed at a time left to the discretion of the director.
- A no-show or absent player is always dealt a hand. That player’s stack will post chips for blinds and antes, and have the forced low-card bet put into the pot at stud.
- In all tournament games using a dealer button, the starting position of the button is determined by the players drawing for the high card.
- Limits and blinds are raised at regularly scheduled intervals.
- If there is a signal designating the end of a betting level, the new limits apply on the next deal. (A deal begins with the first riffle of the shuffle.)
- The lowest denomination of chip in play will be removed from the table when it is no longer needed in the blind or ante structure. All lower-denomination chips that are of sufficient quantity for a new chip will be changed up directly. The method for removal of odd chips is to deal one card to a player for each odd chip possessed. Cards are dealt clockwise starting with the 1-seat, with each player receiving all cards before any cards are dealt to the next player. A player may not be eliminated from the event by the chip-change process. If a player has no chips after the race has been held, he will be given a chip of the higher denomination before anyone else is awarded a chip. Next, the player with the highest card by suit gets enough odd chips to exchange for one new chip, the second-highest card gets to exchange for the next chip, and so forth, until all the lower-denomination chips are exchanged. If an odd number of lower-denomination chips are left after this process, the player with the highest card remaining will receive a new chip if he has half or more of the quantity of lower-denomination chips needed, otherwise nothing.
- A player must be present at the table to stop the action by calling “time.”
- A player must be at the table by the time all players have their complete starting hands in order to have a live hand for that deal. (The dealer has been instructed to kill the hands of all absent players immediately after dealing each player a starting hand.)
- As players are eliminated, tables are broken in a pre-set order, with players from the broken tables assigned to empty seats at other tables.
- In button games, if a player is needed to move from a table to balance tables, the player due for the big blind will be automatically selected to move, and will be given the earliest seat due for the big blind if more than one seat is open.
- New players to a table as a result of balancing tables are dealt in immediately unless they are in the small blind or button position, where they must wait until the button has passed to the player on their left.
- The number of players at each table will be kept reasonably balanced by the transfer of a player as needed. With more than six tables, table size will be kept within two players. With six tables or less, table size will be kept within one player.
- In all events, there is a redraw for seating when the field is reduced to three tables, two tables, and one table. (Redrawing at three tables is not mandatory in small tournaments with only four or five starting tables.)
- If a player lacks sufficient chips for a blind or a forced bet, the player is entitled to get action on whatever amount of money is left in his stack. A player who posts a short blind and wins does not need to make up the blind.
- A player who declares all in and loses the pot, then discovers that one or more chips were hidden, is not entitled to benefit from this. That player is eliminated from the tournament if the opponent had sufficient chips to cover the hidden ones (A re-buy is okay if allowable by the rules of that event). If another deal has not yet started, the director may rule the chips belong to the opponent who won that pot, if that obviously would have happened with the chips out in plain view. If the next deal has started, the discovered chips are removed from the tournament.
- All players must leave their seat immediately after being eliminated from an event.
- Showing cards from a live hand during the action injures the rights of other players still competing in an event, who wish to see contestants eliminated. A player in a multi-handed pot may not show any cards during a deal. Heads-up, a player may not show any cards unless the event has only two remaining players, or is winner-take-all. If a player deliberately shows a card, the player may be penalized (but his hand will not be ruled dead). Verbally stating one’s hand during the play may be penalized.
- The limitation on the number of raises at limit poker is also applied to heads-up situations (except the last two players in a tournament are exempted from a limitation on raises).
- At pot-limit and no-limit play, the player must either use a verbal statement giving the amount of the raise or put chips into the pot in a single motion. Otherwise, it is a string bet.
- Non-tournament chips are not allowed on the table.
- Higher-denomination chips must be placed where they are easily visible to all other players.
- All tournament chips must remain visible on the table throughout the event. Chips taken off the table will be removed from the event, and a player doing this may be disqualified.
- Inappropriate behaviour like throwing cards that go off the table may be punished with a penalty such as being dealt out for a length of time or number of hands. A severe infraction such as abusive or disruptive behaviour may be punished by eviction from the tournament.
- The decks is changed only when dealers change, unless a card is damaged.
- The dealer button remains in position until the appropriate blinds are taken. Players must post all blinds every round. Because of this, last action may be given to the same player for two consecutive hands by the use of a “dead button.”
- In heads-up play with two blinds, the small blind is on the button. When play becomes heads-up, the player who had the big blind the most recently is given the button, and his opponent is given the big blind.
- At stud, if a down-card on the initial hand is dealt face-up, a misdeal is called.
- If a player announces the intent to re-buy before cards are dealt, that player is playing behind and is obligated to make the re-buy.
- All hands will be turned face-up whenever a player is all-in and betting action is complete.
- If multiple players go broke on the same hand, the player starting the hand with the larger amount of chips finishes in the higher place for prize money and any other award. Players eliminated on the same deal who start their final hand with an equal amount of chips receive equal prize money, with the best hand on that deal receiving any non-divisible award.
- Management is not required to rule on any private deals, side bets, or redistribution of the prize pool among finalists.
- A tournament event is to be played until completion.
- Management retains the right to cancel any event, or alter it in a manner fair to the players.
- TOURNAMENT DIRECTORS SAY IS FINAL – If a Tournament Director needs to make a judgement call at the event, it will be made in all fairness and the best of their abilities within their understanding of the rules. The on-duty Tournament Directors say is final.
- ACTING OUT OF TURN – A player acts out of turn, the player loses the ability to raise, and can only call a bet, check or fold.
- RAISING – All pre-flop raises must be double the big blind or more. After the flop if a player makes a bet and another player wishes to raise, they must raise by at least double the raise.
- NO COLLUSION – You cannot team up with your friends on the table. Poker is generally a single player game, and only 1 player to a hand.
- NO PHONES AT THE TABLE – While you have cards in front of you, your phone is not to be in your hands.
- NO SHOWING YOUR CARDS TO ANOTHER PLAYER AT THE TABLE – Your hand is for your eyes only.
- NO GOING THROUGH THE MUCK – Once your cards are folded and in the discard pile, they stay there. Nobody cares if you would have won if you had called.
- NO RABBIT HUNTING – If the hand is over, start bringing the cards in and move onto the next deal, no need to see what would have come out. This creates a desire in you to call hands that you wouldn’t normally play purely because you would have hit it last time. This also slows down the game.
- ONLY THE DEALERS HANDS IN THE POT – The current active dealer is the only player who should have their hands in the middle of the pot. If in the event that the chip count is wrong, it is up to the Dealer to sort it out. If the dealer is unable too, the Tournament Director is to step in and sort it out.
- CHIPS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO BE REMOVED FROM THE TABLE
- BIGGER CHIPS SHOULD BE AT THE FRONT – Any player is entitled to a clear view of an opponent’s chips.
- IF A CARD FLIPS OVER WHILST DEALING – The dealer is to continue dealing as normal around the table. Once all cards have been dealt, the dealer takes back the flipped over card from that player and gives them the card from the top of the deck which would have been the first burn card. The flipped over card now becomes the first burn card.