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Poker Rules

"Robert's Rules of Poker"

Chapters Thirteen and Fourteen

Kill Pots and Betting Limits

Chapter Thirteen - Kill Pots

KILL POTS

To kill a pot means to post an overblind that increases the betting limit. A full kill is double the amount of the big blind, and doubles the betting limits. A half kill is one-and-a-half times the big blind, and increases the betting limits by that amount. A kill may be optional in a game, and is often used at lowball when a player wants to be dealt in right away instead of waiting to take the big blind. A kill may be required in a game for any time a specified event takes place. In high-low split games using a required kill, a player who scoops a pot bigger than a set size must kill the next pot. In other games using a required kill, a player who wins two consecutive pots must kill the next pot. In this type of kill game, a marker called a "kill button" indicates which player has won the pot, and the winner keeps this marker until the next hand is completed. If the player who has the kill button wins a second consecutive pot and it qualifies monetarily, that player must kill the next pot.

Discuss Chapter Thirteen

RULES OF KILL POTS
  1. The kill button is neutral (belonging to no player) if:

    (a) It is the first hand of a new game.

    (b) The winner of the previous pot has quit the game.

    (c) The previous pot was split and neither player had the kill button.

  2. In a kill pot, the killer acts in proper turn (after the person on the immediate right).
  3. There is no pot-size requirement for the first pot or "leg" of a kill. For the second "leg" to qualify for a kill, you must win at least one full bet for whatever limit you are playing, and it cannot be any part of the blind structure.
  4. If a player with one "leg up" splits the next pot, that player still has a "leg up" for the next hand. If the player who split the pot was the kill in the previous hand, then that player must also kill the next pot.
  5. A person who leaves the table with a "leg up" toward a kill still has a "leg up" upon returning to the game.
  6. A player who is required to post a kill must do so that same hand even if wishing to quit or be dealt out. A player who fails to post a required kill blind will not be allowed to participate in any game until the kill money is posted.
  7. Kill blinds are considered part of the pot. If a player with a required kill wins again, then that player must kill it again (for the same amount as the previous hand).
  8. When a player wins both the high and the low pot (scoops) in a split-pot game with a kill provision, the next hand will be killed only if the pot is at least five times the size of the upper limit of the game.
  9. If you are unaware that the pot has been killed and put in a lesser amount, if it is a required kill pot with the kill button faceup, you must put in the correct amount. If not, you may withdraw the chips and reconsider your action.
  10. In lowball, an optional rule is allowing players to look at their first two cards and then opt whether to kill the pot. The pot may no longer be killed if any player in the game has received a third card. In order to kill the pot voluntarily, you must have at least four times the amount of the kill blind in your stack. For example: If the big blind is two chips, and the kill blind is four chips, the voluntary killer must have at least 16 chips prior to posting the kill. If this rule is used, it is in conjunction with having the killer act last on the first betting round rather than in proper order.
  11. Only one kill is allowed per deal.
  12. A new player is not entitled to play in a killed pot, but may do so by agreeing to kill the next pot.
  13. Broken game status is allowed only for players of the same limit and game type. For this purpose, a game with a required kill is considered a different type of game than an otherwise similar game without a required kill.

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Chapter Fourteen - No Limit and Pot Limit

NO LIMIT AND POT-LIMIT

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 players 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. For those rules that apply only to no-limit and pot-limit lowball, see the sub-section at the end of "Section 11 -- Lowball".

Discuss Chapter Fourteen

NO-LIMIT RULES
  1. The number of raises in any betting round is unlimited.
  2. 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 preset 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 at least the minimum bet (unless going all-in for a lesser sum) and a preflop raiser must at least double the size of the big blind. At all other times, when someone goes all-in for less than the minimum bet, a player has the option of just calling the all-in amount. 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 $100, and a player goes all-in on the flop for $20, a player may fold, call $20, or raise to at least a total of $120.
  3. 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 100 and player B raises to 200. Player C wishing to raise must raise at least 100 more, making the total bet at least 300. A player who has already acted and is not facing a fullsize 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.)
  4. 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.)
  5. "Completing the bet" is a limit poker wager type only, and not used at big-bet poker.
  6. 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.
  7. A wager is not binding until the chips are actually released into the pot, unless the player has made a verbal statement of action.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.)
  11. 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.
  12. 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 reraises 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.)
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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 floorperson, 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.
  17. The cardroom does not condone "insurance" or any other proposition wagers. The management will decline to make decisions in such matters, and the pot will be awarded to the best hand. Players are asked to refrain from instigating proposition wagers in any form. The players are allowed to agree to deal twice (or three times) when someone is all-in. Dealing twice means the pot is divided in two, with each portion being dealt for separately.
POT-LIMIT RULES

A bet may not exceed the pot size. The maximum amount a player can raise is the amount in the pot after the call is made. Therefore, if a pot is $100, and someone makes a $50 bet, the next player can call $50 and raise the pot $200, for a total wager of $250.

  1. If a wager is made that exceeds the pot size, the surplus will be given back to the bettor as soon as possible, and the amount will be reduced to the maximum allowable.
  2. The dealer or any player in the game can and should call attention to a wager that appears to exceed the pot size (this also applies to heads-up pots). The oversize wager may be corrected at any point until all players have acted on it.
  3. If an oversize wager has stood for a length of time with someone considering what action to take, that person has had to act on a wager that was thought to be a certain size. If the player then decides to call or raise, and attention is called at this late point to whether this is an allowable amount, the floorperson may rule that the oversize amount must stand (especially if the person now trying to reduce the amount is the person that made the wager).
  4. In pot-limit play, it is advisable in many structures to round off the pot size upward to produce a faster pace of play. This is done by treating any odd amount as the next larger size. For example, if the pot size was being kept track of with $25 units, then a pot size of $80 would be treated as a pot size of $100.
  5. In pot-limit holdem and pot-limit Omaha, many structures treat the little blind as if it were the same size of the big blind in computing pot size. In such a structure, a player can open for a maximum of four times the size of the big blind . For example, if the blinds are $5 and $10, a player may open with a raise to $40. (The range of options is to either open with a call of $10, or raise in increments of five dollars to any amount from $20 to $40.) Subsequent players also treat the $5 as if it were $10 in computing the pot size, until the big blind is through acting on the first betting round. This rule of treating the little blind as if it were the size of the big blind is especially desirable in a structure where the little blind uses a lower-denomination chip than the big blind, as in using blinds of $10 and $25 (two $5 chips and a $25 chip). At tournament play, strict pot-limit rules are normally used, so there the maximum opening wager is 3.5 times the size of the big blind.
  6. In pot-limit, a player who puts a chip or a bill larger than the pot size is put into the pot without comment is considered to be making a bet of the pot size.

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GLOSSARY

ACTION: A fold, check, call, bet, or raise. For certain situations, doing something formally connected with the game that conveys information about your hand may also be considered as having taken action. Examples would be showing your cards at the end of the hand, or indicating the number of cards you are taking at draw.

AGGRESSIVE ACTION: A wager that could enable a player to win a pot without a showdown; a bet or raise.

ALL-IN: When you have put all of your playable money and chips into the pot during the course of a hand, you are said to be all-in.

ANTE: A prescribed amount posted before the start of a hand by all players.

BET: The act of placing a wager in turn into the pot on any betting round, or the chips put into the pot.

BIG BLIND: The largest regular blind in a game.

BLIND: A required bet made before any cards are dealt.

BLIND GAME: A game which utilizes a blind.

BOARD: (1) The board on which a waiting list is kept for players wanting seats in specific games. (2) Cards faceup on the table common to each of the hands.

BOARDCARD: A community card in the center of the table, as in holdem or Omaha.

BOXED CARD: A card that appears faceup in the deck where all other cards are facedown.

BROKEN GAME: A game no longer in action.

BURNCARD: After the initial round of cards is dealt, the first card off the deck in each round that is placed under a chip in the pot, for security purposes. To do so is to burn the card; the card itself is called the burncard.

BUTTON: A player who is in the designated dealer position. See dealer button.

BUTTON GAMES: Games in which a dealer button is used.

BUY-IN: The minimum amount of money required to enter any game.

CALIFORNIA LOWBALL: Ace-to-five lowball with a joker.

CARDS SPEAK: The face value of a hand in a showdown is the true value of the hand, regardless of a verbal announcement.

CAPPED: Describes the situation in limit poker in which the maximum number of raises on the betting round have been reached.

CHECK: To waive the right to initiate the betting in a round, but to retain the right to act if another player initiates the betting.

CHECK-RAISE: To waive the right to bet until a bet has been made by an opponent, and then to increase the bet by at least an equal amount when it is your turn to act.

COLLECTION: The fee charged in a game (taken either out of the pot or from each player).

COLLECTION DROP: A fee charged for each hand dealt.

COLOR CHANGE: A request to change the chips from one denomination to another.

COMMON CARD: A card dealt faceup to be used by all players at the showdown in the games of stud poker whenever there are insufficient cards left in the deck to deal each player a card individually.

COMMUNITY CARDS: The cards dealt faceup in the center of the table that can be used by all players to form their best hand in the games of holdem and Omaha.

COMPLETE THE BET: To increase an all-in bet or forced bet to a full bet in limit poker.

CUT: To divide the deck into two sections in such a manner as to change the order of the cards.

CUT-CARD: Another term for the bottom card.

DEAD CARD: A card that is not legally playable.

DEAD COLLECTION BLIND: A fee posted by the player having the dealer button, used in some games as an alternative method of seat rental.

DEAD HAND: A hand that is not legally playable.

DEAD MONEY: Chips that are taken into the center of the pot because they are not considered part of a particular players bet.

DEAL: To give each player cards, or put cards on the board. As used in these rules, each deal refers to the entire process from the shuffling and dealing of cards until the pot is awarded to the winner.

DEALER BUTTON: A flat disk that indicates the player who would be in the dealing position for that hand (if there were not a house dealer). Normally just called the button.

DEAL OFF: To take all the blinds and the button before changing seats or leaving the table. That is, participate through all the blind positions and the dealer position.

DEAL TWICE: When there is no more betting, agreeing to have the rest of the cards to come determine only half the pot, removing those cards, and dealing again for the other half of the pot.

DECK: A set of playing-cards. In these games, the deck consists of either:

(1) 52 cards in seven-card stud, holdem, and Omaha.

(2) 53 cards (including the joker), often used in ace-to-five lowball and draw high.

DISCARD(S): In a draw game, to throw cards out of your hand to make room for replacements, or the card(s) thrown away; the muck.

DOWNCARDS: Cards that are dealt facedown in a stud game.

DRAW: (1) The poker form where players are given the opportunity to replace cards in the hand. In some places like California, the word draw is used referring to draw high, and draw low is called lowball. (2) The act of replacing cards in the hand. (3) The point in the deal where replacing is done is called the draw.

FACECARD: A king, queen, or jack.

FIXED LIMIT: In limit poker, any betting structure in which the amount of the bet on each particular round is pre-set.

FLASHED CARD: A card that is partially exposed.

FLOORPERSON: A casino employee who seats players and makes decisions.

FLOP: In holdem or Omaha, the three community cards that are turned simultaneously after the first round of betting is complete.

FLUSH: A poker hand consisting of five cards of the same suit.

FOLD: To throw a hand away and relinquish all interest in a pot.

FOURTH STREET: The second upcard in seven-card stud or the first boardcard after the flop in holdem (also called the turn card).

FOULED HAND: A dead hand.

FORCED BET: A required wager to start the action on the first betting round (the normal way action begins in a stud game).

FREEROLL: A chance to win something at no risk or cost.

FULL BUY: A buy-in of at least the minimum requirement of chips needed for a particular game.

FULL HOUSE: A hand consisting of three of a kind and a pair.

HAND: (1) All a players personal cards. (2) The five cards determining the poker ranking. (3) A single poker deal.

HEADS-UP PLAY: Only two players involved in play.

HOLECARDS: The cards dealt facedown to a player.

INSURANCE: A side agreement when someone is all-in for a player in a pot to put up money that guarantees a payoff of a set amount in case the opponent wins the pot.

JOKER: The joker is a partially wild card in high draw poker and ace-to-five lowball. In high, it is used for aces, straights, and flushes. In lowball, the joker is the lowest unmatched rank in a hand.

KANSAS CITY LOWBALL: A form of draw poker low also known as deuce-to-seven, in which the best hand is 7-5-4-3-2 and straights and flushes count against you.

KICKER: The highest unpaired card that helps determine the value of a five-card poker hand.

KILL (OR KILL BLIND): An oversize blind, usually twice the size of the big blind and doubling the limit. Sometimes a half-kill increasing the blind and limits by fifty percent is used. A kill can be either voluntary or mandatory. The most common requirements of a mandatory kill are for winning two pots in a row at lowball and other games, or for scooping a pot in high-low split.

KILL BUTTON: A button used in a lowball game to indicate a player who has won two pots in a row and is required to kill the pot.

KILL POT: A pot with a forced kill by the winner of the two previous pots, or the winner of an entire pot of sufficient size in a high-low split game. (Some pots can be voluntarily killed.)

LEG UP: Being in a situation equivalent to having won the previous pot, and thus liable to have to kill the following pot if you win the current pot.

LIVE BLIND: A blind bet giving a player the option of raising if no one else has raised.

LIST: The ordered roster of players waiting for a game.

LOCK-UP: A chip marker that holds a seat for a player.

LOWBALL: A draw game where the lowest hand wins.

LOWCARD: The lowest upcard at seven-card stud, which is required to bet.

MISCALL: An incorrect verbal declaration of the ranking of a hand.

MISDEAL: A mistake on the dealing of a hand which causes the cards to be reshuffled and a new hand to be dealt.

MISSED BLIND: A required bet that is not posted when it is your turn to do so.

MUCK: (1) The pile of discards gathered facedown in the center of the table by the dealer. (2) To discard a hand.

MUST-MOVE: In order to protect the main game, a situation where the players of a second game must move into the first game as openings occur.

NO-LIMIT: A betting structure where players are allowed to wager any or all of their chips in one bet.

OPENER: The player who made the first voluntary bet.

OPENER BUTTON: A button used to indicate who opened a particular pot in a draw game.

OPENERS: In jacks-or-better draw, the cards held by the player who opens the pot that show the hand qualifies to be opened. Example: You are first to bet and have a pair of kings; the kings are called your openers.

OPTION: The choice to raise a bet given to a player with a blind.

OVERBLIND: Also called oversize blind. A blind used in some pots that is bigger than the regular big blind, and usually increases the stakes proportionally.

PASS: (1) Decline to bet. In a pass-and-out game, this differs from a check, because a player who passes must fold. (2) Decline to call a wager, at which point you must discard your hand and have no further interest in the pot.

PAT: Not drawing any cards in a draw game.

PLAY BEHIND: Have chips in play that are not in front of you (allowed only when waiting for chips that are already purchased). This differs from table stakes.

PLAY THE BOARD: Using all five community cards for your hand in holdem.

PLAY OVER: To play in a seat when the occupant is absent.

PLAYOVER BOX: A clear plastic box used to cover and protect the chips of an absent player when someone plays over that seat.

POSITION: (1) The relation of a players seat to the blinds or the button. (2) The order of acting on a betting round or deal.

POT-LIMIT: The betting structure of a game in which you are allowed to bet up to the amount of the pot.

POTTING OUT: Agreeing with another player to take money out of a pot, often to buy food, cigarettes, or drinks, or to make side bets.

PROPOSITION BETS: Side bets between players that are not related to the outcome of the hand.

PROTECTED HAND: A hand of cards that the player is physically holding, or has topped with a chip or some other object to prevent a fouled hand.

PUSH: When a new dealer replaces an existing dealer at a particular table.

PUSHING BETS: The situation in which two or more players make an agreement to return bets to each other when one of them wins a pot in which the other or others play. Also called saving bets.

RACK: (1) A container in which chips are stored while being transported. (2) A tray in front of the dealer, used to hold chips and cards.

RAISE: To increase the amount of a previous wager. This increase must meet certain specifications, depending on the game, to reopen the betting and count toward a limit on the number of raises allowed.

RERAISE: To raise someones raise.

SAVING BETS: Same as pushing bets.

SCOOP: To win both the high and the low portions of a pot in a split-pot game.

SCRAMBLE: A facedown mixing of the cards.

SETUP: Two suited decks, each with different colored backs, to replace the current decks in a game.

SIDE POT: A separate pot formed when one or more players are all in.

SHORT BUY: A buy-in that is less than the required minimum buy-in.

SHOWDOWN: The final act of determining the winner of the pot after all betting has been completed.

SHUFFLE: The act of mixing the cards before a hand.

SMALL BLIND: In a game with multiple blind bets, the smallest blind.

SOFTPLAY: To show favoritism to a particular opponent by checking throughout a deal whenever heads-up. This refusal to bet with a good hand or bluff with a bad hand when facing a certain person, however motivated, is still improper poker behavior. Softplaying is actually a form of collusion, and may be penalized as such.

SPLIT POT: A pot that is divided among players, either because of a tie for the best hand or by agreement prior to the showdown.

SPLITTING BLINDS: When no one else has entered the pot, an agreement between the big blind and small blind to each take back their blind bets instead of playing the deal (chopping).

SPLITTING OPENERS: In high draw jacks-or-better poker, dividing openers in hopes of making a different type of hand. Example: You open the pot with a pair of aces. One of your aces is a spade, as are the three other cards in the hand. If you throw away the non-spade ace to go for the flush, you announce to the table, Splitting openers.

STACK: Chips in front of a player.

STRADDLE: An additional blind bet placed after the forced blinds, usually double the big blind in size or in lowball, a multiple blind game.

STRAIGHT: Five cards in consecutive rank.

STRAIGHT FLUSH: Five cards in consecutive rank of the same suit.

STREET: Cards dealt on a particular round in stud games. For instance, the fourth card in a players hand is often known as fourth street, the sixth card as sixth street, and so on.

STRING RAISE: A bet made in more than one motion, without the declaration of a raise (not allowed).

STUB: The portion of the deck which has not been dealt.

SUPERVISOR: A cardroom employee qualified to make rulings, such as a floorperson, shift supervisor, or the cardroom manager.

TABLE STAKES: (1) The amount of money you have on the table. This is the maximum amount that you can lose or that anyone can win from you on any one hand. (2) The requirement that players can wager only the money in front of them at the start of a hand, and can only buy more chips between hands.

TIME: An expression used to stop the action on a hand. Equivalent to Hold it.

TIME COLLECTION: A fee for a seat rental, paid in advance.

TOURNAMENT: A poker competition, normally with an entry fee and prizes.

TURNCARD: The fourth street card in hold'em or Omaha.

UPCARDS: Cards that are dealt faceup for opponents to see in stud games.

WAGER: (1) To bet or raise. (2) The chips used for betting or raising.

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