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Poker Rules

"Robert's Rules of Poker"

Chapter Two

House Policies

House Policies

Discuss Chapter Two

DECISION-MAKING
  1. Management reserves the right to make decisions in the spirit of fairness, even if a strict interpretation of the rules may indicate a different ruling.
  2. Decisions of the shift supervisor are final.
  3. The proper time to draw attention to an error or irregularity is when it occurs or is first noticed. Any delay may affect the ruling.
  4. If an incorrect rule interpretation or decision by an employee is made in good faith, the establishment has no liability.
  5. 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.
  6. If a pot has been incorrectly awarded and mingled with chips that were not in the pot, but the time limit for a ruling request given in the previous rule has been complied with, management may determine how much was in the pot by reconstructing the betting, and then transfer that amount to the proper player.
  7. To keep the action moving, it is possible that a game may be asked to continue even though a decision is delayed for a short period. The delay could be needed to check the overhead camera tape, get the shift supervisor to give the ruling, or some other good reason. In such circumstances, a pot or portion thereof may be impounded by the house while the decision is pending.
  8. 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 persons amount of poker experience and past record.
  9. 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.
PROCEDURES
  1. Only one person may play a hand.
  2. No one is allowed to play another players chips.
  3. Management will decide when to start or close any game.
  4. Collections (seat rental fees) are paid in advance. In all time-collection games, the dealer is required to pick up the collection from each player before dealing. A player not wishing to pay collection may play one courtesy hand in stud, and may play until the blind in button games, provided no one is waiting for the game. If there is more than one person on the list for that game when the collection becomes due, everyone must pay collection. A new player is not required to pay if there is either no list or only one person waiting.
  5. Cash is not allowed on the table. All cash should be changed into chips in order to play. If a player appears unaware of this rule and attempts to play unnoticed cash that was on the table during a pot, the dealer may let the cash play if no one in the pot objects, then have all the cash changed into chips after the hand. Any chips from another establishment are not permitted on the table, do not play in the game, and if discovered will be treated similarly to unnoticed cash. [See Section 16 Explanations, discussion #5, for more information on this rule.]
  6. Money and chips may be removed for security purposes when leaving the table. The establishment is not responsiblefor any shortage or removal of chips left on the table duringa players absence, even though we will try to protect everyone as best we can. All removed funds must be fully restored when returning to the game.
  7. If you return to the same game within one hour of cashing out, your buy-in must be equal to the amount removed when leaving that game.
  8. All games are table stakes (except "playing behind" as given in the next rule). Only the chips in front of a player at the start of a deal may play for that hand, except for chips not yet received that a player has purchased. The amount bought must be announced to the table, or only the amount of the minimum buy-in plays. Awareness of the amount being in play for each opponent is an important part of poker. All chips and money must be kept in plain view.
  9. "Playing behind" is allowed only for the amount of purchased chips while awaiting their arrival. The amount in play must be announced to the table, or only the amount of the minimum plays.
  10. Playing out of a rack is not allowed.
  11. Permission is required before taking a seat in a game.
  12. Playing over without permission from the floorperson is not allowed. A playover box is required. Permission from the absent player is not necessary.
  13. Pushing bets ("saving" or "potting out") is not allowed.
  14. Pushing an ante or posting for another person is not allowed.
  15. Splitting pots will not be allowed in any game. Chopping the big and small blind by taking them back when all other players have folded is allowed in button games.
  16. Insurance propositions are not allowed. Dealing twice (or three times) when all-in is permitted at big-bet poker.
  17. The game's betting limit will not be changed if two or more players object. Raising the limit is subject to management approval.
  18. 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.
  19. Any player is entitled to a clear view of an opponents chips. Higher denomination chips should be easily visible.
  20. Your chips may be picked up if you are away from the table for more than 30 minutes. Your absence may be extended if you notify a floorperson in advance. Frequent or continuous absences may cause your chips to be picked up from the table.
  21. A lock-up in a new game will be picked up after five minutes if someone is waiting to play. No seat may be locked up for more than ten minutes if someone is waiting to play.
  22. A new deck must be used for at least a full round (once around the table) before it may be changed, and a new setup must be used for at least an hour, unless a deck is defective or damaged, or cards become sticky.
  23. Looking through the discards or deck stub is not allowed.
  24. After a deal ends, dealers are asked to not show what card would have been dealt.
  25. A player is expected to pay attention to the game and not hold up play. Activity that interferes with this such as reading at the table is discouraged, and the player will be asked to cease if a problem is caused.
  26. A non-player may not sit at the table.
  27. In non-tournament games, you may have a guest sit behind you if no one in the game objects. It is improper for a guest to look at any hand other then your own.
  28. Speaking a foreign language during a deal is not allowed.
SEATING
  1. 1. You must be present to add your name to a waiting list.
  2. It is the players responsibility to be in the playing area and hear the list being called. A player who intends to leave the playing area should notify the list-person, and can leave money for a lockup. The lockup amount is $20.
  3. When there is more than one game of the same stakes and poker form, and a must-move is not being used, the house will control the seating of new players to best preserve the viability of existing games. A new player will be sent to the game most in need of an additional player. A transfer to a similar game is not allowed if it makes the game being left shorter-handed than the game being entered.
  4. A player may not hold a seat in more than one game.
  5. The house reserves the right to require that any two players not play in the same game (husband and wife, relatives, business partners, and so forth).
  6. When a button game starts, active players will draw a card for the button position . The button will be awarded to the highest card by suit for all high and high-low games, and to the lowest card by suit for all low games.
  7. To avoid a seating dispute, a supervisor may decide to start the game with one extra player over the normal number participating. If so, a seat will be removed as soon as someone quits the game.
  8. In a new game, the player who arrives at the table the earliest gets first choice of remaining seats. If two players want the same seat and arrive at the same time, the higher player on the list has preference. A player playing a pot in another game may have a designated seat locked up until that hand is finished. Management may reserve a certain seat for a player for a good reason, such as to assist in ease of reading the board for a person with a vision problem.
  9. To protect an existing game, a forced move may be invoked when an additional game of the same type and limit is started. The must-move list is maintained in the same order as the original waiting list. If a player refuses to move into the main game, that player will be forced to quit, and may not play in the must-move game or get on that list for one hour.
  10. In all button games, a player going from a must-move game to the main game may play until due for the big blind. The player must then enter the game as a new player, and may either post an amount equal to the big blind or wait for the big blind . In all stud games, a player may play only one more hand before moving.
  11. You must play in a new game or must-move game to retain your place on the list, if by your playing there would be three or fewer empty seats.
  12. A player who is already in the game has precedence over a new player for any seat when it becomes available. However, no change will occur after a new player has been seated, or after that players buy-in or marker has been placed on the table, unless that particular seat had been previously requested. For players already in the game, the one who asks the earliest has preference for a seat change.
  13. In all button games, a player voluntarily locking up a seat in another game must move immediately if there is a waiting list of two or more names for the seat being vacated, except that the player is entitled to play the button if a blind has already been taken. Otherwise, a player may play up to the blind before moving. In a stud game, a player changing tables may play only the present hand if someone is waiting for the seat being vacated, or one more hand when no one is waiting.
  14. When a game breaks, each player may draw a card to determine the seating order for a similar game. The floorperson draws a card for an absent player. If the card entitles the absent player to an immediate seat, the player has until due for the big blind in a button game to take the seat (two hands in a stud game), and will be put first up on the list if not back in time.

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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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