THE OFFICIAL POKER RULEBOOK FOR WFP
Your membership in our tournaments signifies that you agree to abide by our rules and procedures
By taking a seat in one of our tournament games, you are accepting our management to be the final authority on all matters relating to that game. NJ Free Poker™ (WFP) reserves the right to amend these rules without notice. All decisions regarding interpretations of rules, eligibility, etc., for any of our events, will be determined by WFP, and are subject to change without notification. All WFP decisions are final. WFP goal is for everyone to enjoy a night out playing poker with friendly folks in a pleasant atmosphere. It's all about having fun playing FREE Texas Hold'em. So our philosophy is simple, if you don't like our rules or how we conduct our free tournaments, don't play.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
SECTION 1 HOUSE POLICIES
SECTION 2 WFP TOURNAMENT RULES
* Dead Hands
* Betting & Raising
SECTION 3 BUTTON AND BLIND USE
SECTION 4 NO-LIMIT
SECTION 5 GLOSSARY
SECTION 6 “Robert’s Rules Of Poker”
SECTION 1 - HOUSE POLICIES
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 WFP Management 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, and the time limit for a ruling request given in the previous rule has been observed, 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 person’s amount of poker experience and past record.
9. Management will decide when to start or close any game. Because of time constrictions, WFP may change the time limits on blinds without notice.
10. No side betting permitted. Anyone found to be attempting to side bet will be removed from play and any future WFP events, as well as WFP reserves the right to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.
11. You must be at least 21 years old to play in any WFP events. Valid ID is required.
12. Speaking a foreign language during a deal is not allowed. English only.
13. Non-value chips are used for all tournament play, and are the exclusive property of WFP. Chips may NOT be removed from the gaming surfaces or the premises, except to be transported to another table, at the request of the dealer. If a player is found to have placed chips in their pocket, or otherwise concealed or removed chips, all of that players chip shall be considered “dead”, and returned to the dealer. In addition, that player shall be disqualified from that tournament. If a second violation occurs, that player will be banned from further participation in WFP events.
14. Strictly NO GAMBLING ALLOWED. Cash is not permitted on the table. There is NO money required to play. There is no cash fee or entry fee. There is no money at stake and no risk of loss. Participation in all WFP events is FREE!
15. WFP reserves the right to change, revoke or alter sponsorship at any time at its sole discretion. WFP reserves the right to ban or remove any player from play at any time, for, but not limited to, disruptive behavior, foul language, physical confrontations, cheating, promoting other businesses, etc.
16. No WFP Player may be in competition with WFP previously or currently at time of sponsorship opportunity or fulfillment. WFP Player recognizes that he/she has been chosen by WFP based on several factors. Some of those factors include the way the Player has conducted themselves in prior free tournaments, their demonstration of a high level of skill and proper etiquette in those tournaments, their ability to relate to and socialize with other players and WFP’s perception that the Player will represent them with high regard.
Management will attempt to maintain a pleasant environment for all our customers and employees, but is not responsible for the conduct of any player. We have established a code of conduct, and may deny the use of our tournament to violators.
1. WFP may disqualify anyone from participating in future events, and/or sponsorship eligibility, as a result of misconduct, fraud, or other violation of WFP Rules.
2. Any attempt by any person(s) to willfully or negligently damage or impair any property, program, or WFP tournament operation, may be subject to criminal, and/or civil prosecution.
3. Depending on the severity of any WFP rule infraction(s), a penalty will be invoked.
(a) If a minor infraction occurs a verbal warning will be issued. If a second infraction occurs with the same player a ten minutes time-out is given. The player must leave the table until called to return by WFP management. If during the ten minute time-out, a player misses a Final Table merge, he/she will have no recourse and is eliminated from that tournament. If a third infraction occurs with the same player, he/she will be eliminated from all scheduled tournaments for that day. At its discretion, WFP may suspend players for an indeterminate amount of time, for continual infractions of WFP rules.
(b) If a major infraction occurs, WFP reserves the right to revoke any Player’s Membership and ban that player(s) from future participation in any WFP events. Major infractions include; but are not limited to: cheating, collusion, verbally or physically threatening or assaulting anyone.
4. The following actions are improper, and grounds for warning, suspending, or barring:
Deliberately acting out of turn.
Deliberately splashing chips into the pot.
Agreeing to check a hand out when a third player is all-in.
Reading a hand for another player at showdown, before it has been placed face-up on the table.
Telling anyone to turn a hand face-up at the showdown.8. Gambling or Side Betting.
Sharing, helping or showing your cards. Only one person may play a hand
Revealing or divulging the contents of a folded hand before the betting is complete. Do not make any direct or indirect comment or inference to the contents of a hand, during a deal, even to someone not in the pot.
Needlessly stalling the action of a game. 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
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-rack).
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.
Playing another player’s chips or cards.
Looking through the discards or deck stub.
After a deal ends, asking dealers to show what card would have been dealt; No Rabbit Hunting
Use of a cell phone at the table.
Collusion with another player or any other form of cheating.
Verbally or physically threatening, and/or assaulting anyone
Using profanity or obscene language
Creating a disturbance by arguing, shouting, or making excessive noise.
Destroying or defacing property; throwing, tearing, bending, or crumpling cards.
Theft of Property of any kind
Using an illegal substance.
Carrying a weapon.
1. ALL PLAYERS MUST SIGN-IN and clearly print your Member ID# and Full Name on the TOURNAMENT SIGN-IN sheet. All players must sign-in, including Online Registered Players. (Phone registrations are considered to be the same as Online). Illegible names and ID may not receive credit.
NEW PLAYERS: Please complete a MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION and submit it to the Lead Dealer (LD). The LD will issue you a WFP ID Number.
If you registered as a New Player Online, your WFP ID Number will be emailed to you, usually within less than 24 hours. If you have yet to receive a WFP ID#, please leave space Blank and sign your Name on the next available line. Please ask any dealer for a Membership Card, and use the ID assigned via email.
2. SEATING BEGINS 10 MINUTES PRIOR TO START: Before sitting, check off your name: If you did not initially get a seat, please wait until you hear a Dealer announce “PLAYER DOWN / NEXT PLAYER” to join the game. Please be aware of when it is your turn. If unavailable, you will be skipped and may enter on the next “Player-Down” call.
Check-off the “NEXT” box, by your name on the TOURNAMENT SIGN-IN sheet before entering the game. If you forget to sign-in or check-off off your name as a seated player, no points will be issued.
3. YOU ARE GUARANTEED A SEAT, ONLY IF:
You registered for a game online or by phone, NO LESS THAN 3 HOURS prior to start time, AND:
You are signed-in at the Host Location, before we Shuffle up and Deal.
NEWLY REGISTERED PLAYERS arriving by start time will also be guaranteed a seat.
4. TOURNAMENT LOCK-OUT: Players not guaranteed a seat may be locked out if no seat opens up prior to one half hour after start time. Players locked out the first tournament are guaranteed seating for the second tournament.
5. The house will control the seating of new players to best preserve the viability of existing games. A new player assumes the position of the available seat and is dealt right into the game, except when seated between the button and the small blind. If more than one seat is available the new player assumes the worst position.
5. The house reserves the right to require that any two or more players not play at the same table (husband and wife, relatives, business partners, and so forth).
6. Button position will be awarded to the player dealt the highest card by suit. (S,H,D,C)
7. Management may reserve a certain seat for a player for a good reason, such as to assist reading the board for a person with a vision problem, et al.
8. WFP may decide to start the game with one extra player (11). That seat will be removed, as soon as someone is eliminated from the game.
SECTION 2 – WFP TOURNAMENT RULES
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 are not allowed. A penalty may be imposed for discussing hands during the play.
1. Initial seating is determined by WFP Management.
2. The appropriate starting amount of chips will be placed on the table for each entrant at the beginning of the event by the dealer.
3. In all tournament games using a dealer button, the starting position of the button is determined by the players drawing for the high card by suit.
4. Blinds and Antes are raised at regularly scheduled intervals as determined by management.
5. 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 cards)
6. 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. The maximum is one chip going to any player. Cards are dealt clockwise starting with the seat to the left of the dealer, irregardless of the button, with each player receiving all cards before any cards are dealt to the next player. The player with the highest card by suit gets to exchange all odd chips for one new, higher denomination chip, the second-highest card gets to exchange for the next chip, and so forth, until all the lower-denomination chips are exchanged. 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. 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. EXCEPTION: During regular nightly games, chips will be Colored-up, as follows: Players with more than one chip of the color eliminated will receive one chip of the next highest denomination, in exchange. Players with ONLY one chip will participate in a Chip Race, as described above.
7. A player must be present at the table to stop the action by calling “time.”
8. 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.)
9. 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.
10. A change of seat is not allowed after play starts, except as assigned by the director.
11. 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. NO PLAYER MAY BE DEALT IN BETWEEN THE BUTTON OR SMALL BLIND. YOU MUST WAIT TILL THE BUTTON PASSES.
12. New PLAYERS or MERGED PLAYERS are dealt in immediately and take over the obligations of that position, including the small blind or button position. NEW PLAYERS OR MERGED PLAYERS ASSUME THE POSITION OF THE AVAILABLE SEAT, WITH THE ENTITLEMENT OF ASSUMING THE WORST POSTION FIRST IF MULTIPLE SEATS ARE AVAILABLE. THEY WILL BE DEALT RIGHT INTO THE GAME AT EITHER THE BUTTON, SMALL OR BIG BLIND. NO PLAYER MAY BE DEALT IN BETWEEN THE BUTTON OR SMALL BLIND. YOU MUST WAIT UNTIL THE BUTTON PASSES.
13. The number of players at each table will be kept reasonably balanced by the transfer of a player as needed.
14. 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. 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.
15. 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.
16. All players must leave their seat immediately after being eliminated from an event. A non-player may not sit at the table.
17. 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, even your own. You may not receive “coaching” or advice from a guest or discuss hand or board possibilities.
18. 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 multihanded 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.
19. At 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.
20. Non-tournament chips are not allowed on the table.
21. Higher-denomination chips must be placed where they are easily visible to all other players at the table.
22. 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.
23. Inappropriate behavior like throwing cards that go off the table may be punished with a penalty such as being dealt out for a length of time. A severe infraction such as abusive or disruptive behavior may be punished by eviction from the tournament.
24. The decks is changed only when dealers change, unless a card is damaged.
25. 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.”
26. In heads-up play with two blinds, the small blind is on the button.
27. All hands will be turned faceup whenever a player is all-in and betting action is complete.
28. If multiple players go broke on the same hand, the player starting the hand with the larger chip stack, at the start of the hand finishes in the higher ranking position.
29. Chopping or Splitting pots will not be allowed in any game.
30. 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.
31. Every player is entitled to a clear view of an opponent’s chips. Higher denomination chips should be easily visible.
32. Your chips may be surrendered, if you are away from the table for more than 30 minutes. Your absence may be extended, if you notify a floor person, in advance. Frequent or continuous absences may be cause for your chips to be surrendered, and player disqualified.
33. Management retains the right to cancel any event, or alter it in any manner.
34. All Rules are subject to change without notice.
1. The following circumstances are cause for a misdeal, provided attention is called to the error before two players have acted on their hands. (If two players have acted in turn, the deal must be played to conclusion)
(a) The first or second card of the hand has been dealt faceup or exposed through 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 hand of a game.
(e) An incorrect number of cards have been dealt to a player, except that 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 burncard).
(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.
(j) A player has been dealt out, who is entitled to a hand. This player must be present at the table or have posted a blind or ante.
2. Once action begins, a misdeal cannot be called. The deal will be played to conclusion 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.
1. 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.
(d) You act on a hand with a joker as a holecard in a game not using a joker.
(e) You have the clock on you when facing a bet or raise and exceed the specified time limit.
2. Cards thrown into the muck may be ruled dead. However, a hand that is clearly identifiable may be retrieved and ruled live at management’s discretion, if doing so is in the best interest of the game. We will make an extra effort to rule a hand retrievable, if it was folded as a result of incorrect information given to the player.
3. Cards thrown into another player’s hand are dead, whether they are faceup or facedown.
1. 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).
2. 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 will have no redress if it becomes fouled or the dealer accidentally kills it.
3. If a card with a different color 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 color back is discovered in the stub, all action stands.
4. 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).
5. 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 freeroll), the player may lose the right to a refund, and the chips may be required to stay in the pot for the next deal.
6. A card discovered faceup 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 downcards. In that case, the card that was faceup in the deck will be replaced after all other cards are dealt for that round.
7. 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.
8. If you play a hand without looking at all of your cards, you assume the liability of having an irregular card or an improper joker, and therefore, a dead hand.
9. One or more cards missing from the deck does not invalidate the results of a hand.
10. Before the first round of betting, if a dealer deals one additional card, it is returned to the deck and used as the burncard.
11. 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 downcard dealt off the table is an exposed card.
12. If a card is exposed due to dealer error, a player does not have an option to take or reject the card.
13. If a player drops any cards out of his/her hand onto the floor that card will play.
14. 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 boardcard, 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 burncard 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, boardcards, and burncards are all sufficiently intact to determine the proper replacement card.
15. 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.
16. 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.
17. If the first or second holecard dealt is exposed, a misdeal results. The dealer will retrieve the card, reshuffle, and recut the cards. If any other holecard 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 burncard. If more than one holecard is exposed, this is a misdeal and there must be a redeal.
18. 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 burncard. If the dealer mistakenly deals more than one extra card, it is a misdeal.
19. If the flop contains too many cards, the error should be rectified by showing the extra card to all players and using it for the next burn on the next deal.
20. 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 boardcard, 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 burncard 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.
21. 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.
22. If the flop needs to be redealt for any reason, the boardcards are mixed with the remainder of the deck. The burncard remains on the table. After shuffling, the dealer cuts the deck and deals a new flop without burning a card.
23. A dealing error for the fourth boardcard is rectified in a manner to least influence the identity of the boardcards 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 burncards 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.
24. You must declare that you are playing the board before you throw your cards away. Otherwise, you relinquish all claim to the pot.
BETTING AND RAISING
1. Check-raise is permitted
2. Unlimited raising is allowed. Minimum Raise is the Big Blind, all sequential stakes are twofold in a clockwise motion that proceeds from the top to the right, then down and then to the left, and back to the top. In a mathematical sense, a circle defined parametrically in a positive Cartesian plane by the equations x = sin t and y = cos t is traced clockwise as t increases in value.
3. Any wager, not all-in, must be at least the size of the previous bet or raise in that round.
4. The smallest chip that may be wagered in a game is the smallest chip used in the antes, or blinds. A player going all-in must put all chips that play into the pot.
5. A verbal statement denotes your action and is binding. If in turn you verbally declare a fold, check, bet, call, or raise, you are forced to take that action.
6. Rapping the table with your hand is considered a pass.
7. 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. An action or verbal declaration out of turn may be ruled binding if there is no bet, call, or raise by an intervening player acting after the infraction has been committed. A player who has “called” out of turn may not change his wager to a “raise” under any circumstances.
8. To retain the right to act, a player must stop the action by calling “Time” (or an equivalent word). Failure to stop the action before three or more players have acted behind you may cause you to lose the right to act. You cannot forfeit your right to act, if any player in front of you has not acted, only if you fail to act when it legally becomes your turn. Therefore, if you wait for someone whose turn comes before you, and three or more players act behind you, this still does not hinder your right to act.
9. 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 those chips and reconsider your action, provided that no one else has acted after you.
14. String bets/raises are not allowed. To protect your right to raise; you should either declare your intention verbally or place the proper amount of chips into the pot in one motion. 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.)
15. 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.
16. All bets 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.
1. To win any part of a pot, a player must show all of his cards faceup on the table, whether they were used in the final hand played or not.
2. 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.
3. Any player, dealer, or floorperson 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.
4. All losing hands will be killed by the dealer before a pot is awarded.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. If everyone checks (or is all-in) on the final betting round, the player who acted first is the first to show the hand. 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.
1. The ranking of suits from highest to lowest is spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs. Suits never break a tie for winning a pot. Suits are used to break a tie between cards of the same rank (no redeal or redraw).
2. Dealing a card to each player is used to determine things like who moves to another table. If the cards are dealt, the order is clockwise starting with the first player on the dealer’s left (the button position is irrelevant). Drawing a card is used to determine things like who gets the button in a new game, or seating order coming from a broken game.
3. An odd chip will be broken down to the smallest unit used in the game.
4. No player may receive more than one odd chip.
5. If two or more hands tie, an odd chip will be awarded as follows:
(a) The first hand clockwise from the button gets the odd chip.
(b) All side pots and the main pot will be split as separate pots, not mixed together.
SECTION 3 - BUTTON AND BLIND USE
In button games, a non-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 after the first betting round. The button moves 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. A blind other than the big blind may be treated as dead in some structures, as when a special additional "dead blind" for the collection is specified by a WFP’s procedure. With two blinds, the small blind is posted by the first player clockwise from the button, and the big blind is posted by the player two positions clockwise from the button. With more than two blinds, the smallest blind is normally left of the button. Action is initiated on the first betting round by the first player to the left of the blinds. On all subsequent betting rounds, the action begins with the first active player to the left of the button.
RULES FOR USING BLINDS
1. The minimum bring-in and allowable raise sizes for the opener is specified by the poker form used 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.
2. Each round every player must get an opportunity for the button, and meet the total amount of the blind obligations. The following methods of button and blind placement are designated to do this:
(a) 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.
3. A player posting a blind in the game’s regular structure has the option of raising the pot at the first turn to act. Although chips posted by the big blind are considered a bet, this option to raise is retained if someone goes all-in with a wager of less than the minimum raise.
4. In heads-up play with two blinds, the small blind is on the button.
5. A new player cannot be dealt in between the small blind and the button. You must wait until the button passes
6. When you post the big blind, it serves as your opening bet. When it is your next turn to act, you have the option to raise.
7. If a player who owes a blind (as a result of a missed blind) is dealt in without posting, the hand is dead if the player looks at it before putting up the required chips, and has not yet acted. If the player acts on the hand and plays it, putting chips into the pot before the error is discovered, the hand is live, and the player is required to post on the next deal.
SECTION 4 - NO LIMIT
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. If the big blind does not have sufficient chips to post the required amount, anyone who enters the pot is required to enter for the minimum bet (unless going all-in for a lesser sum). The minimum bet remains the same amount on all betting rounds. If a player goes all-in for an amount that is less than the minimum bring-in, a player who wishes to raise, must raise at least the amount of the minimum bring-in. For example, if the big blind and minimum bring-in is $100, and a player goes all-in on the flop for $20, a raise must be 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. 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 (which is the amount of the minimum bring-in), or less than the full size of the last bet or raise
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. A player who says "raise" is required to 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.
6. A wager is not binding until the chips are actually released into the pot, unless the player has made a verbal statement of action.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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 needs some protection. A "call" may be ruled not binding if it is obvious that the player grossly misunderstood the amount wagered. 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 is not as clear-cut as this.)
10. A bet of a single chip, without comment, is considered to be the full amount of the chip allowed. However, a player acting on a previous bet with a larger denomination chip, 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. (This does not apply to a player who has unintentionally put too much in to call.) The wager is brought up to the sufficient amount only, no greater size.
12. 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.
13. In all no-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 player request, the dealer, floor-person or lead dealer. 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.
SECTION 5 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 hold’em 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 hold’em 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 card used to shield the bottom of the deck.
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 player’s 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, hold’em, 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 hold’em 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 hold’em (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 player’s 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 “partly wild card” in high draw poker and ace-to-five lowball. In high, it is used for aces, straights, and flushes. In lowball, it 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, 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: At seven-card stud, the lowest upcard, 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 allowing players 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 hold’em.
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 player’s 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 BET: A side bet 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 someone’s 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 new decks, each with different colored backs, to replace the current decks.
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 showing of cards to determine the pot-winner after all the betting is over.
SHUFFLE: The act of mixing the cards before a hand.
SMALL BLIND: In a game with multiple blind bets, the smallest blind.
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 (such as breaking aces to draw at a flush).
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 player’s hand is often known as fourth street, the sixth card as sixth street, and so on.
STRING RAISE: A wager made in more than one motion, without announcing a raise before going back to your stack for more chips (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 win or lose on a 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.
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.
SECTION 6 “Robert’s Rules Of Poker”
“Robert’s Rules Of Poker” is authored by Robert Ciaffone, better known in the poker world as Bob Ciaffone, a leading authority on cardroom rules. He is the person who has selected which rules to use, and formatted, organized, and worded the text. Nearly all these rules are substantively in common use for poker, but many improved ideas for wording and organization are employed throughout this work. A lot of the rules are similar to those used in the rulebook of cardrooms where he has acted as a rules consultant and rules drafter. Ciaffone authored the rulebook for the Poker Players Association (founded in 1984, now defunct), the first comprehensive set of poker rules for the general public. He has done extensive work on rules for the Las Vegas Hilton, The Mirage, and Hollywood Park Casino, and assisted many other cardrooms. Ciaffone is a regular columnist for Card Player magazine, and can be reached through that publication. This rulebook will be periodically revised, so suggestions are welcome.
Poker rules are widely used and freely copied, so it is impossible to construct a rulebook without using many rules that exist as part of a rule set of some cardroom. If such a rule is used, no credit is given to the source (which is unlikely to be the original one for the rule).
The goal of this rulebook is to produce the best set of rules in existence, and make it generally available, so any person or cardroom can use it who so desires. The purpose is the betterment of poker.
The general philosophy used in this rulebook is to make the rules sufficiently detailed so a decision-maker will know what the proper ruling is in each situation. A rule should do more than produce the right ruling. It should be stated so the decision-maker can refer to specific language in the rulebook, to have the ruling is accepted as correct.
The author has strongly supported uniform poker rules, and applauds the work done in this direction by the Tournament Director’s Association (TDA). Nearly all the rules herein are compatible with the TDA rules, although there are some slight differences in wording.
This rulebook may be copied or downloaded by anyone, provided it is not sold for profit without written permission from the author, and the name “Robert’s Rules of Poker” is used or credited. Excerpts of less than a full chapter may be used without restriction or credit. People are welcome to use these rules, and even put their own business name on them, but this does not give a person or business any rights other than to use the rules in their own establishment, or to make copies available to someone else with the same restrictions applied to the recipient as stated here. Anyone may make copies of these rules and distribute them at no charge to recipients as a business promotion without obtaining permission.
Robert’s Rules Of Poker” is authored by Robert Ciaffone (http://www.pokercoach.us )
Here are the amendments, additions, and clarifications to these rules made by our WFP: Removed all game play rules except for Hold’em. Modified all policies for WFP.