General Concepts

1:  Floor Decisions

The best interest of the game and fairness are top priorities in decision-making. Unusual circumstances occasionally dictate that common-sense decisions in the interest of fairness take priority over technical rules. Floor decisions are final.

2:  Player Responsibilities

Players should verify registration data and seat assignments, protect their hands, make their intentions clear, follow the action, act in turn with proper terminology and gestures, defend their right to act, keep cards visible and chips correctly stacked, remain at the table with a live hand, table all cards properly when competing at showdown, speak up if they see a mistake, call for a clock when warranted, transfer tables promptly, follow one player to a hand, know and comply with the rules, practice proper etiquette, and generally contribute to an orderly event.

3:  Official Terminology and Gestures

Official betting terms are simple, unmistakable, time-honored declarations like: bet, raise, call, fold, check, all-in, complete, and pot (pot-limit only). Regional terms may also meet this test. Also, players must use gestures with caution when facing action; tapping the table is a check. It is the responsibility of players to make their intentions clear: using non-standard terms or gestures is at player’s risk and may result in a ruling other than what the player intended. See also Rules 2 & 42.

4:  Electronic Devices and Communication

Players may not talk on a phone at the table. Ring tones, music, etc. should be inaudible to others. Betting apps and charts should not be used by players with live hands. Other devices, tools, photography, videography, and communication must not create a nuisance and are subject to house and gaming regulations.

5:  Official Language  

English only will be enforced during play of hands.

Seating, Breaking & Balancing Tables

6:  Random Correct Seating

Tournament and satellite seats will be randomly assigned. A player starting in a wrong seat with a correct chip stack will move to the correct seat with his or her current total chip stack.

7:  Alternates, Late Registration, & Re-Entries

A: Alternates, players registering late, and re-entries will be sold full stacks. They will randomly draw a seat and table by the same process and from the same seat pool then in place for new players and are dealt in except between small blind and button.

B: In re-entry events, if a player is permitted to forfeit chips and buy a new stack, the forfeited chips will be removed from play.

8:  Special Needs

Accommodations for players with special needs will be made when possible.

9:  Breaking Tables

Players from a broken table will be assigned new tables and seats by a 2-step random process. They can get any seat including small or big blind or button and be dealt in except between the small blind and button.

10:  Balancing Tables and Halting Play

A: To balance the player to be big blind next moves to the worst position, including taking a single big blind when available, even if that means the seat has the big blind twice. Worst position is never the small blind.

B: The table from which a player is moved will be specified by a predetermined procedure.

C: Full-table play will halt on tables 3 or more players short of the table with the most players. Play halts on other formats (ex: 6-hand and turbos) at TDs discretion. TDs may waive halting play and waiver is not a misdeal. As the event progresses, at TD’s discretion tables may be more tightly balanced.

11:  Number of Players at Final Table

Final tables will seat 10 at the final table of 10 handed events, 9 at the final table of 9-handed and 8 handed events, and seat 7 at the final table of 6-handed events.

Pots / Showdown

12:  Declarations. Cards Speak at Showdown

Cards speak to determine the winner. Verbal declarations of hand value are not binding at showdown but deliberately miscalling a hand may be penalized. Dealers should read and announce hand values at showdown. Any player, in the hand or not, should speak up if he or she thinks a mistake is made in reading hands or calculating and awarding the pot.

13:  Tabling Cards & Killing Winning Hand  

A: Proper tabling is both 1) turning all cards face up on the table and 2) allowing the dealer and players to read the hand clearly. “All cards” means both hole cards in hold’em and all 4 hole cards in Omaha.

B: At showdown players must protect their hands while waiting for them to be read (See also Rule 66). Players who don’t fully table all cards, then muck thinking they’ve won, do so at their own risk. If a hand is not 100% retrievable and identifiable and the TD rules it was not clearly read, the player has no claim to the pot. The TDs decision on whether a hand was sufficiently tabled is final.

C: Dealers cannot kill a properly tabled hand that was obviously the winner.

14:  Live Cards at Showdown

Discarding non-tabled cards face down does not automatically kill them; players may change their minds and table cards if they remain 100% identifiable and retrievable. Cards are killed by the dealer when pushed into the muck or otherwise rendered irretrievable and unidentifiable.

15: Showdown and Discarding Irregularities

A: If a player tables one card that would make a winning hand, the dealer should advise the player to table all cards. If the player refuses, the floor should be called.

B: If a player bets then discards thinking he or she has won (forgetting another player is still in the hand), the dealer should hold the cards and call the floor. If the cards are mucked and not retrievable and identifiable to 100% certainty, the player has no redress and is not entitled to a refund of called bets. If the player initiated a bet or raise and hasn’t been called, the uncalled amount will be returned.

16:  Face Up for All-Ins

All hands will be tabled without delay once a player is all-in and all betting action by all other players in the hand is complete. No player who is either all-in or has called all betting action may muck his or her hand without tabling. All hands in both the main and sidepot(s) must be tabled and are live.

17:  Non All-In Showdowns & Showdown Order 

A: In a non all-in showdown, if cards are not spontaneously tabled or discarded, the TD may enforce an order of show. The last aggressive player on the final betting round (final street) must table first. If there was no final round bet, the player who would act first in a final betting round must table first (i.e. first seat left of the button in flop games, high hand showing in stud, low hand in razz, etc.).

B: A non all-in showdown is uncontested if all but one player mucks face down without tabling. The last player with live cards wins and is not required to table the cards.

18:  Asking to See a Hand

A: Players not still in possession of cards at showdown, or who have mucked their cards face down without tabling, lose any rights or privileges to ask to see any hand.

B: If there was a river bet, any caller has an inalienable right to see the last aggressor’s hand on request (“the hand they paid to see”) provided the caller tabled or retains his or her cards. TDs discretion governs all other requests such as to see the hand of another caller, or if there was no river bet.

19:  Playing the Board at Showdown

To play the board, a player must table all hole cards to get part of the pot (See Rule 13-A).

20:  Awarding Odd Chips

First, odd chips will be broken into the smallest denomination in play. The odd chip goes to the first seat left of the button.

21:  Side Pots

Each side pot will be split separately.

22:  Disputed Hands and Pots

The reading of a tabled hand may be disputed until the next hand begins (see Rule 23). Accounting errors in calculating and awarding the pot may be disputed until substantial action occurs on the next hand. If a hand finishes during a break, the right to any dispute ends 1 minute after the pot is awarded.

General Procedures

23:  New Hand & New Limits

A new level will not be announced until the clock reaches zero. The new level applies to the next hand. A hand begins on the first riffle, push of the shuffler button, or on the dealer push.

24:  Chip Race, Scheduled Color Ups

A: At scheduled color-ups, chips will be raced off starting in seat 1, with a maximum of one chip awarded to a player. Players can’t be raced out of play: a player losing his or her last chip(s) in a race will get 1 chip of the lowest denomination still in play.

B: Players must have their chips fully visible and are encouraged to witness the chip race.

C: If after the race, a player still has chips of a removed denomination, they will be exchanged for current denominations only at equal value. Chips of removed denominations that do not fully total at least the smallest denomination still in play will be removed without compensation.

25:  Cards & Chips Kept Visible, Countable, & Manageable. Discretionary Color-Ups

A: Players are entitled to a reasonable estimation of their opponents’ chip counts; thus chips should be kept in countable stacks. Clean stacks of 20 chips each is recommended as a standard. Higher denomination chips must be visible and identifiable at all times.

B: TDs control the number and denominations of chips in play and may color up at their discretion. Discretionary color ups are to be announced.

C: Players must keep live hands in plain view at all times.

26:  Deck Changes

Deck changes will be on the dealer push or level changes or as otherwise prescribed. Players may not ask for deck changes.

27:  Re-buys

Players may not miss a hand. Players declaring intent to rebuy before a hand are playing chips behind and must make the re-buy.

28:  Rabbit Hunting

Rabbit hunting or revealing cards that would have come if the hand had not ended is not allowed.

29:  Calling for a Clock 

If in TD’s judgement reasonable time has passed, he or she may call the clock or approve a clock request by any player in the event. A player on the clock has up to 25 seconds plus a 5 second countdown to act. If the player faces a bet and time expires, the hand is dead; if not facing a bet, the hand is checked. A tie goes to the player. TDs may adjust the time allowed and take other steps to fit the game and stop persistent delays. See also Rules 2 and 71.

Player Present / Eligible for Hand

30:  At Your Seat and Live Hands

To have a live hand, players must be at their seats when the last card is dealt to all players on the initial deal. Players not then at their seats may not look at their cards which are killed immediately. Their posted blinds and antes forfeit to the pot . Players must be at their seats to call for a clock (Rule 29). “At your seat” means within reach of your chair. This rule is not intended to encourage players being out of their seats while in a hand.

31:  At the Table with Action Pending

Players with live hands (including players all-in or otherwise finished betting) must remain at the table for all betting rounds and showdown. Leaving the table is incompatible with protecting your hand and following the action, and is subject to penalty.

Button / Blinds

32:  Dead Button

Tournament play will use a dead button.

33:  Dodging Blinds

Players who intentionally dodge any blind when moving from a broken table will incur a penalty.

34:  Button in Heads-up

Heads-up, the small blind is the button, is dealt the last card, and acts first pre-flop and last on all other betting rounds. Starting heads-up play, the button may need to be adjusted to ensure no player has the big blind twice in a row.

Dealing Rules

35:  Misdeals

A: Misdeals include but are not necessarily limited to: 1) 2 or more boxed cards on the initial deal; 2) first card dealt to the wrong seat; 3) cards dealt to a seat not entitled to a hand; 4) a seat entitled to a hand is dealt out; 5) In flop games, if 1 of the first 2 cards dealt off the deck or any other 2 downcards are exposed by dealer error.

B: Players may be dealt 2 consecutive cards on the button (see also Rule 37).

C: In a misdeal, the re-deal is an exact re-play: the button does not move, no new players are seated, and limits stay the same. Cards are dealt to players on penalty or not at their seats for the original deal (Rule 30), then their hands are killed. The original deal and re-deal count as one hand for a player on penalty, not two.

D: Once substantial action occurs a misdeal cannot be declared; the hand must proceed (See Rule 36).

36:  Substantial Action (SA)

Substantial Action is either A) any 2 actions in turn, at least one of which puts chips in the pot (i.e. any 2 actions except 2 checks or 2 folds) or B) any combination of 3 actions in turn (check, bet, raise, call, fold). Posted blinds do not count towards SA. See Rules 35-D & 43-B.

37: Button with Too Few Cards

A player on the button dealt too few cards should announce it immediately. Missing button cards may be replaced even after substantial action if permitted for the game type. However, if the button acts on a hand with too few cards (by check or bet), the hand is dead.

38:  Burns After Substantial Action

The burn card is to protect the stub, not “preserve card order”. If SA occurs and a hand is killed due to the wrong number of cards, all cards of the killed hand are mucked and randomness applies to further dealing. The stub is treated as a normal stub and one and only one card is burned off the stub for each subsequent street.

39:  Four-Card Flops and Premature Cards

If the flop has 4 rather than 3 cards, exposed or not, the floor will be called. The dealer then scrambles the 4 cards face down, the floor randomly selects one as the next burn card and the other 3 are the flop.

Play: Bets & Raises

40:  Methods of Betting: Verbal and Chips

A: Bets are by verbal declaration and/or pushing out chips. If a player does both, whichever is first defines the bet. If simultaneous, a clear and reasonable verbal declaration takes precedence, otherwise the chips play. In unclear situations or where verbal and chips are contradictory, the TD will determine the bet based on the circumstances and Rule 1. 

B: Verbal declarations may be general (“call”, “raise”), a specific amount only (“one thousand”) or both (“raise, one thousand”).

C: For all betting rules, declaring a specific amount only is the same as silently pushing out an equal amount. Ex: Declaring “two hundred” is the same as silently pushing out 200 in chips.

41: Acting in Turn

A: Players must act in turn verbally and/or by pushing out chips. Action in turn is binding and commits chips to the pot that stay in the pot.

B: Players must wait for clear bet amounts before acting. Ex: NLHE, A says “raise” (but no amount), and B quickly folds. B should wait to act until A’s raise amount is clear.

42: Binding Declarations / Undercalls in Turn

A: General verbal declarations in turn (such as “call” or “raise”) commit a player to the full current action.

B: A player undercalls by declaring or pushing out less than the call amount without first declaring “call”. An undercall is a mandatory full call if made in turn facing 1) any bet heads-up or 2) the opening bet on any round multi-way. In other situations, TD’s discretion applies. The opening bet is the first chip bet of each betting round (not a check). In blind games the posted BB is the pre-flop opener. All-in buttons greatly reduce undercall frequency. This rule governs when players must make a full call and when, at TDs discretion they may forfeit an underbet and fold.

C: If two or more undercalls occur in sequence, play backs up to the first undercaller who must correct his or her bet per Rule 42-B. The TD will determine how to treat hands of the remaining bettors based on the circumstances.

43:  Action Out of Turn (OOT)

A: Any action out of turn (check, call, or raise) will be backed up to the correct player in order. The OOT action is subject to penalty and is binding if action to the OOT player does not change.  A check, call or fold by the correct player does not change action. If action changes, the OOT action is not binding; any bet or raise is returned to the OOT player who has all options: call, raise, or fold. An OOT fold is binding. See Illustration Addendum.

B: Players skipped by OOT action must defend their right to act. If a skipped player had reasonable time and does not speak up before substantial action (Rule 36) OOT occurs after the player, the OOT action is binding. Action backs up and the floor will rule on how to treat the skipped hand, including ruling a dead hand or limiting to non-aggressive action as the TD sees fit under the circumstances.

44:  Methods of Calling

Standard and acceptable forms of calling include: A) saying “call”; B) pushing out chips equal to a call; C) silently pushing out an overchip; or D) silently pushing out multiple chips equal to a call under the multi-chip rule (Rule 46). Silently betting chip(s) relatively tiny to the bet (ex: blinds 2k-4k. A bets 50k, B then silently puts out one 1k chip) is non-standard, strongly discouraged, subject to penalty, and will be interpreted at TDs discretion, including being ruled a full call.

45:  Methods of Raising

In no-limit or pot-limit, a raise must be made by A) pushing out the full amount in one motion; B) verbally declaring the full amount prior to pushing out chips; or C) verbally declaring “raise” prior to pushing out the exact call amount then completing the raise in one additional motion. In option C, if other than the exact call amount but less than a minimum raise is first put out, it will be ruled a minimum raise. It is the responsibility of players to make their intentions clear.

46:  Raise Amounts

A: A raise must be at least equal to the largest prior bet or raise of the current betting round. If a player raises 50% or more of the largest prior bet but less than a minimum raise, he or she must make a full minimum raise. If less than 50% it is a call unless “raise” is first declared. Declaring an amount or pushing out the same amount of chips is treated the same (See Rule 37-C). Ex: NLHE, opening bet is 1000, verbally declaring “Fourteen hundred” or silently pushing out 1400 in chips are both calls unless raise is first declared.

B: Without other clarifying information, declaring raise and an amount is the total bet. Ex: A opens for 2000, B declares “Raise, eight thousand.” The total bet is 8000.

47: Re-Opening the Bet.

In no-limit and pot limit, an all-in wager (or multiple short all-ins) totaling less than a full bet or raise does not reopen betting for players who have already acted and are not facing at least a full bet or raise when the action returns to them.

48:  Oversized Chip Betting

If facing a bet or blind, pushing out a single oversized chip (including your last chip) is a call if raise isn’t first declared. To raise with an overchip you must declare raise before the chip hits the table surface. If raise is declared but no amount is stated, the raise is the maximum allowable for the chip. If not facing a bet, pushing out an oversized chip silently (no declaration) is a bet of the maximum for the chip.

49:  Multiple Chip Betting

If facing a bet, unless raise is declared first, a multiple-chip bet (including a bet of your last chips) is a call if every chip is needed to make the call; i.e. removal of just one of the smallest chips leaves less than the call amount. Ex: preflop, 200-400 blinds: A raises to 1100 total (a 700 raise), B puts out one 500 and one 1000 chip without declaring raise. This is a call because removing the 500 chip leaves less than the 1100 call amount. If the single removal of just one of the smallest chips leaves the call amount or more, the bet is governed by the 50% standard in Rule 46.

50:  Prior Bet Chips Not Pulled In

A: If a player bets silently when facing a raise and has chips in front not yet pulled in from a prior bet, several factors affect whether his or her action is ruled a call or re-raise including: whether the prior chips cover the bet, whether any of the prior chips are pulled back, whether all the new chips are needed to call, and any gestures the player makes. Because several possibilities exist, players should verbally declare their bets before putting out new chips on top of prior-bet chips not yet pulled in.

B: If facing action, clearly pulling back a prior bet chip binds a player to call or raise; he or she may not put the chip(s) back out and fold.

51:  Number of Allowable Raises

There is no cap on the number of raises in no-limit and pot-limit.

52:  Accepted Action

Poker is a game of alert, continuous observation. It is the caller’s responsibility to determine the correct amount of an opponent’s bet before calling, regardless of what is stated by others. If a caller requests a count but receives incorrect information from a dealer or player, then pushes out that amount, the caller has accepted the full correct action & is subject to the correct wager or all-in amount. As with all situations, Rule 1 may apply at TD’s discretion.

53:  Pot Size & Pot-Limit Bets

A: Players are entitled to a pot count in pot-limit only. Dealers will not count the pot in limit and no-limit.

B: Pre-flop a short all-in blind will not affect calculation of the maximum pot limit bet. Post-flop, bets are based on actual pot size.

C: Declaring “I bet the pot” is not a valid bet in no-limit but it does bind the player to making a valid bet (at least a minimum bet), and may be subject to penalty. If the player faces a bet he or she must make a valid raise.

54: Incorrect Bet Amounts

A: In pot limit, if a player bets the pot based on an inaccurate count, if the pot count is too high (an illegal bet), it will be corrected for all players anywhere on the current street; if too low, corrected until substantial action occurs after the bet.

B: In non-PL games, incorrect bets are adjusted to the proper amount anywhere on the current street. Ex: NLHE, A opens for 10k, B raises to 18k (a 2k under-raise), this error will be corrected anywhere on this betting round.

55: Invalid Bet Declarations

If a player faces no bet and: A) declares “call”, it is a check; B) declares “raise”, the player must make at least a min-bet. A player declaring “check” when facing a bet may call or fold, but cannot raise.

56:  String Bets and Raises

Dealers will call string bets and raises.

57:  Non-Standard & Unclear Betting

Players use unofficial betting terms and gestures at their own risk. These may be interpreted to mean other than what the player intended. Also, if a declared bet can reasonably have multiple meanings, it will be ruled the highest reasonable amount that is less than the pot size before the bet. Ex: NLHE 200-400 blinds, 4900 in the pot, player declares “I bet five.” With no other clarifying information, the bet is 500; if 5100 in the pot, the bet is 5000. See Rules 2, 3 & 45.

58:  Non-Standard Folds

Anytime before the end of the final betting round, folding in turn if there’s no bet to you (ex: facing a check or first to act post-flop) or folding out of turn are binding folds subject to penalty.

59:  Conditional & Premature Declarations

A: Conditional statements of future action are non-standard and strongly discouraged. At TDs discretion they may be binding and/or penalized. Example: “if – then” statements such as “If you bet, I will raise.”

B: If Player A declares “bet” or “raise” and B calls before A’s exact bet amount is known, the TD will rule the bet as best fits the situation including possibly obliging B to call any amount.

60:  Count of Opponent’s Chip Stack

Players are entitled to a reasonable estimation of opponents’ chip stacks (Rule 25). A player may request a more precise count only if facing an all-in bet and it is his or her turn to act. The all-in player is not required to count; on request the dealer or floor will count it. Accepted action applies (Rule 52). The visible and countable chip stack rule (Rule 25) greatly helps accuracy in counting.

61:  Over-Betting Expecting Change

Betting should not be used to obtain change. Pushing out more than the intended bet can confuse everyone at the table. All chips pushed out silently are at risk of being counted in the bet. Ex: the opening bet is 325 to player A who silently puts out 525 (one 500 and one 25), expecting 200 change. This is a raise to 650 under the multiple chip rule (Rule 49).

62: All-In with Chips Found Behind Later

If A bets all-in and a hidden chip is found behind after a player calls, the TD will determine if the chip behind is part of accepted action (Rule 52). If not part of the action, A is not paid off for the chip(s) if he or she wins. If A loses, he or she is not saved by the chip(s) and the TD may award the chip(s) to the winning caller.

Play: Other

63:  Chips Out of View and in Transit

Players may not hold or transport chips in a way that takes them out of view. A player who does so may forfeit the chips and may be disqualified. The forfeited chips will be taken out of play.

64: Lost and Found Chips

Lost and found chips will be taken out of play and returned to tournament inventory.

65:  Accidentally Killed / Fouled / Exposed Hands

A: Players must protect their hands at all times, including at showdown while waiting for hands to be read. If the dealer kills a hand by mistake or if in TDs judgement a hand is fouled and cannot be identified to 100% certainty, the player has no redress and is not entitled to a refund of called bets. If the player initiated a bet or raise and hasn’t been called, the uncalled amount will be returned.

B: If a hand is fouled but can be identified, it remains in play despite any cards exposed.

Etiquette & Penalties

67:  No Disclosure

Players must protect other players in the tournament at all times. Therefore players, whether in the hand or not, must not:

  1.  Discuss contents of live or mucked hands,
  2.  Advise or criticize play at any time,
  3.  Read a hand that hasn’t been tabled.

One-player-to-a-hand is in effect. Among other things, this rule prohibits showing a hand to or discussing strategy with another player, advisor, or spectator.

68:  Exposing Cards and Proper Folding

A player who exposes cards with action pending may incur a penalty, but will not have a dead hand. The penalty will begin at the end of the hand. When folding, cards should be pushed forward low to the table, not deliberately exposed or tossed high (“helicoptered”). See also Rule 67.

69:  Ethical Play

Poker is an individual game. Soft play will result in penalties, which may include chip forfeiture and/or disqualification. Chip dumping and other forms of collusion will result in disqualification.

70: Etiquette Violations

Etiquette violations are subject to enforcement actions in Rule 71. Examples include but are not limited to: persistent delay of the game, unnecessarily touching another player’s person, cards or chips, repeatedly acting out of turn, betting out of reach of the dealer, abusive conduct, and excessive chatter.

71:  Warnings, Penalties, & Disqualification

A: Enforcement options include verbal warnings, one or more “missed hand” or “missed round” penalties, and disqualification. For missed rounds, the offender will miss one hand for every player (including him or her) at the table when the penalty is given multiplied by the number of penalty rounds. Repeat infractions are subject to escalating penalties. Players away from the table or on penalty may be anted or blinded out of a tournament.

B: A penalty may be invoked if a player exposes a card with action pending, throws a card off the table, violates one-player-to-a-hand, or similar incidents occur. Penalties will be given for soft play, abuse, disruptive behavior, or cheating. Checking the exclusive nuts when last to act on the river is not an automatic soft play violation; TD’s discretion applies based on the situation.

C: Players on penalty must be away from the table. Cards are dealt to their seats, their blinds and antes are posted and their hands are killed after the initial deal.

D: Chips of a disqualified player shall be removed from play.