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Poker room general rules

The most popular poker games offered in casinos:

  • Texas hold ’em
  • Seven-card stud
  • Omaha hold ’em,

in ring game (cash game or live-action game) and tournament formats.

For the poker table seating, most casinos apply the rule first-come, first-served. Some poker rooms allow the use of the phone to ask to be placed on a list. If there is a break at a poker table, the players can inform the manager and their places will be held until they will be back.

The usual currency for the games are the chips, that can be purchased from the casino dealer, from cashiers, or from chip runners. Some will allow players to buy chips from each other at the table, and some allow to play with cash.

Usually there is a fee charge for conducting the game. The rake is the scaled commission fees taken by a casino operating a poker game. This fee structure is common in low-stakes cash games. For ring games, it is generally 5-10% of each poker hand, up to a predetermined maximum amount. This fee is sometimes referred to as the “drop” since the dealer will drop the rake into a container at the table.

  • In mid or high stakes games, there is sometimes used an hourly charge for renting a seat. It might be sometimes combined with a rake.
  • The usual fee for tournaments is 10% of the buy-in.

Some common rules in U.S. public cardrooms wrote by Bob Ciaffone in his book Robert’s Rules of Poker:

  • Players must protect their hands, either by holding their cards or placing a chip or other object on top of their cards. An unprotected hand may be mucked by the dealer in turn.
  • Players must act in turn. Players should not telegraph or otherwise indicate intentions to act prior to their turn to act.
  • In the event of an action out-of-turn, the action may be binding if there is no bet, call or raise between the out-of-turn action and the player’s proper turn.
  • Verbal declarations are binding and take precedence over non-verbal actions.
  • Betting actions without a verbal declaration must be made in a single motion or gesture (“no string bet” rule).
  • Knocking or tapping the table is a check. Tossing or pushing cards away is a fold.
  • In the absence of a verbal declaration of “Raise,” if a player puts in chips equal to 50 percent or more of the minimum raise, he will be required to make a full minimum raise. Otherwise, the action is deemed a call and the excess chips should be returned to the player.
  • In limit games, an oversized chip will be constituted to be a call if the player does not announce a raise. In no-limit, an oversized chip before the flop is a call; after the flop, an oversized chip by the initial bettor put in the pot will constitute the size of the bet. In pot-limit and no-limit, if a player states raise and throws in an oversized chip, the raise will be the maximum amount allowable up to the size of that chip.
  • Bets should be placed in front of the player’s cards. Chips should not be thrown (splashed) into the pot.
  • Wagers must be at least the size of the previous bet or raise in that round, unless a player is going all-in.
  • “Show one, show all” – Hole cards, including folded hands, should not be revealed to other players until showdown. If a player reveals his hole cards to another player active in the current hand, all players have the right to also see the hole cards. Also, if an uncalled winning hand is shown to only one player, then any other player at the table has a right to see the winning hand. Note that, contrary to a common misinterpretation, “show one, show all” does not refer to the number of cards in the hole – an uncalled winning hand may expose a single hole card without revealing the other hole card.
  • Players may not verbally disclose the contents of their hand.
  • Players may not advise other players how to play a hand (“One player to a hand” rule).
  • Cards may not be removed or held below the table or otherwise concealed from view.
  • Players in hands cannot reveal their hole cards to convince other players to fold; if so, the player’s cards are considered a dead hand.
  • Players must keep their highest denomination chips visible at all times.
  • Except for small denominations used to tip for food or drinks, players may not remove a portion of their chips from the table (called going south or ratholing) unless they cash out and leave the game. Players must not sell or share chips with another player at the table.
  • Cards speak for themselves and prevail if a player misstates the value of his hand at the showdown.
  • Speaking in foreign languages at the table is prohibited.
  • Players should not discuss or otherwise influence the hand-in-progress after folding.
  • Cell-phone use at the table is prohibited.
  • Profanity is prohibited.

In U.S., some local laws may limit the type or nature of poker games offered in public cardrooms. For example,

  • North Dakota has a limitation of $25 per individual hand, game or event.
  • In Montana the maximum size of a won pot is $300.
  • In San Jose, California, no single bet may exceed $200.
    San Jose cardrooms have “spread-limit” games to finesse this rule.
  • Florida requires that in limit games, all bets be no more than $5, while in no-limit games the maximum buyin is $100.
    In Florida, poker tournaments are exempted from the betting structure rules and may use any betting structure the cardroom wishes. Tournament formats are used to circumvent gambling rules in other states as well. Unlike some other forms of gambling, tribal gaming may be subject to state laws governing poker.

For a more details on public cardrooms, see http://www.pokergame2play.com.

Online poker rooms:

Typically, online poker rooms generate the bulk of their revenue via four methods:

  • The rake. Rake is collected from most real money ring game pots. The rake is normally calculated as a percentage of the pot based on a sliding scale and capped at some maximum fee. Each online poker room determines its own rake structure.
  • Pre-scheduled multi-table and impromptu sit-and-go tournaments are not raked, but rather an entry fee around ten percent of the tournament entry fee is added to the cost of the tournament.
  • Some online poker sites also offer games like black jack or side bets on poker hands where the player plays against “the house” for real money. The odds are in the house’s favor in these games, thus producing a profit for the house.
  • Online poker sites invest the money that players deposit. Since the sites do not have to pay interest on players’ bankrolls, this method can be a significant source of revenue.

Many online poker sites offer incentives to players in the form of bonuses. Usually the bonuses are given after a certain number of raked hands are played.

In addition, several online cardrooms employ VIP Managers to develop VIP programs to reward regular players and additional bonuses exist for players who wish to top-up their accounts. These are known as reload bonuses.

For more details on online poker rooms, see http://www.onlinepoker2play.com.

(Compiled from Wikipedia articles)

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