House Rules For Poker

These rules are based on Robert's Rules of Poker for private games.



Project Goals

This fork of Bob's rules was created with several goals.

  1. The scope of the rules was narrowed to private, single-table cash games.
  2. While we did our best to preserve all of Bob's rules at the time of forking, we have no plans to remain compatible in the future. Our rules are designed for home games only and we do not recommend using them in a commercial setting such as casino. Because of that, we are not opposed to a clean break from the casino rules.
  3. We wanted to put the rules into a highly readable, standard compliant form best suited for Web publication. This was achieved through the use of strict XHTML.
  4. We felt that some of the original rules were unclear (like when banning illegal activity without defining the notion) and/or attempted to govern behaviors unrelated to the game (like when banning profanity). We felt that in home games, issues such as these should be treated on a personal level.
  5. The licensing of Bob's rules does not give home players necessary freedoms. The details are sketchy, but it seems that modified versions and/or commercialization would run afoul of the terms. We believe that the home rules should be managed by the worldwide community of players, and so we took pains to make a clean break and produce a fully free document.
    1. We are assuming that the rules themselves cannot be copyrighted.
    2. We changed the format (to XHTML), the heading structure, the list structure, the order of items, and the contents of items.
    3. We removed some rules and added new rules.
    4. We added entirely new sections, such as the table of contents.

Game Agreement

For the sake of convenience we prepared a game agreement sheet. Print it and fill it out for each individual game. The sheet allows one to record basic parameters of an individual game. It also provides a breef advice to beginning players, so as to avoid the sources of the most common discrepancies.


To be determined.

Conduct and Etiquette

  1. The following actions are prohibited, and will result in a ban.
    1. Colluding with another player or engaging in any other form of cheating.
    2. Throwing, tearing, bending, crumpling, or marking cards.
    3. Any other action deemed unacceptable by the community standards. This may include verbal or physical abuse, certain kinds of language, and excessive noise level.
  2. The following actions are improper, and will result in a warning.
    1. Deliberately acting out of turn.
    2. Deliberately splashing chips into the pot. If the players with live hands cannot agree on the bet amount, the splashed chips become a donation to the pot and the action is reverted to the splasher.
    3. Revealing the contents of a live hand in a multihanded pot before the betting is complete.
    4. Needlessly stalling the action of a game.
    5. Deliberately discarding hands away from the muck.
    6. Stacking chips in a manner that interferes with dealing or viewing cards.
    7. While not being involved in the pot, making statements or taking action that could influence the course of play.
    8. Hiding cards or chips from view or moving them anywhere not directly above the table.


Making Decisions

  1. By taking a seat in a game you agree to abide by these House Rules as wells as the rules for that specific game.
  2. 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.
  3. If an incorrect rule interpretation or decision is made in good faith, there shall be no liability incurred by the decision-maker.
  4. A ruling may be made regarding a pot if it has been requested before the next deal starts.
  5. If a pot has been incorrectly awarded and mingled with chips that were not in the pot, but the time limit for a ruling request given in the previous rule has been complied with, the betting may be reconstructed, and the proper amount transferred to the respective players.


  1. When a button game starts, active players will draw a card for the button position. The button will be awarded to the highest card by suit.
  2. The poker form and stakes that had been agreed upon when the game was started shall not be changed if any one player objects.
  3. Only the chips in front of a player at the start of a deal may play for that hand, except for chips not yet received that a player has purchased.
  4. Splitting pots by agreement is not allowed.
  5. Insurance propositions are not allowed.
  6. Any player is entitled to a clear view of an opponent's chips. Higher denomination chips should be easily visible.
  7. Looking through the discards or the deck is not allowed. As an exception, the community cards can be revealed after all betting is over, as long as none of the players object.

Poker Rules


  1. When you enter a game, you must make a full buy-in for that particular game. A full buy-in at limit poker is at least ten times the maximum bet for the game being played, unless designated otherwise. A full buy-in at pot-limit or no-limit poker is forty times the minimum bring-in (usually, the size of the big blind), unless designated otherwise.
  2. Short buy-ins are allowed as long as none of the players object.
  3. Adding to your stack is not considered a buy-in, and may be done in any quantity between hands.
  4. If the maximum buy-in is specified, then adding to your stack cannot exceed the value of the maximum buy-in.

Shuffle And Cut

  1. If possible, two decks should be used, so that one can be in play while the other one is being shuffled.
  2. The pack must be shuffled and cut before the cards are dealt. Assuming that two decks are involved, the dealer on the previous hand takes in the discards, squares up the deck, shuffles it, and passes it to the second player to the left. The new dealer is encouraged to shuffle the cards again and have them cut.
  3. The deck must be riffled a minimum of four times. The cut must leave a minimum of four cards in each portion.
  4. The bottom of the deck should be protected so nobody can see the bottom card.
  5. Any complaint about the shuffle, cut, or other preparation connected with dealing must be made before the player has looked at his hand or betting action has started.


  1. The following circumstances cause a misdeal, provided attention is called to the error before two players have acted on their hands.
    1. The first or second card of the hand has been dealt faceup or exposed through dealer error.
    2. Two or more cards have been exposed by the dealer.
    3. Two or more boxed cards (improperly faced cards) are found.
    4. Two or more extra cards have been dealt in the starting hands of a game.
    5. An incorrect number of cards has been dealt to a player.
    6. Any card has been dealt out of the proper sequence (except an exposed card may be replaced by the burncard).
    7. The button was out of position.
    8. The first card was dealt to the wrong position.
    9. Cards have been dealt to an empty seat or a player not entitled to a hand.
    10. 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. In the case when no player has seen their cards, some irregularities may be fixed by moving cards around the table. This should be done in preference to misdeal, as long as none of the players object.
  3. If two players have acted in turn, the deal must be played to conclusion. Action is considered to occur in stud games when two players after the forced bet have acted on their hands. In button games, action is considered to occur when two players after the blinds have acted on their hands. Once action occurs, a misdeal can no longer be declared. The hand will be played to conclusion and no money will be returned to any player whose hand is fouled.

Dead Hands

  1. Your hand is declared dead if
    1. You fold or announce that you are folding when facing a bet or a raise.
    2. You throw your hand away in a forward motion causing another player to act behind you (even if not facing a bet).
    3. In stud, when facing a bet, you pick your upcards off the table, turn your upcards facedown, or mix your upcards and downcards together.
    4. The hand does not contain the proper number of cards for that poker form.
    5. You act on a hand with a joker as a holecard in a game not using a joker. (A player who acts on a hand without looking at a card assumes the liability of finding an improper card.)
    6. 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 if doing so is in the best interest of the game. An extra effort should be made to rule a hand retrievable if it was folded as a result of false information given to the player.
  3. Cards thrown into another player's hand are dead, whether they are faceup or facedown.


  1. In button games, 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.
  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 placed in the bottom of the stub and be replaced by the next card below it in the deck, except when the next card has already been dealt facedown 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.
  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. Procedure for an exposed card varies with the poker form, and is given in the section for each game. 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. The situation will be governed by the rules for the particular game being played.
  13. If you drop any cards out of your hand onto the floor, you must still play them.
  14. 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.

Betting And Raising

  1. Check-raise is permitted in all games.
  2. In no-limit and pot-limit games, unlimited raising is allowed.
  3. In limit poker, for a pot involving three or more players who are not all-in, there is a maximum of a bet and three raises allowed.
  4. In limit play, an all-in wager of less than half a bet does not reopen the betting for any player who has already acted and is in the pot for all previous bets. A player facing less than half a bet may fold, call, or complete the wager. An all-in wager of a half a bet or more is treated as a full bet, and a player may fold, call, or make a full raise.
  5. Any wager must be at least the size of the previous bet or raise in that round, unless a player is going all-in.
  6. 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.
  7. Rapping the table with your hand is a check (pass).
  8. 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 declared binding by any player with a live hand who is yet to act.
  9. 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.
  10. A player who bets or calls by releasing chips into the pot is bound by that action. However, if you are unaware that the pot has been raised, you may withdraw that money and reconsider your action, provided that no one else has acted after you.
  11. In limit poker, if you make a forward motion into the pot area with chips and thus cause another player to act, you may be forced to complete your action.
  12. String 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. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. All wagers 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. A player must show all cards in the hand face-up on the table to win any part of the pot.
  2. 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 may result in forfeiture of the pot.
  3. Anyone who sees an incorrect amount of chips put into the pot, or an error about to be made in awarding a pot, has an obligation to point out the error.
  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 has been called, even if the opponent's hand or the winning hand has been mucked. Some dealers consider this a privilege and may refuse to show the hand to a player who is abusing it.
  6. 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.
  7. If you show cards to another player during or after a deal, any player at the table has the right to see those exposed cards. Cards shown during a deal to a player not in the pot should only be shown to all players when the deal is finished.
  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 is a side pot, players involved in the side pot should show their hands before anyone who is all-in for only the main pot.


  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.
  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:
    1. In a button game, the first hand clockwise from the button gets the odd chip.
    2. In a stud game, the odd chip will be given to the highest card by suit in all high games, and to the lowest card by suit in all low games. (When making this determination, all cards are used, not just the five cards that constitute the player's hand.)
    3. In high-low split games, the high hand receives the odd chip in a split between the high and the low hands. The odd chip between tied high hands is awarded as in a high game of that poker form, and the odd chip between tied low hands is awarded as in a low game of that poker form.
    4. All side pots and the main pot will be split as separate pots, not mixed together.
  6. Alternatively, players may agree on a variant of poker where the odd chips are posted as an ante for the next hand. If the game ends with a split pot, then the previous rule is used.

Button And Blinds

  1. Each round every player must get an opportunity for the button, and meet the total amount of the blind obligations. The button always moves forward to the next player and the blinds adjust accordingly. There may be more than one big blind.
  2. A player who posts a blind has the option of raising the pot at the first turn to act. (This does not apply when a "dead blind" for the collection is used in a game and has been posted).
  3. In heads-up play with two blinds, the small blind is on the button.
  4. A new player entering the game has the following options:
    1. Wait for the big blind.
    2. Post an amount equal to the big blind and immediately be dealt a hand.
  5. A new player who elects to let the button go by once without posting is not treated as a player in the game who has missed a blind, and needs to post only the big blind when entering the game.
  6. A person playing over is considered a new player, and must post the amount of the big blind or wait for the big blind.
  7. A new player cannot be dealt in between the big blind and the button. Blinds may not be made up between the big blind and the button. You must wait until the button passes.
  8. 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.
  9. A player who misses any or all blinds can resume play by either posting all the blinds missed or waiting for the big blind. If you choose to post the total amount of the blinds, an amount up to the size of the minimum opening bet is live. The remainder is taken by the dealer to the center of the pot and is not part of your bet. When it is your next turn to act, you have the option to raise.
  10. 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.
  11. A player who goes all-in and loses is obligated to make up the blinds if they are missed before a rebuy is made. (The person is not treated as a new player when reentering.)
  12. These rules about blinds apply to a newly started game:
    1. Any player who drew for the button is considered active in the game and is required to make up any missed blinds.
    2. A new player will not be required to post a blind until the button has made one complete revolution around the table, provided a blind has not yet passed that seat.
    3. A player may change seats without penalty, provided a blind has not yet passed the new seat.
  13. In all multiple-blind games, a player who changes seats will be dealt in on the first available hand in the same relative position. Example: If you move two active positions away from the big blind, you must wait two hands before being dealt in again. If you move closer to the big blind, you can be dealt in without any penalty. If you do not wish to wait and have not yet missed a blind, then you can post an amount equal to the big blind and receive a hand.
  14. A player who "deals off" (by playing the button and then immediately getting up to change seats) can allow the blinds to pass the new seat one time and reenter the game behind the button without having to post a blind.
  15. A live "straddle bet" is not allowed at limit poker except in specified games.

Specific Games And Variants


  1. The number of raises in any betting round is not limited.
  2. All bets must be at least equal to the minimum bring-in, unless the player is going all-in. (A straddle bet sets a new minimum bring-in, and is not treated as a raise.)
  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 checked or called may not subsequently raise an all-in bet that is less than the full size of the last bet or raise. (The half-the-size rule for reopening the betting is for limit poker only.) 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.)
  4. A wager is not binding until the chips are actually released into the pot, unless the player has made a verbal statement of action.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 bettor should not show down a hand until the amount put into the pot for a call seems reasonably correct, or it is obvious that the caller understands the amount wagered. The decision-maker is allowed considerable discretion in ruling on this type of situation. A possible rule-of-thumb is to disallow any claim of not understanding the amount wagered if the caller has put eighty percent or more of that amount into the pot. Example: On the end, a player puts a $500 chip into the pot and says softly, "Four hundred". The opponent puts a $100 chip into the pot and says, "Call". The bettor immediately shows the hand. The dealer says, "He bet four hundred". The caller says, "Oh, I thought he bet a hundred". In this case, the recommended ruling normally is that the bettor had an obligation to not show the hand when the amount put into the pot was obviously short, and the "call" can be retracted. Note that the character of each player can be a factor. (Unfortunately, situations can arise at big-bet poker that are not so clear-cut as this.)
  8. A player who says "raise" is allowed to continue putting chips into the pot with more than one move; the wager is assumed complete when the player's hands come to rest outside the pot area. (This rule is used because no-limit play may require a large number of chips be put into the pot.)
  9. A bet of a single chip or bill without comment is considered to be the full amount of the chip or bill allowed. However, a player acting on a previous bet with a larger denomination chip or bill is calling the previous bet unless this player makes a verbal declaration to raise the pot. (This includes acting on the forced bet of the big blind.)
  10. 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.
  11. In non-tournament games, an optional live straddle is allowed. To straddle, a player must be on the immediate left of the big blind, and must post an amount twice the size of the big blind. The player to the left of a live straddle may re-straddle by placing a blind bet raising the original straddle. Each re-straddle is required to be double the previous straddle (so as to limit the number of feasible re-straddles). The player who posts the last straddle has last action for the first round of betting and is allowed to raise.
  12. In all no-limit and pot-limit games, the house has the right to place a maximum time limit for taking action on your hand. The clock may be put on someone by the dealer, if a player requests it. If the clock is put on you when you are facing a bet, you will have one additional minute to act on your hand. You will have a ten-second warning, after which your hand is dead if you have not acted.
  13. "Insurance" or any other "proposition wagers" are not allowed. Players are asked to refrain from instigating proposition wagers in any form. The players are allowed to agree to deal twice (or three times) when someone is all-in. "Dealing twice" means the pot is divided in two, with each portion being dealt for separately.


  1. If the first 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.
  2. If the flop contains too many cards, it must be redealt. (This applies even if it were possible to know which card was the extra one.)
  3. If the flop needs to be redealt because the cards were prematurely flopped before the betting was complete, or the flop contained too many cards, the boardcards are mixed with the remainder of the deck. The burncard remains on the table. After shuffling, the dealer cuts the deck, burns a card, and deals a new flop.
  4. If the dealer turns the fourth card on the board before the betting round is complete, the card is taken out of play for that round, even if subsequent players elect to fold. The betting is then completed. The dealer burns and turns 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, burns a card, and turns the final card. If the fifth card is turned up prematurely, the deck is reshuffled and dealt in the same manner.
  5. 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.
  6. You must declare that you are playing the board before you throw your cards away; otherwise you relinquish all claim to the pot.


All the rules of hold'em apply to Omaha except the rule on playing the board, which is not possible in Omaha (because you must use two cards from your hand and three cards from the board).

Omaha High-Low

  1. All the rules of Omaha apply to Omaha high-low split.
  2. A qualifier of 8-or-better for low applies to all high-low split games, unless a specific posting to the contrary is displayed. If there is no qualifying hand for low, the best high hand wins the whole pot.

Seven-Card Stud

  1. The first round of betting starts with a forced bet by the lowest upcard by suit. On subsequent betting rounds, the high hand on board initiates the action (a tie is broken by position, with the player who received cards first acting first).
  2. The player with the forced bet has the option of opening for a full bet.
  3. Increasing the amount wagered by the opening forced bet up to a full bet does not count as a raise, but merely as a completion of the bet.
  4. In all fixed-limit games, when an open pair is showing on fourth street (second upcard), any player has the option of betting either the lower or the upper limit.
  5. If your first or second holecard is accidentally turned up by the dealer, then your third card will be dealt down. If both holecards are dealt up, you have a dead hand and receive your ante back. If the first card dealt faceup would have been the lowcard, action starts with the first hand to that player's left. That player may fold, open for the forced bet, or open for a full bet. (In tournament play, if a downcard is dealt faceup, a misdeal is called.)
  6. If a hand is folded when there is no wager, that seat will continue to receive cards until the hand is killed as a result of a bet.
  7. If you are all in for the ante and have the lowcard, the player to your left acts first. That player may fold, open for the forced bet, or open for a full bet.
  8. If the wrong person is designated as low and that person bets, the action will be corrected to the true lowcard if the next player has not yet acted. The incorrect lowcard takes back the wager and the true lowcard must bet. If the next hand has acted after the incorrect lowcard wager, the wager stands, action continues from there, and the true lowcard has no obligations.
  9. If you pick up your upcards without calling when facing a wager, this is a fold and your hand is dead. This act has no significance at the showdown because betting is over; the hand is live until discarded.
  10. A card dealt off the table must play and it is treated as an exposed card.
  11. Dealers should not announce possible straights or flushes.
  12. If the dealer burns two cards for one round or fails to burn a card, the cards will be corrected, if at all possible, to their proper positions. If this should happen on a final downcard, and either a card intermingles with a player's other holecards or a player looks at the card, the player must accept that card.
  13. If the dealer burns and deals one or more cards before a round of betting has been completed, the card(s) must be eliminated from play. After the betting for that round is completed, an additional card for each remaining player still active in the hand is also eliminated from play (to later deal the same cards to the players who would have received them without the error). After that round of betting has concluded, the dealer burns a card and play resumes. The removed cards are held off to the side in the event the dealer runs out of cards. If the prematurely dealt card is the final downcard and has been looked at or intermingled with the player's other holecards, the player must keep the card, and on sixth street betting may not bet or raise (because the player now has all seven cards).
  14. If there are not enough cards left in the deck for all players, all the cards are dealt except the last card, which is mixed with the burncards (and any cards removed from the deck, as in the previous rule). The dealer then scrambles and cuts these cards, burns again, and delivers the remaining downcards, using the last card if necessary. If there are not as many cards as players remaining without a card, the dealer does not burn, so that each player can receive a fresh card. If the dealer determines that there will not be enough fresh cards for all of the remaining players, then the dealer announces to the table that a common card will be used. The dealer will burn a card and turn one card faceup in the center of the table as a common card that plays in everyone's hand. The player who is now high using the common card initiates the action for the last round.
  15. An all-in player should receive holecards dealt facedown, but if the final holecard to such a player is dealt faceup, the card must be kept, and the other players receive their normal card.
  16. If the dealer turns the last card faceup to any player, the hand now high on the board using all the upcards will start the action. The following rules apply to the dealing of cards:
    1. If there are more than two players, all remaining players receive their last card facedown. A player whose last card is faceup has the option of declaring all-in (before betting action starts).
    2. If there are only two players remaining and the first player's final downcard is dealt faceup, the second player's final downcard will also be dealt faceup, and the betting proceeds as normal. In the event the first player's final card is dealt facedown and the opponent's final card is dealt faceup, the player with the faceup final card has the option of declaring all-in (before betting action starts).
  17. A player who calls a bet even though beaten by an opponent's upcards is not entitled to a refund. (The player is receiving information about an opponent's hand that is not available for free.)

Seven-Card Stud High-Low

The lowest hand wins the pot. The format is similar to seven-card stud high, except the high card (aces are low) is required to make the forced bet on the first round, and the low hand acts first on all subsequent rounds. Straights and flushes have no ranking, so the best possible hand is 5-4-3-2-A (a wheel). An open pair does not affect the betting limit.

  1. All seven-card stud rules apply in razz except as otherwise noted.
  2. The lowest hand wins the pot. Aces are low, and straights and flushes have no effect on the low value of a hand. The best possible hand is 5-4-3-2-A.
  3. The highest card by suit starts the action with a forced bet. The low hand acts first on all subsequent rounds. If the low hand is tied, the first player clockwise from the dealer starts the action.
  4. Fixed-limit games use the lower limit on third and fourth streets and the upper limit on subsequent streets. An open pair does not affect the limit.


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: (1) The act of making a wager before anyone else on a betting round. (2)The chips used by a player to bet, call, or raise.

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.

cash game: also sometimes referred to as a ring game or a live action game, is a poker game played with "real" chips and money at stake, usually with no predetermined end time, with players able to enter and leave as they see fit. A cash game is just a variant of poker rules, and it does not imply that chips have any monetary value.

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.

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, a betting structure where the bet size on each 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 amount 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 plays. 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 the entire pot in a high-low split game by a wager or showdown.

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.

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

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

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

splitting openers: In high draw jacks-or-better poker, dividing openers in hopes of making a different type of hand (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 board-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.