THE OFFICIAL RULEBOOK FOR NJ FREE POKER
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
SECTION 1 HOUSE POLICIES
SECTION 2 WFP TOURNAMENT
* Dead Hands
* Betting & Raising
SECTION 3 BUTTON AND BLIND
SECTION 4 NO-LIMIT
SECTION 5 GLOSSARY
“Robert’s Rules Of Poker”
SECTION 1 -
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
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
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
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
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
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
Verbally or physically threatening, and/or assaulting
Using profanity or obscene language
Creating a disturbance by arguing, shouting, or making
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
29. Chopping or Splitting pots will not be allowed in
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
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
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
(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)
(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
(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
(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
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
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
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
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
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
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
6. Rapping the table with your hand is considered a
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
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
(b) All side pots and the main pot will be split as
separate pots, not mixed together.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
FLASHED CARD: A card that is partially exposed.
FLOORPERSON: A casino employee who seats players and
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
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
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
HAND: (1) All a player’s personal cards. (2) The five
cards determining the poker ranking. (3) A single
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
“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.