Poker is a fascinating and easy-to-learn game. There are certain elements of luck in poker, but the game requires incredibly great skill as well. Each player is the master of his or her own fate. With Poker Rx, we will help you understand the basic concepts of the game that will prepare you for action with the high rollers.
- 100% No Gambling – No gambling of any kind is allowed at any Poker Rx event. You are competing with free chips that have no value or cost.
- 100% no risk to you. You will not risk or lose money.
- All skill levels are welcome – from new players learning the game, to local amateurs, up to full-time grinders honing their skills for deep runs.
“I don’t play any two suited cards. I play any two non-suited cards. That way I’m drawing at two different flushes.”Amarillo Slim
“A man with money is no match against a man on a mission.”Doyle Brunson
“The beautiful thing about poker is that everybody thinks they can play.“Chris Moneymaker
The best interest of the game and fairness are top priorities in decision-making. Unusual circumstances occasionally dictate that common-sense decisions in the interest of fairness take priority over technical rules. Floor decisions are final.
Players should verify table assignments, protect their hands, make their intentions clear, follow the action, act in turn, defend their right to act, keep cards and chips visible, remain at the table with a live hand, table all cards properly when competing at showdown, speak up if they see a mistake, call for a clock when warranted, transfer tables promptly, follow one player to a hand, know and comply with the rules, practice proper etiquette, and generally contribute to an orderly event.
Poker Rx will assign random seating. Players will be randomly assigned seats as they sign into each tournament. We understand players want to sit next to their friends, but we also want to ensure the game runs without possibilities of collusion or soft playing. There is saying “there are no friends in poker” – while we understand the point of that aphorism, we are too literal-minded to agree with it. Of course you can have friends at the poker table — both ones that you came with and the ones that you make while playing. In fact, friends make poker more fun. The only kind of deal you should make with friends in poker is : You will all do everything in your ability to win all of each others’ chips, just as you will do against all of the other players.
Official Terminology and Gestures
Official betting terms are simple, unmistakable, time-honored declarations like bet, raise, call, fold, check and all-in. Also, players must use gestures with caution when facing action; tapping the table is a check. It is the responsibility of players to make their intentions clear: using non-standard terms or gestures is at player’s risk and may result in a ruling other than what the player intended.
Players may not talk on a phone at the table. Ring tones, music, images, video etc. should be inaudible and non-disturbing to others. Betting apps and charts may not be used by players with live hands. Other devices, tools, photography, videography, and communication must not create a nuisance, delay the game or create competitive advantage and are subject to tournament regulations.
Late Registration & Re-Entries
Players registering late will be given starting stacks that are docked one small blind + one big blind per level missed, along with varying bonus chips. They will randomly draw a seat and table by the same process and from the same seat pool then in place for new players and are dealt in except between the small blind and button. There are no re-entries once a player has been eliminated from the tournament.
Accommodations for players with special needs will be made when possible.
To balance the tables as players are eliminated from the tournament, players may need to be moved. The player to be big blind next moves to the worst position, including single big blind if available. Worst position is never the small blind.
Pots / Showdown
Cards speak to determine the winner. Verbal declarations of hand value are not binding at showdown but deliberately miscalling a hand may be penalized. Dealers should read and announce hand values at showdown. Any player at the table, in the hand or not, should speak up if he or she thinks a mistake is made in reading hands or calculating and awarding the pot.
Tabling Cards & Declaration of Winning Hand
A: Proper tabling is both: 1) turning all cards face up on the table and 2) allowing the dealer and players to read the hand clearly.
B: At showdown players must protect their hands while waiting for cards to be read. Players who don’t fully table all cards, then muck thinking they’ve won, do so at their own risk. If a hand is not 100% retrievable and identifiable and the TD rules it was not clearly read, the player has no claim to the pot. The TDs decision on whether a hand was sufficiently tabled is final.
Showdown and Discarding Irregularities
A: If a player tables one card that would make a winning hand, the dealer should advise the player to table all cards. It takes two cards to win the hand. If the player refuses to show second card, floor should be called.
B: If a player bets then discards thinking he or she has won (forgetting another player is still in the hand), the dealer should hold the cards and call the floor. If cards are mucked and not retrievable and identifiable to 100% certainty, the player is out and not entitled to a refund of called bets. If cards are mucked and the player initiated a bet or raise not yet called, the uncalled amount will be returned.
Face Up for All-Ins
All hands will be tabled without delay once a player is all-in and all betting action by all other players in the hand is complete. No player who is either all-in or has called all betting action may muck his or her hand without tabling. All hands in both the main and side pot(s) must be tabled and are live.
Non All-In Showdowns & Showdown Order
A: In a non all-in showdown (after fifth street and no action remains), if cards are not spontaneously tabled or discarded, the TD may enforce an order of show. The last aggressive player on the final betting round (final street) must table first. If there was no final round bet, the player who would act first in a final betting round must table first.
B: A non all-in showdown is uncontested if all but one player mucks face down without tabling. The last player with live cards wins and is not required to table the cards.
Awarding Odd Chips
First, odd chips will be broken into the smallest denomination in play. The odd chip goes to the first seat left of the button.
Disputed Hands and Pots
The reading of a tabled hand may be disputed until the next hand begins. Accounting errors in calculating and awarding the pot may be disputed until substantial action occurs on the next hand. If a hand finishes during a break, the right to any dispute ends 1 minute after the pot is awarded.
Two Players Knocked Out at Same Time
If two players are knocked out at the same time, the player with more chips will receive the better finishing position. In the instance that the players had the exact same amount of chips, the player with the best finishing hand will receive better position.
Blind Levels Up
A new level starts on announcement after the clock reaches zero. The new level applies to the next hand. Hands begin on the first riffle of the cards. If a hand starts at the prior level by mistake, the hand will continue at the prior level and advance after hand is over.
Scheduled Color Ups
At scheduled color-ups, chips no longer in play will be removed and colored up to the next highest denomination. Players must have their chips fully visible and are encouraged to witness the color up. If after the color up, a player still has chips of a removed denomination, they will be exchanged for current denominations only at equal value. Chips of removed denominations that do not fully total at least the smallest denomination still in play will be removed without compensation.
Cards & Chips Kept Visible
A: Players and the floor are entitled to view each players’ chipstacks. Higher denomination chips must be visible and identifiable at all times.
B: TDs control the number and denominations of chips in play and may color up one or more players at their discretion at any time. Discretionary color ups are to be announced.
C: Players must keep live hands in plain view at all times.
Rabbit hunting (revealing cards that would have come if the hand had not ended) is not allowed.
Calling for a Clock
Players should act in a timely manner to maintain a reasonable pace of the game. If in TD’s judgement reasonable time has passed, he or she may call the clock or approve a clock request by any player in the event. Players must be at their seats to call for a clock. A player on the clock has up to 25 seconds plus a 5 second countdown to act. If the player faces a bet and time expires, the hand is dead; if not facing a bet, the hand is checked. TDs may adjust the time allowed and take other steps to fit the game and stop persistent delays.
Player Present / Eligible for Hand
At Your Seat During Live Hands
To have a live hand, players must be at their seats when the last card is dealt to all players on the initial deal. Players not then at their seats may not look at their cards which are killed immediately. Their posted blinds forfeit to the pot. “At your seat” means in reach of your chair.
At the Table with Action Pending
Players with live hands (including players all-in or otherwise finished betting) must remain at the table for all betting rounds and showdown. Leaving the table is incompatible with protecting your hand and following the action and is subject to penalty.
Button / Blinds
If a player designated to be in button position has been eliminated from play, the table will issue a dead dealer/button in eliminated player’s place.
Button in Heads-up
Heads-up, the small blind is the button, is dealt the last card, and acts first pre-flop and last on all other betting rounds. Starting heads-up play, the button may need to be adjusted to ensure no player has the big blind twice in a row.
A: Misdeals include but are not necessarily limited to: 1) 2 or more cards are face up in the deck on the initial deal; 2) first card dealt to the wrong seat; 3) cards dealt to a seat not entitled to a hand; 4) a seat entitled to a hand is dealt out; 5) In flop games, if 1 of the first 2 cards dealt (SB & BB) off the deck are exposed by dealer error.
B: In a misdeal, the re-deal is an exact re-play: the button does not move, no new players are seated, and limits stay the same.
C: Once substantial action occurs a misdeal cannot be declared; the hand must proceed.
Substantial Action (SA)
Substantial Action (SA) is either A) any 2 actions in turn, at least one of which puts chips in the pot (i.e. any 2 actions except 2 checks or 2 folds) or B) any combination of 3 actions in turn (check, bet, raise, call, fold). Posted blinds do not count towards SA.
Play: Bets & Raises
Methods of Betting: Verbal and Chips
Bets are by verbal declaration and/or pushing out chips. If a player does both, whichever is first defines the bet. If simultaneous, a clear and reasonable verbal declaration takes precedence, otherwise the chips play. In unclear situations or where verbal and chips are contradictory, the TD will determine the bet based on the circumstances.
Methods of Calling
Standard and acceptable forms of calling include: A) saying “call”; B) pushing out chips equal to a call; C) silently pushing out an overchip; or D) silently pushing out multiple chips equal to a call.
Methods of Raising
A raise must be made by A) pushing out the full amount in one motion; B) verbally declaring the full amount prior to pushing out chips. It is the responsibility of players to make their intentions clear.
A raise must be at least equal to the largest prior full bet or raise of the current betting round.
Oversized Chip Betting
If facing a bet or blind, pushing out a single oversized chip (including your last chip) is a call if raise isn’t first declared. To raise with an overchip you must declare raise before the chip hits the table surface. If raise is declared but no amount is stated, the raise is the maximum allowable for the chip. If not facing a bet, pushing out an oversized chip silently (no declaration) is a bet of the maximum for the chip.
Number of Allowable Raises
There is no cap on the number of raises.
Poker is a game of alert, continuous observation. It is the caller’s responsibility to determine the correct amount of an opponent’s bet before calling, regardless of what is stated by others. If a caller requests a count but receives incorrect information from a dealer or player, then pushes out that amount or declares call, the caller has accepted the full correct action & is subject to the correct wager or all-in amount.
Acting in Turn
A: Players must act in turn verbally and/or by pushing out chips. Action in turn is binding and commits chips to the pot that stay in the pot.
B: Players must wait for clear bet amounts before acting. (Ex: Player A says “raise” (but no amount), and Player B quickly folds. B should wait to act until A’s raise amount is clear before folding.)
Action Out of Turn (OOT)
Any action out of turn (check, call, or raise) will be backed up to the correct player in order. The OOT action is subject to penalty and is binding if action to the OOT player does not change. A check, call or fold by the correct player does not change action. If action changes, the OOT action is not binding; any bet or raise is returned to the OOT player who has all options: call, raise, or fold. An OOT fold is binding.
A “string bet” is an illegal type of bet in poker. It refers to a bet or raise in which the player does not put all his or her desired amount of chips into the pot in one forward motion – and does so, instead, in multiple motions.
Chips Out of View and in Transit
Players may not hold or transport chips in a way that takes them out of view (Ex. In their pockets). A player who does so may be subject to forfeit those chips. The forfeited chips will be taken out of play.
Lost and Found Chips
Lost and found chips for which ownership cannot be determined will be taken out of play and returned to tournament inventory.
Accidentally Killed Hands
Players must protect their hands at all times, including at showdown while waiting for hands to be read. If the dealer kills a hand by mistake or if in TD’s judgement a hand is fouled and cannot be identified to 100% certainty, the player has no redress and is not entitled to a refund of called bets. If the player initiated a bet or raise and hasn’t been called, the uncalled amount will be returned.
Etiquette & Penalties
No Disclosure – One Player to a Hand
Players must protect other players in the tournament at all times. Therefore players, whether in the hand or not, must not:
- Discuss contents of live or mucked hands,
- Advise or criticize play at any time,
- Read a hand that hasn’t been tabled.
One-player-to-a-hand is in effect. Among other things, this rule prohibits showing a hand to or discussing strategy with another player, advisor, or spectator.
Exposing Cards and Proper Folding
Exposing cards with action pending, including the current player when last to act, may result in a penalty but not a dead hand. Any penalty begins at the end of the hand. When folding, cards should be pushed forward low to the table, not deliberately exposed or tossed high (“helicoptered”).
Poker is an individual game. Soft play will result in penalties, which may include chip forfeiture and/or disqualification. Chip dumping and other forms of collusion will result in disqualification.
If a Poker Rx venue allows smoking, please be courteous of other players and do it at a considerable distance from the table. We will offer two scheduled breaks to allow players the opportunity to step away and smoke if so desired. If a venue has a designated area for smoking, be respectful and only smoke in those areas.
Etiquette violations are subject to enforcement actions. Examples include but are not limited to: persistent delay of the game, unnecessarily touching another player’s person, cards or chips, repeatedly acting out of turn, maintaining poor card or chip visibility, abusive conduct, offensive hygiene, and disruptive chatter.
Warnings, Penalties, & Disqualification
A: Enforcement options include verbal warnings, one or more “missed hand” or “missed round” penalties, and disqualification. For missed rounds, the offender will miss one hand for every player (including him or her) at the table. Repeat infractions are subject to escalating penalties.
B: A penalty may be invoked for etiquette violations, card exposure with action pending, throwing cards, violating one-player-to-a-hand, or similar incidents. Penalties will be given for abuse, disruptive behavior, or cheating. TD’s discretion applies based on the situation.
C: Players on penalty must be away from the table. Cards are dealt to their seats, their blinds posted, and their hands are killed after the initial deal.
D: Chips of a disqualified player shall be removed from play.
Outside Food and Drinks
Players found to be bringing in food or drinks to venues will be asked to remove items from the premises immediately. Anyone who is verified to have brought outside alcohol into a venue will face a minimum league suspension of 3 months. We take this seriously folks: bars can lose their liquor license over this! RARE EXCEPTION: There are a small handful of venues that don’t serve food, but please check with them first!
There are NO EXCEPTIONS! Any Poker Rx member who engages in wagering cash, property or anything of value at any Poker Rx Event should be promptly reported to the league. Disciplinary actions can include a suspension up to termination from the league.
Reminders, Warnings and Suspensions
Occasionally, players will act outside the parameters of Poker Rx standards. When this happens and we are informed, we investigate the situation as quickly and fairly as possible. If Poker Rx determines an incident took place that requires intervention, we act in one of three ways: Reminders, Warnings, or Suspensions. Please note that Bar Owners & Managers have the discretion to ask an unruly or disruptive player to leave their tournament or the venue. They can also ban players from their bar if they deem it appropriate.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of the above rules, a knowledgeable Poker Rx Tournament Director will always be eager to assist.