“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.
THIS IS THE OFFICIAL RULEBOOK FOR OUR CARDROOM
Welcome to our cardroom. Your presence in our establishment means that you agree to abide by our rules and procedures. By taking a seat in one of our card games, you are accepting our management to be the final authority on all matters relating to that game.
SECTION 1 - PROPER BEHAVIOR
SECTION 2 - HOUSE POLICIES
SECTION 3 - TEXAS HOLD'EM
SECTION 4 - OMAHA
SECTION 5 - SEVEN-CARD STUD
SECTION 6 - LOW (RAZZ)
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 cardroom to violators.
The following are not permitted:
Collusion with another player or any other form of cheating.
Verbally or physically threatening any patron or employee.
Using profanity or obscene language.
Creating a disturbance by arguing.
Destroying or defacing property.
The following actions are improper, and grounds for warning, suspending, or barring a violator:
Agreeing to check a hand out when a third player is all-in.
Softplaying by refusing to bet against a certain opponent whenever heads-up.
Reading a hand for another player at the showdown.
Revealing the contents of a live hand in a multihanded pot before the betting is complete.
Revealing the contents of a folded hand before the betting is complete.
Needlessly stalling the action of a game.
Making statements or taking action that could unfairly influence the course of play, whether or not the offender is involved in the pot.
Management reserves the right to make decisions in the spirit of fairness, even if a strict interpretation of the rules may indicate a different ruling.
Decisions of the shift supervisor are final.
The proper time to draw attention to a mistake is when it occurs or is first noticed. Any delay may affect the ruling.
If an incorrect rule interpretation or decision by an employee is made in good faith, the establishment has no liability.
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.
To keep the action moving, it is possible that a game may be asked to continue even though a decision is delayed. The delay could be to check the logs, get the shift supervisor to give the ruling, or for some other good reason. In such circumstances, a pot or portion of it may be impounded by the house while the decision is pending.
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.
Only one person may play a hand.
No one is allowed to play another player’s chips.
Management will decide when to start or close any game.
Chips used to buy-in to a tournament or Sit & Go will not be refunded if a player does not unregister from the game and leaves the site, falls asleep or any other reason and therefore does not play. It is the players responsibility to unregister from a buy-in tournament.
If you return to the same game within the "rat-hole" time of cashing out, your buy-in must be equal to the amount removed when leaving that 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.
Speaking any language other than English during a deal is not allowed. The exception to this rule is if all players at the table speak the same foreign language.
The house reserves the right to require that any two players not play in the same game (husband and wife, relatives, business partners, and so forth).
Creating duplicate accounts is not permitted and will get you banned from our poker site. Only one account is allowed per player since a crucial aspect of poker is identifying strategies used by an opponent and addressing it in your play style. If players were allowed to play under new accounts then this skill is rendered useless. If you are caught cheating on Lucksacks.com not only will you lose your access to your account(s), but all funds in your account(s) will be confiscated and, where applicable and if possible, distributed to those who you cheated at the table. When two or more players work together at a table to defeat other players this is called "collusion". All players involved in the collusion, including chip dumping, will be banned and their funds confiscated for cheating.
Online poker has grown online over the years and with it so has the number of programs available to help players play better online. Some of these tools and services are ok, but some go beyond the scope of what we consider to be acceptable as an aid to a player online. The following types of tools are prohibited at all times. If you are caught using one of these tools on our website your account will be banned and your funds will be confiscated.
A tool that plays without human intervention (aka Bots) or makes decisions for a human player.
A tool that provides real-time advice to the player on what action to take by reading the current game state.
A service or tool that provides hole card data to other players.
Your account(s) will be banned and we reserve the right to confiscate your funds, but we may issue a warning in some cases. Our main goal is to educate players and all cases will be dealt with independently and all factors will be considered prior to our decision. Sometimes we even put it to vote by the Community or the affected players.
Texas Hold'em (or just "hold'em" for short) is currently the most popular variation of poker, thanks mainly to televised coverage of the World Series of Poker, the World Poker Tour, and various celebrity-based events. The no-limit version is often described as the "Cadillac of poker, taking only a minute to learn but a lifetime to master."
Each player is dealt two down (or hole) cards that only they can see. A round of betting occurs. Three community cards (known as the "flop") are dealt face up in the middle of the table. Another round of betting occurs. A fourth community card (known as the "turn") is dealt face up on the table. Another round of betting occurs. A fifth and final community card (known as the "river") is dealt face up on the table. A final round of better occurs. The player's hole cards are revealed and the player with the best five-card poker hand wins the pot. Your five card hand can consist of none, one, or both of your hole cards along with five, four, or three of the community cards. If two or more players share the same best hand, the pot is divided equally among the winners.
Poker hands are ranked in the order specified below, lowest to highest. Note that only card rank (deuce through ace) matter in poker when comparing individual cards. The suits of clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades are all considered equal.
High Card: Cards are ranked deuce (2) as the lowest to ace as the highest. If two or more players have the same high card, then the second highest card (and so on, to the fifth card if necessary) determine the winner.
Pair: A pair (two cards of the same rank) beats high card. The highest pair is a pair of aces. If two or more players have the same pair, then the highest of the three remaining cards (known as kickers) determine the winner.
Two Pair: Two pair beats a pair. If two or more players have two pair, then the highest pair determines the winner. For example, a pair of aces and sevens beats a pair of kings and queens. If two or more players have the same two pair then the fifth card kicker determines the winner.
Three of a Kind: Three of a kind (three cards of the same rank) beats two pair. Three aces is the best of these. If two or more players share the same three of a kind hand, the two remaining kickers determine the winner.
Straight: A straight beats three of a kind. A straight is five consecutive card ranks. Aces can be high or low so the lowest straight is ace through five while the highest is ten through ace. There are no kickers with straights since all five cards are needed to make the hand.
Flush: A flush beats a straight. A flush is any five cards all of the same suit (i.e., all diamonds or all spades, etc.). If two of more players share a flush then the player with the highest card (all the way to the fifth card if necessary) in the flush wins.
Full House: A full house beats a flush. A full house is the combination of three of a kind and a pair. If two or more players have a full house then the player with the best three of a kind wins. If those are the same then the player with the best pair wins.
Four of a Kind: Four of a kind (four cards of the same rank) beats a full house. If two or more players share the same four of a kind, then the fifth card kicker determines the winner.
Straight Flush: A straight flush (five consecutive cards all of the same suit) beats four of a kind. Aces can be high or low. An ace-high straight flush is called a royal flush, the best possible hand in poker.
Texas Hold'em can be played in three basic variations:
Limit Hold'em: In Limit Hold'em, the amount you can bet or raise is fixed, according to the posted stakes. A bet placed before the turn card (4th community card) is dealt is known as a "small bet" and is fixed at the size of the big blind. A bet placed after the turn card is dealt is known as a "big bet" and is equal to twice the size of the big blind. In tournament play, these stakes are raised at set intervals, referred to as "levels". For example, in a 100/200 level, the "small bet" is 100 and the "big bet" is 200. This means that in the first two betting rounds (before and after the flop) you can bet or raise exactly 100 chips and in the last two betting rounds (before and after the river) you can bet or raise exactly 200 chips. In limit play, the betting is capped at three raises per round, unless two players are "heads-up" in the round.
Pot Limit Hold'em: In Pot Limit Hold'em, there are no fixed stakes. Instead, you can bet or raise up to the amount currently in the pot. This includes bets in front of you plus your call. For example, if there are 100 chips in the pot and you are the first to act in the betting round, the maximum you can bet is 100 chips. But the next player could then call that 100 and raise an additional 300 chips.
No Limit Hold'em: In No Limit Hold'em, you can bet all of your chips at any time (referred to as going "all-in").
In Pot Limit and No Limit games, the minimum bet or raise is equal to the big blind (see below). Once a player raises, the minimum reraise is equal to the last raise. The minimum resets to the big blind on the next round of betting.
In a home game, the players take turn dealing the cards, rotating clockwise. In casino and on-line play that use a dedicated dealer, a dealer button (or just the "button") is a white disk that is rotated clockwise among the players. The player that is "on the button" is the last to act in each betting round, after the flop.
In Texas Hold'em, there are forced bets called "blinds" made prior to the dealing of the hole cards. These blinds are similar to antes except they only involve two players and the bets do not immediately go into the pot. The player to the left of the button posts the "small blind" and the next player posts the "big blind". The small blind is typically half of the big blind and the big blind is the minimum bet or raise that can be made in this and all subsequent rounds. In Limit Hold'em the big blind is equal to the "small bet". In tournament play, the blinds are raised at set intervals, or levels. This keeps the action going and puts a definite end point on the game. Otherwise, players could just keep folding their hands and the game would go on for hours or days.
Once the two blinds are posted, the player to the left of the big blind is the "first to act" and has the option of folding, calling the big blind bet, or raising. Play continues around to the button. Then the player who posted the small blind has the option to call or raise the bets so far. And the same goes for the player who posted the big blind. If no one raised the big blind then that player has the option to "check" and the flop will be dealt. There are no more forced bets after the flop and first person to the left of the button (who hasn't yet folded) will be the first to act in subsequent betting rounds.
A side pot is created when a player calls a bet but doesn't have enough chips to cover the bet or if a player raises when another player is already all-in. The main pot will only hold the chips that every player contributed equally to. The overflow bets go into the side pot, which the all-in player did not contribute to and therefore cannot win. There can be multiple side pots if there are multiple all-in players. The last side pot created is the first side pot awarded after the showdown. The main pot is awarded last. Players who fold before the showdown forfeit their right to all pots, including the main pot.
Omaha is a variation of poker similar to Texas Hold'em but with following differences: each player is dealt four hole cards instead of two and to make their five-card hand, they must use exactly two of their hole cards and exactly three of the five community cards. So for each hand dealt, a player has 60 possible ways to make a five-card hand in Omaha compared to only 21 in Hold'em. All other aspects of Omaha are identical to Hold'em.
Omaha-5 is very similar to regular Omaha except each player gets five hole cards instead of four. They still must use exactly two of their hole cards and exactly three of the five community cards to make a hand.
Omaha Hi-Lo (also referred to as "Omaha 8 or Better") is a variation of Omaha where the pot is split by the players with the best high hand and the best low hand. The same player can win both halves of the pot. The high hand is determined in the same way as regular Omaha described above. The low hand is determined by the player who has five unpaired cards of the lowest rank, using any of his two hole cards and any three community cards. These do not have to be the same five cards used to make the high hand. Aces can count as low cards and none of the fives cards can be higher than an 8. Straights and flushes are not a factor in calculating the low hand so the best low hand is 5432A while the worst is 87654. Any combination containing a pair or a 9, 10, J, Q, or K is not qualified for a low hand so not every hand will have a qualified low hand. No player can make a low hand if there are not at least three community cards of different ranks 8 or lower. And no individual player can make a low hand if they do not have at least two hole cards of different ranks of 8 or lower. If there are no qualified low hands at showdown, the player with the best high hand wins the whole pot. If the pot contains an odd number of chips and there is at least one qualifed low hand, the extra chip is awarded to the high hand. Both the high and low halves of the pot can be split by multiple players in the case of ties.
Omaha-5 Hi-Lo is very similar to regular Omaha Hi-Lo except each player gets five hole cards instead of four. Omaha-5 Hi-Lo played under Pot Limit betting rules is often referred to as "Big-O".
7-Card Stud (or just "Stud" for short) was one of the most popular variations of poker, prior to the advent of Texas Hold'em and Omaha. Stud is almost always played in Limit format. It differs from Texas Hold'em in the following ways:
There are no blinds to post and there is no rotating dealer button.
Each player posts an ante before the cards are dealt, including in ring games.
There are no community cards, each player gets his own seven cards (with one exception, explained below).
Players use any 5 of their 7 cards to make the best poker hand.
Stud tables can have no more than 8 seats, otherwise you would run out of cards to deal.
If there are not enough cards to deal a final (river or 7th street) card to each player, one card is dealt face up on the table for everyone to use.
Since Stud is a limit game, it has small and big bets like a limit Hold'em game, except the small bet is used before 5th street and the big bet is used on and after 5th street.
There is a Hi-Lo version of Stud that works in a similar manner as the Hi-Lo version of Omaha, where a qualifying low hand can split the pot with the high hand winner.
Each player is initially dealt two hole cards face down plus one card face up. The up card, known as the door card or 3rd street determines who acts first. Ties are broken by suit, alphabetically, in the order of clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades. So the deuce of clubs is the lowest card and the ace of spades is the highest. The player with the lowest card acts first and is not allowed to check or fold. His two options are to either bet the "Bring In" amount (which is typically more than the ante but less than the small bet) or make full bet in the small bet amount. Play then moves clockwise where the next players have the option to fold, call, or raise using the same rules are Limit Hold'em.
After all bets are in (and at least 2 players remain in the hand), one new card (4th street) is dealt face up to each player remaining. From this point one, the player that acts first is determined by who has the best hand showing face up. Also there are no more bring-ins for the remainder of the hand so the first player can check his option if he wants to. Otherwise he can bet in the small bet amount. There is one exception, however. If any player is showing a face up pair (i.e., his 3rd and 4th street cards have the same rank), then any player can start making bets and raises in the Big Bet amount. Once that is done, the betting in the remainder of the round will be in Big Bet amounts.
After all bets are in, one new card (5th street) is dealt face up to each player remaining. From this point one, all bets and raises are in the Big Bet amount.
6th Street is also a face up card and the betting round works the same as 5th Street.
The 7th and final (River or 7th Street) card is dealt face down. With one exception. If enough players remain in the hand then there might not be enough cards left to deal one to each player since the deck has 52 cards and 8 players getting 7 cards each would total 56. In that case, a single community card is dealt face up on the table for all players to use. Other than that the betting round proceeds as it did for 6th Street. If there is more than one player remaining a showdown occurs with players turning their down cards up and the one with the best 5-card poker hand wins. Splits and side pots work the same as they do in Hold'em and Omaha.
Stud Hi-Lo (also referred to as "Stud 8 or Better") is a variation of 7-Card Stud where the pot is split by the players with the best high hand and the best low hand. The same player can win both halves of the pot. The high hand is determined in the same way as regular Stud described above. The low hand is determined by the player who has five unpaired cards of the lowest rank, using any five of his seven cards. These do not have to be the same five cards used to make the high hand. Aces count as low cards and none of the five cards can be higher than an 8. Straights and flushes are not a factor in calculating the low hand so the best low hand is 5432A while the worst is 87654. Any combination containing a pair or a 9, 10, J, Q, or K is not qualified for a low hand so not every hand will have a qualified low hand. If there are no qualified low hands at showdown, the player with the best high hand wins the whole pot. If the pot contains an odd number of chips and there is at least one qualifed low hand, the extra chip is awarded to the high hand. Both the high and low halves of the pot can be split by multiple players in the case of ties.
Razz is a variation of poker similar to the "Lo" portion of Stud Hi-Lo. It's played in a similar manner to Stud except there is no high hand. The player with the low hand wins the whole pot. The low hand qualifiers in Stud Hi-Lo do not exist in Razz so your hand can contain paired cards and cards above 8 in rank. Aces are low and flushes and straights are not a factor in Razz either but paired cards will count against you, though. For example, 9TJQK is a better (lower) hand than 22345 because five unpaired cards always beats a hand containing a pair. So when choosing the best five cards from the group of seven, the ones that would make a pair (or trips or quads) will be eliminated first, even if their ranks are lower than the remaining fives cards. Of course, the software does this automatically, the players do not have to manually pick their lowest 5-card hand.
The only other difference from Stud is that the player with the worst (highest) 3rd Street card has the Bring-in (king of spades is highest, ace of clubs is lowest) and the player with the best (lowest) hand showing is first to act on the remaining rounds.