Posts Tagged ‘Rules & Etiquette’

Bellagio Cash Game Rules

by , Feb 19, 2007 | 7:29 pm

While most of you probably know the standard rule differentials between cash and tournament play, it is important to know they vary not only between locations but also within the same room. For example, in the Bellagio 2-5 NL game you are required to turn over your hand when heads up with an all-in player. However, in the 5-10 NL Bellagio game you do not have to expose your hand in this same scenario. Seem strange? According to the Bellagio poker-room floor people, “It’s because 5-10 is a higher limit. The higher the limit, you don’t have to show your hand.”

Marked Cards & Cheating

by , Feb 5, 2007 | 12:11 pm

When you are playing in a tournament and you find a marked card (smudged or slightly bent) you must call the floor immediately. The standard solution is to replace the one card rather than the whole deck. This happened twice in an hour at my table during the limit event in L.A. Everyone at the table knew who bent the cards and it was played down to the way he bent the cards to see his hand. Coincidentally, both cards were Kings.

Another situation arose when a new player sat down. She was a local and was hitting every flop with crappy cards. One player made a loud statement that she had brought her own dealer to the table. She slowed down after this announcement. Scary!

Anyway, can anyone find any information about the guy busted at the Wynn for marking cards last fall?

Tournament Rules – Forcing to Show Hands

by , Jan 30, 2007 | 9:28 pm

I don’t pretend to be a know it all, nor have I played one on TV. But there are times when I know that I am right. Like last Saturday night when playing in my favorite monthly (legal, non-raked) tournament in Southwest Houston. I picked up J-10 under the gun. Having an M of 6.5, I moved all in. It folded to the table captain small blind who called. Not feeling insecure about taking Dan Harrington’s suggestion, I flipped over my hand immediately to conserve time. The dealer proceeded to flop and turn before he heard my request to stop dealing so I could see the other player’s hand.

My opponent, angry he had to wait to see the river, said, “I don’t have to show my hand.” Wanting to help better the world, I explained it was a basic tournament rule that all-in players when heads-up had to show their hand. Not to mention I’ve played in this tournament for two years — I have always been asked to flip over my hand in this situation, but this “new” guy informed me the rule did not apply to this particular tournament. ??????


More Poker Manners

by , Dec 3, 2006 | 10:38 pm

Oops … while reading through some Robert’s Rules (you know, you gotta stay fresh when you haven’t been tournament directing for a while), I realized I have been regularly violating one of the tenets of basic etiquette:


The following actions are improper, and grounds for warning, suspending, or barring a violator:

Deliberately acting out of turn.

Deliberately splashing chips into the pot.

Agreeing to check a hand out when a third player is all-in.

Reading a hand for another player at the showdown before it has been placed faceup on the table.

Telling anyone to turn a hand faceup at the showdown .


Extra Chips at the WSOP: The 5th Down of Poker?

by , Sep 8, 2006 | 1:32 pm

Tim Lavalli and Amy Calistri just put up some pretty good investigation of the $2 million worth of extra chips that mysteriously appeared during the main event of the WSOP. Must read. They narrow it down to 22 minutes where the badness comes into play — and though I have only skimmed parts 2 and 3, apparently they also dismiss the possibility of cheating.

You’ll also find continuing discourse on the subject on PokerBlog. Dr. Tim says:

I wanted to give you a heads up on this before it hits the net. Amy & I have been working on a series of articles about the 2 million extra chips on the table in the WSOP Main Event. In about an hour will be putting up the first three articles, this got a bit rushed because Harrah’s has figured out that we have them by the short hairs and they were going to make a statement. There will be two or three more articles in the next week or so.

Everything that pokernews is too chicken to print will go on PokerBlog and I intend to start the discussion on PokerBlog as soon as the articles go up.

Seriously, can you believe this guy has a Ph.D?

Dirty Coaching?

by , Aug 7, 2006 | 3:17 am

LAS VEGAS–So I’m following Richard Wyrick — aka Deadeye Dick — and I think he knows I’m happy to be his sounding board whenever he wants to talk poker strategy. He probably also knows that I keep coming up to him offering unsolicited advice whenever he’s on a break now, but hey, I demand the most from my athletes. When the going gets tough … it’s simple: you should try to play well. That’s the best way to win.

Just got a little more info on tournament director Jack Effel’s “no coaching” declaration.

Apparently, WPT champion Martin de Knijff was doing more than offering friendly advice to one of his poker cronies. He allegedly had secured himself a red media badge, allowing him access to “the moat,” and from there he was “coaching” at least one of his fellow Swedes still alive in the main event. Not while in hands, of course (at least not as far as I know), but in between hands with regularity — presumably in Swedish.

And that’s a no-no … particularly now that so much is at stake with every observation and decision.

Octagon Poker

by , Jul 19, 2006 | 2:26 am

LAS VEGAS–Over at PokerBlog Tuscaloosa Johnny and I have had some interesting discussion about various rules of the game. And today I got into it quite a bit with a guy who sat down at my $2/$5 table.

He was a skinny old man who looked like he belonged in the movie Jaws, or had just come from the boxing gym. He was wearing gray sweats and an Everlast skull cap. He put his chips in the pot with forceful vengeance. During one hand (in which I was not involved), he moved all-in, and another guy called. With the board all out, neither man would show his cards.

“You have to show,” I said. “He called you.”

“No I don’t,” he said. “I moved all-in on the turn.”


The dealer reaffirmed that the last aggressor had to show his cards first. “You see, he’s basically paying for the right to see your cards,” I tried to explain.

“Well if that’s how they do it here … I’ve never seen it that way anywhere else.”

“I’m pretty sure it doesn’t make a difference if you make your last bet on the turn or river or pre-flop,” I said, “But I could be wrong.”

“You are wrong,” he sneered.

Hmm. “I’ll bet you $5 I’m not.”

“Well you’re obviously right if you ask them here.”

“OK,” I retort, “I’ll wager $20 that Robert’s Rules of Poker says so!”

“There’s no such thing as Robert’s Rules of Poker,” he growled back.

“I’ll bet you $100 there is!”

He shuts up, as do I, feeling probably too self-satisfied.

More heads-up exposure

by , Jul 3, 2006 | 4:24 am

LAS VEGAS–In satellites here at the WSOP, it is legal to show one or both cards when heads-up. Weird. Doesn’t that kill your hand in a bracelet tourneys? (Will try to find out … with dealers coming in from all across the country here, it’s possible the dealer at my table was incorrect.)

Why Bob Ciaffone Is Better than Russian Girls

by , Jun 22, 2006 | 4:48 am

Sometimes the ease of internet content transfer is used for good. Take, for example, Bob Ciaffone, who has worked with PokerProf to create a semi-freely distributable electronic copy of Robert’s Rules of Poker. This, of course, makes the world a better place.

But then there are those who want to cut-and-paste the internet for bad porn. Don’t ask me why, but I was doing a search earlier today for “derek boswell +poker”. And in doing so, I came across this site. Scroll about a third of the way down, and you’ll see they have pilfered a bunch of Pokerati content and swapped out certain phrases with their own gambling-related links that really are connected to porn.

I guess I should be tickled, or at least not surprised, to know that Pokerati-lit and porno go hand in hand. (Apparently you people like Russian girls.) But what doesn’t seem right is that I’m not getting a cut someone is using Pokerati without permission to fool Google and profit off the exploitation of women.


The Houseman’s Bible

by , May 9, 2005 | 6:27 pm

At Pokerati, we want you to play good poker. But beyond math and skills and all that aggression jazz, sometimes it simply comes down to a difficult ruling and/or attempt at fairness when the cards and chips don’t fly as usual. I can’t begin to tell you as a guy who runs tournaments how many times I’ve had to make a ruling at the table, then look up the real rule afterwards. (Can you straddle in a tournament, for example? The answer, I was relieved to learn, is no. You can raise in the dark, but you don’t get the option as you would in a cash game.)

With that sorta thing in mind — in an effort to clarify and codify some of the finest nuances of poker — is please to introduce our latest contribution to “the beautiful game”:

The Houseman’s Bible
by Bruce

Before we start this let me go on record as stating that my typing and diction suck. I am what I am and that’s a house man, not a writer. The name is Bruce (in the interest of Texas poker law I will leave the last name out) and almost never a day goes by that someone doesn’t call me and ask how I would handle a table ruling.

My primary qualification as a house man is longevity, having run games for 30 years. I used to be a “damned ol’ gambler;” now I find that I can be a television star and an Olympic hopeful. Keep in mind that poker is a game with NO firm house rules except those set by the “house.” However, there exist many rules and situations that are common to most poker games. The important thing is consistency. No one wants to be faced with a ruling one day and have it changed the next because it’s the houseman’s best friend or the big loser in the group.

So rule #1 is: BE CONSISTENT.

“No player is allowed to put chips in the pot
knowing any of the cards to come”

In the near future I will endeavor to outline some of the more awkward situations I’ve faced and rulings I’ve had to make, and the sometimes hilarious, sometimes violent results thereafter. Almost always one player will be pissed off, but only a truly great houseman can make a ruling that is not only correct but pisses off everyone equally.

Basic rule #2: All rules should be for the good of the game.

Now let’s start out with the most common dealer error and see how these houseman’s axioms apply:

Bruce, we were playing a small cash game the other night [no-limit hold-em] and the dealer burned and turned before one player had a chance to bet. How should this be handled? — Tom in Dallas

Tom, great question. First off, no player is allowed to put chips in the pot knowing any of the cards to come. Also, no player can control whether the up-cards remain or not. This means the card or cards come back no matter what. Then have the players make their action.

On the flop: bring back all cards but the BURN CARD, shuffle and proceed, but do not burn before flop. Got that? Re-shuffle all the cards except for what has been dealt to the players and the first burn card … and then flop without burning. The burn card, after all, has already been properly removed from play.

If the error happens on the turn: set aside the up card and finish the flop-betting action. Then burn and turn normally. Thus, the card that would’ve been the river card still comes up … only it happens on 4th Street instead of 5th. Then, after the 4th Street betting action is over, replace the prematurely exposed card back into the remainder of the deck–but not the burn card!–and shuffle. Then turn without burning.

If it’s the river that gets shown early: simply replace the exposed card (but again, not the burn card) and finish the action … then shuffle and turn over a new river — again, without burning.

Never make exceptions. Do the same thing at all times and most people will accept the fact that errors sometimes happen. The person that would have flopped the nuts will always be pissed off. Just get over it. After all it’s just a game. (He-he-he.)

If you have a question about quirky game situations, tough “house calls,” or sundry poker minutiae, send Bruce an email at Then stop crying.