Rules of an Official Poker Tournament

Whether you’re hosting an official poker tournament or just playing in your spare time, there are certain rules you should know. These are designed to keep the game fair and enjoyable for everyone, and to make sure all players get a chance to play their best hand.

Buying in

When entering a poker table, you must purchase a full buy-in. Unless otherwise specified, this is 10 times the maximum bet for limit poker and 40 times the minimum bring-in (usually the big blind) in pot-limit and no-limit games.

Re-buys and add-ons

If you win a hand, you must make a re-buy before the next round of betting begins. You may also re-buy when you have been out of the money for three or more hands.

A re-buy can be made with any number of chips, but it must not exceed half the value of your original buy-in, and it must be done only once during each session. A re-buy does not count toward your stack.

Raise restrictions

All raising in the first round of heads-up play is capped at twice the size of the previous raise, and this rule applies to all subsequent raises. This restriction does not apply if the raising is the result of a player folding.

Mucking cards

A player can ask to see a called hand that has been mucked. However, if this is done improperly, the dealer may deny the request and return the cards to the pile.

Exposed cards

A card that has been exposed by a dealer is not considered live or valid. This rule applies to all players, and any other player who has a say in the situation can reject the exposed cards.

High-low splits

If two or more hands are tied in a high-low split, the odd chip is awarded to each of the hands in clockwise order. For example, in a high-low button game, the first hand clockwise from the button gets an odd chip.

Taking or claiming cards

A player who claims a card can take it and keep it in their hand, but this must be done on the turn of the card. Alternatively, a player can re-claim the card by stating that they are stealing it.

Mucking and folding the cards

A person can muck their own cards or fold them, or they can ask to have other players’ hands mucked. If a player chooses to muck their own cards, this will be recorded in the mucking record and can be challenged by another player.

Exposed cards

In some variations of poker, a card that has been exposed by the dealer is not considered live or valid. This is to prevent cheating or collusion among the players.

Using your cell phone at the poker table

Players who use their phones during a poker game are not allowed to talk to other players on the poker tables. In addition, players who use their phones during a WFP final must leave the table.