Other Odd Poker Rules and Exceptions

In the game of poker, there are hundreds of odd situations that can occur and numerous arcane rules that may or may not apply to them.

When money is on the line, however, there needs to be a set, fair way to deal with all of these anomalies.

Plenty of players across poker forums, comment boards and in the real world are always looking for answers as to these odd situations, so the goal of this article is to create a definitive list of rules to resolve these conundrums.Without further ado here is my list of odd situations and Texas Hold'em poker rules.

All-In Situations

Two players all-in for different amounts: In this scenario, you take the amount of the smaller stack from the big stack into the pot, returning the difference to the big-stack player.

Short stack all-in against two players: When a short stack is all-in against two larger stacks, the blinds, short stack, plus the amount of the short stack from each larger stack is placed in the main pot. All players are eligible to win this pot.

The two players on the side are now free to play and bet as usual into a side pot, which only they are eligible to win. (This means there can be two winners in the hand - a side pot and a main pot winner.)

Multiple players all-in: When multiple players are all-in, you must make multiple side pots. Make a main pot as described above. After you've done that, repeat the process with the next-smallest stack.

Continue to do this until all stacks are accounted for. Make sure to keep track of who is eligible for what pots.

Balancing Tables

If you're running a tournament with two tables, and table 1 loses two players while table 2 is still full, you're going to have to move one player from table 2 to keep the tables balanced.

How to choose who moves is done by moving the player who is in (or closest to) the same position relative to the button. So if the open seat is in the cut-off on table 1, you want to move the player from the cut-off on table 2.

This keeps players from having to pay blinds twice, or not at all.

Breaking a Table

If you lose enough players to be able to merge one table with another (or multiple others), it's time to break the table. How to choose who sits where is done by drawing for the open seats.

If you're moving everyone onto one final table, typically all players, including those already seated at the table, draw for their seat. If you don't have seat cards, just use the deck counting lowest from highest, starting left of the dealer.

Can a Player Cash Out Half of Their Chips?

A player in a cash game has to play with all of their chips, or none. Cashing out part of your stack (also known as going south) is against the rules, and considered very poor etiquette.

If you would like to cash out only part of your chips, you must cash out your entire stack, and wait the set amount of time before taking your seat again.

This is known as recycling. The amount of time to wait changes depending on where you're playing, but I've never seen it lower than 30 minutes (the default online recycle timeframe).

Can a Player Purchase More Chips Off Another Player?

This is never a good idea. It's essentially the same concept as going south. The table loses the amount of chips the new player would be buying in for.

Always buy your chips from the dealer or the house. In a home game, one person should be in charge of all financial transactions.

Card Boxed in the Deck

If a boxed card (a card face up in the stub) is encountered at any time during a hand, the card is removed from the deck and shown to every player. The deal continues as if nothing went wrong.

If multiple cards are boxed, the dealer continues to remove the boxed cards until he reaches a facedown card to continue the deal.

If the stub runs short of nonboxed cards, the hand is declared dead, with all chips being returned to their original stacks as accurately as possible.

Cards Dealt Before All Players Have Acted

If the dealer burns and turns fourth street while a player has yet to make their flop decision, the play is temporarily halted. The dealer takes the turn card and puts it back into the stub, shuffling the entire stub sufficiently.

Once the deck is shuffled, and the player has made his final flop action, the top card is turned over as the new turn (there has already been a card burned for this street).

Card Exposed While Dealing

When dealing hole cards, if the first or second card you deal is exposed (the face value was seen by someone at the table), the hand is a misdeal, meaning the cards are reshuffled and the deal starts over (the dealer button stays in the same place).

If a card other than the first or second is exposed, the dealer continues to deal as if nothing had gone wrong. When the deal finishes, he give the top card on the deck to the player with the flashed card, and takes back the exposed card.

That card is then turned face up and shown to everyone at the table, and put on the top of the deck to be used as the first burn card.

If two cards are exposed while dealing, the hand is considered a misdeal.

Card Marked

When noticing a single badly marked card in play, first play out the hand normally. When the hand is complete you'll want to replace that marked card with a new one of the same value, or just grab a new deck.

If you don't have a new deck and are stuck with the one you have, your best bet is to remove the card from the game, making sure everyone is aware that the card is no longer in play.

It's better for everyone to know that no one has the card than for everyone to know when someone does have the card.

Dealer Deals an Extra Hand or a Hand to a Seat with No Player

In this scenario, as long as no one looks at the extra hand, it's folded as a dead hand, and play continues as usual.

How Long Can a Player Wait Before Choosing to Rebuy?

After a player loses all of their chips, they must choose whether or not to rebuy before the next hand is dealt.

In a home game there is room for lenience on this issue, just as long as the player isn't doing it on purpose to gain some sort of advantage.

Is a Single Over-Value Chip Considered a Raise or a Call?

By putting in one over-value chip without saying anything, it is always considered a call. For example, if the big blind is $25 and you're first to act, putting in a $100 chip without actually saying "raise" is considered a call.

The more lenient atmosphere of a home game means the dealer will typically ask the player what they actually wanted to do.

Player Misses a Blind (Cash Games)

A player can never come into the game between the blinds, or between the button and the blinds (unless they buy the button, see rule below). This applies when moving a player in tournaments as well.

If a player misses his or her blind in a cash game, they're not allowed to be dealt into a hand until the button has passed by them to the player on their left (it's treated as if there is no player sitting there). When the button has passed, they must post the amount equal to the blinds they missed.

For example, with blinds of $1/$2, a player who misses the big blind (therefore forcing them to also miss the small blind), they must post $3 to be dealt into the hand.

A small-blind post is always considered dead, meaning it goes into the pot and does not count toward any action in the hand, while the big-blind portion of the post is live, meaning it does count.

A player with a live post still receives option to check or raise when it's their turn to act in the hand.

Buying the button: Buying the button is allowed in some locations during a cash game. This means that when a player sits down between the small blind and the button, or on the seat where the button would be next, they have the option to pay both the small and big blind in place of the players with whom the responsibility lies.

This allows the player to play on the button, rather than having to wait for it to pass them the next hand.

Player Misses a Blind (Tournaments)

In a tournament, every stack gets dealt a hand regardless of a player being in the seat or not. When the last card is dealt to a player for the hand, the hands without players are mucked.

Players not present during their blinds have the blinds posted for them from their stacks, referred to as blinding out.

Player's Stack Size Less Than the Blind

When a player's stack is less than the amount of the small blind, they are automatically considered all-in in the next hand they play, regardless of position.

If the player's stack is larger than the small blind but smaller than the big blind, they will be considered all-in in any position other than the small blind, assuming they fold for their option.

When all-in, the player can only win the amount of their stack, plus that same amount from all of the callers and blinds. If the person has less than the big blind, they can only win the portion of the blind equal to that of their stack.

Removing Smaller Chips from Play

When the blinds increase in a tournament, eventually the smaller-value chips will become obsolete. Once the chips are no longer needed, they are chipped up to the next denomination.

First, make sure the chips are no longer needed (don't forget to check for antes in the future blind levels). If the blinds are $500/$1,000 doubling, you have no need for any chips smaller than $500 on the table.

Change as many low-value chips as you can into higher values and hold on to the remainder. For example, if you have ten $25 chips, you will receive two $100 chips and have two $25 chips left over.

Chip racing: The standard way to remove the odd low-value chips is a chip race (this is how it's done in all major tournaments such as the WSOP).

First the dealer adds up the total amount of odd chips on the table to determine the amount of larger-value chips up for grabs. For example, if there are 13 $25 chips on the table, they bring four $100 chips to take their place.

The dealer starts at the player to their left, dealing them as many cards as they have odd chips face up (if they have three $25 chips, they get three cards), until everyone with $25 chips has a card to represent each of them.

Each available chip is given to the players with the highest-valued show card, with each player being allowed to win only one chip. In a case of a tie in rank, suits are used to determine a winner.

Rounding up: To save time, some tournaments will round up all leftover chips to the higher value. Regardless of having one $25 chip or three $25 chips, you will receive one $100 chip in their place.

Suit Rankings

In poker, the official suit ranking goes with the official Bridge ranking system, which is alphabetical. From worst to best:

Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, Spades

Turn-Dealing Mistakes

Turn is dealt without burning: When the dealer deals the turn card without burning, that card is simply treated as a flash card. The dealer makes sure all players see the card before turning it face down as the burn card, dealing the real turn as normal.

Two burn cards dealt when dealing the turn: In the case of a dealer burning two cards, and turning over a third as the turn, that third card is treated as a flashed card, and is returned to the top of the deck as the burn for the river. The second burn card is turned face up, since it is the valid turn card.

Two cards are burnt and two cards are shown when dealing the turn: The proper way to resolve this rare scenario is as follows. The second burn card (the official, should be turn) is placed face down on the top of the deck. The first up card (the would-be river burn card) is treated as a flash card and turned face down.

The second show card is the official river. It is now played as it lies on the turn instead. When action completes on the turn, the top card is turned over without burning for the river.

By doing it in this fashion, all cards put in play are the original cards that would have fallen if no mistake had occurred. There is no change to the results, and only one card gets exposed.

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STORY WRITTEN FOR & USED WITH PERMISSIONPosted: March 4, 2005The shuttle Discovery docked with the international space station today in a dramatic mission simulation that included presumed foam debris impacts to the orbiter's right wing leading edge and an aft rocket pod during the make-believe climb to space. Senior managers, launch team members and reporters gather in the Firing Room to simulate liftoff of Discovery earlier this week. Photo: NASAThe simulation, which began Wednesday with a mock launch from the KennedySpace Center, is designed to put NASA's post-Columbia management system tothe test while giving the shuttle crew and mission control team a chance tosharpen their skills.Flight directors and members of NASA's mission management team evenstaged faux news briefings complete with questions from public affairsofficers playing the roles of reporters."It's been great. Everybody's played really hard," MMT Chairman WayneHale said late Friday. "This is like a real flight, they are playing hardand we've had a lot of emotion, which is good, that means people are takingit seriously, but it hasn't gotten out of hand. People are being reasonablein their conclusions and I think that's very good."Said John Shannon, a senior member of NASA's mission management team:"This is like a play. This is our dress rehearsal. I'm just blown away bythe fidelity of this thing, how many people are participating."For launch, the MMT gathered at the Kennedy Space Center earlier thisweek for a full-fledged dress rehearsal countdown led by launch directorMike Leinbach and NASA test director Jeff Spaulding.Five reporters, including this writer, were allowed to sit in on an earlymorning MMT meeting Wednesday to clear the launch team for a simulatedfueling and later, observed the terminal countdown from the firing room inKennedy's Launch Control Center.The countdown was relatively straight forward and while a few problemscropped up that required extensive troubleshooting, the simulated liftoffoccurred on time at 5:55 p.m. But seconds after launch, the simulation teambegan throwing problems at Discovery's crew and flight controllers inHouston, including simulated impacts by foam debris from Discovery'sexternal fuel tank.Columbia was brought down Feb. 1, 2003, by wing leading edge damagecaused by a chunk of external fuel tank foam insulation that broke awayduring ascent.Discovery's tank has been modified to prevent large pieces of foam frombreaking off in flight. While it's not possible to completely eliminate foamshedding, Hale said Wednesday he's optimistic the tank will be deemed safeenough to launch after two years of work to minimize debris."In a perfect world, you would say the biggest thing that can come offthe tank can't possibly hurt the (wing leading edge)," he said. "In aworst-on-worst kind of case, you can't say that, even after what we've done.But what we can say is in a realistic sense ... from what is reasonable tohappen, we have sufficient safety margin."To make absolutely sure the tank performs as expected, at least the firsttwo shuttle missions will be treated as test flights. New high definitiontelevision tracking cameras will photograph Discovery's real launch in Maywith unprecedented resolution and other cameras on the shuttle, the tankitself and the orbiter's twin solid-fuel boosters will provide extensivephotographic coverage during the climb to space.In addition, cameras aboard two modified jets will "shoot" the shuttlethrough booster separation, the astronauts will photograph the tank in spaceand military spy satellites will snap classified photographs of the shuttleto look for signs of damage.Sensors mounted just behind the wing leading edge panels will record theforce and location of any impacts, the shuttle's crew will use laser sensorsmounted on the end of a long boom to scrutinize the wing leading edges fromthe outside and the crew of the international space station will photographthe heat-shield tiles on the belly of the orbiter during Discovery's finalapproach.The severity of any actual damage in a real flight will dictate NASA'sresponse. Minor damage might be deemed acceptable for re-entry as is. Moreserious damage could raise the prospect of a spacewalk repair job and incases where the issue was not clear cut - or the damage is obviously toosevere for a repair - the astronauts could move into the space station andawait rescue by another shuttle.While no one expects any significant foam shedding during Discovery's May15 launching, this week's simulation has forced mission managers to exerciseall of the post-Columbia inspection techniques in a real-world scenario.During Wednesday's mock launch, commander Eileen Collins had to deal witha fuel cell glitch seconds after liftoff and was told the center mainengine's nozzle was leaking hydrogen. The shuttle's main engines shut downslightly early, resulting in a 35 foot per second shortfall in velocity. Tosave fuel, the crew was told not to perform a maneuver that would have letthem photograph the external tank from an overhead window.More worrisome to mission managers, two debris shedding events werenoticed in ascent photography and radar tracking. By Thursday, the secondday of the simulated mission, photography and radar analysis had identifiedat least nine "debris events," including damage to tiles on the shuttle'sright rear rocket pod and a possible impact around leading edge panel No. 6on Discovery's right wing.The Discovery astronauts, working in a flight simulator at the JohnsonSpace Center, spent flight day two inspecting the 44 reinforced carboncarbon - RCC - leading edge panels on both wings, along with the ship's RCCnose cap, using a new boom-mounted laser system attached to the end of theshuttle's robot arm.Aside from the use of computer graphics and animation in place of actualvideo from space, this writer, observing from the mission control room atthe Johnson Space Center, could not tell the difference between thesimulation and an actual mission as lead flight director Paul Hill led histeam through the complex inspection work.But in what might be a surprise to at least some observers, missionmanagers overseeing Discovery's simulated docking with the internationalspace station Friday afternoon - two full days after launch - still did notyet know for sure whether the RCC impact had caused any damage.Data from the laser scanner used to inspect the leading edge Thursday wasinconclusive, officials said today, and close-up, targeted inspections wereto be simulated Saturday. In addition, photos of the shuttle's belly takenby the crew of the space station during Discovery's final approach earliertoday, showed unusual white speckles across the black heat-shield tiles thatnow must be investigated.Senior managers said the pace of the simulation gave a sense of how longit will take NASA and contractor engineers to collect the data they wouldneed in an actual flight to determine whether or not the shuttle had beendamaged during launch or if repairs might be needed."We know we have some warning signs, we know we had some different debrisevents, we know we had one of those events gave us an indication on a wingleading edge sensor," Shannon said late Thursday. "That doesn't tell you ifyou have damage or not, it tells you potentially you had a hit in that area."The thing is, we go from a lot of data that's pretty low fidelity - fromthe imagery, from all the ground stuff, the external tank camera and theradar stuff - it's not very good fidelity but it tells you hey, somethingwas going on and it clues you in to the next stage, which is what we'redoing now and you go look carefully."It's going to be a little frustrating because you say OK, maybe they'vegot something here, here and here but it's going to take a few days tocollect the data to see what is there. ... This is extremely complex."In a real flight, the mission management team would not expect to have animpact site fully characterized and understood until flight day six. That iswhen the MMT would have to decide whether a shuttle could return to Earth asis, whether repairs were needed or whether a crew might have to abandon shipand use the space station as a "safe haven.""It's really going to take us until flight day six to get all thereports, all the data, do all the analysis and come to a conclusion," Halesaid. "Other than being anxious to get the answer, that's OK."This week's simulation is working through that analysis anddecision-making timeline in exhaustive detail."I would characterize the process as extremely realistic," Shannon said."The systems engineering and integration guys are tracking nine differentdebris cases, the data collection's going on, two of them could be fairlysignificant. ... It's such a great, real-time prep for us to get realproblems coming down, crunching them through all the people, all newprocesses, all the debris assessment stuff, this is all new. ... Just goingthrough this whole cycle is so valuable."The simulation was scheduled to end Friday evening, but the missionmanagement team planned to work through the weekend assessing the impactdata and debating all of the options they could face in a real flight.Asked about the deliberate pace of the post-launch analysis during a realflight, John Muratore, a senior shuttle manager at the Johnson Space Center,said "my impression is this is going to be high drama for 14 days."NASA hopes to move Discovery to launch pad 39B at the Kennedy SpaceCenter around March 25. The launch window opens May 15 and closes June 3.The next launch window opens July 12."I think we're in pretty good shape," Hale said Wednesday. "We're workinga number of problems on the orbiter, but that is fairly typical. ... Thereal issues we've got, I don't think it's orbiter processing. I think we'rewithin the box on orbiter processing on Discovery. The real issue we've gotis getting closure to the engineering analysis."We have to have the engineering analysis complete that proves it's safeto fly before we can go fly. If that means go park Discovery at the beachfor an extra month, then so be it. Now, I don't think it's going to come tothat. But we have got to prove it's safe to fly before we light the fuse."Ares 1-X PatchThe official embroidered patch for the Ares 1-X rocket test flight, is available for purchase.Apollo CollageThis beautiful one piece set features the Apollo program emblem surrounded by the individual mission logos.Expedition 21The official embroidered patch for the International Space Station Expedition 21 crew is now available from our stores.Hubble PatchThe official embroidered patch for mission STS-125, the space shuttle's last planned service call to the Hubble Space Telescope, is available for purchase. | | | | 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.Shuttle tank arrives at Kennedy Space Center BY WILLIAM HARWOOD

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rick 2014-07-06 09:50:00

I'm having a disagreement with another player over blinds , he claims when a player goes all in with less than the big blind the next player does not have to bet at least the big blind nor does the 3nd player

Barry 2014-05-28 09:41:48

Here is the situation, a player in a recent hold-em game bet blind throughout the flop, turn and river without looking at his cards. After the river card was dealt, he flipped his cards and discovered he had 3 cards. In this case, his hand should be declared dead and I am under the assumption that he forfeits the chips he had bet as it was his responsibility to know his hand. Is this correct?

PokerListings 2014-05-26 07:17:44

Hi Melissa,

As you can see on our hand ranking page, a flush does not beat a full house:


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