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.

Rules for Poker 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 Poker Tables in a Tournament

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 Poker Table in a Tournament

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.

How to Deal With a Boxed Card

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.

How to Deal with Cards Dealt Out of Turn

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).

What to Do If a Card is 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.

What to Do with a Marked Card

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 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.

What If a 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.

What is 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.

What to Do If a Player Misses a Blind in 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.

What Happens When a Player's Stack Size is 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.

When Do You Remove Smaller Chips from Play in Poker?

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.

How Do You Do a Chip Race?

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.

How Are Suits Ranked in Poker?

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

Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, Spades

How to Deal with 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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Stoyan 2010-08-13 22:54:21

Hey Wayne,
I think this is dealer's mistake. All decisions about the winning hand should be made after all players act (show their cards or fold them). The dealer should have asked the player to either show both cards or fold them. In the casino where I work we have some really problematic clients that pull stunts like this from time to time and this is the way we deal with the situation. (hope I helped with that)

Any player is allowed to fold at any time his hand. They can get additional information about last action before their turn from the casino dealer or pay attention to the game. When he throws his card dealer announce "fold" and put the cards in the muck. Then the hand is dead. (any cards that touch the muck are dead). In the rules is written - when a player throws his card forward faced down this means fold. The dealer is the guy that announces everything on the table - so he should listen at least to him and act then.
I speak from my experience but I don't pretend to know every sticky situation in this game. I am dealing texas for one year so far almost every day and on any big table or tournament in the casino.

Wayne 2010-08-13 20:52:26

I play live turned here in my small town last night we had a problem here it is at the show down 3 players 1st player shows a full house 8s over 2nd playeradmits defet folds her hand 3rd player rolls only 1 card over showing 2 pair 1st player was named the winner cards where being picked up for new hand 3rd player then shows his other card showing a higher fullhouse he was told to late his hand was declared non winning then he got up set. To me if you show only 1 card at showdown then you admits the best five cards and folds the other hold card is this correct. Thank you

Stoyan 2010-08-13 04:44:08

Hey guys I have one technical question. Last night I had this situation - Players A, B and C.(tournament - blinds 400/800). None of them is on blind.
So player A calls 800, player B calls, player C rises to 2500 (then both blinds are fold). Player A calls and player B is all in 3200. In this case does the player C can go all in also or he doesn't have this option?

Dan H 2010-08-12 03:38:22

Why do they burn cards in some Poker game (Texas Hold-em & Omaha) and not other poker games.

AceAlan 2010-08-11 18:12:54

if player throws cards face down into midlle of table after river has been dealt and betting complete because he thought he lost hand are these cards dead if it turns out he misheard other player and he has best hand

Teresa 2010-08-11 17:42:16

the blinds are $400 and $800---5 players at the end of no limit tourney--2 all in---flop--3 active players check----4th street--check check then last active player pushes the remaining $300 all in---so do the remaining 2 active players have to put in $300 or the minimum $800 to call that last all in?

jose 2010-08-07 17:58:01

in a tournament, is it mandatory to showndown, when 2 players go all onthe 5th street?
queston is... someone has a "partner" in a tournament w/o our knowledge, if 2 persons go to an all in on the river, one of the parners can just want to give chips to the other partner... so, a showndown it's mandatory, or can someone ofthe 2 just muck?

many thanks

Pixie 2010-08-05 17:06:18

Hi there,

I had a sticky one at a very low stakes tournament I was running earlier tonight.

I had a player turn up before the game, register and pay for his seat/stack, earning him a little extra chips for being on time and then mention he would be back soon as he had some pressing engagement.

Game commenced and he still wasn't back from wherever he'd taken off too. An hour passes and his stack remains active as he is a valid player, just not at the table.

Players have been raising around this stack and stealing blinds in the usual way without any issue. Quite some time in to this small low buy in game (12 players) the blinds go up to 1000/2000 and when the blind comes around to the missing player, he posts his remaining 1300 chips in the big blind position. Under the gun folds along with the next 3 players but then a player goes all in for about 5000. Action continues around the table with all players folding, including the small blind leaving the only two players in the game to be the 1300 all-in big blind and the player that shoved. Obviously the player that shoved his stack took everything except the 1300 that could be matched by the missing player's all in move.

I flipped the big blinds cards over to reveal AT while the player that shoved showed KJ. No one hit the board and the AT holds. I have the player that had KJ go ballistic at me for 20 mins for awarding a pot to a player that was not present at the table with him continuously referring to him as a dead stack and not as I see it, a player missing from the table.

Did I do the right thing in awarding the pot to the stack that had the better hand based on the fact that he was all in for that hand and thus could not be folded or was it a mistake to award the pot to the player who was not at the table.

I understand it is a very rare situation and very circumstantial as it would not be too often that a player registers and then doesn't play a single hand. I see it as a valid player's stack based on the fact that he bought into the game and just chose not to play/didn't make it back. Is this the way all pot for players that are not at the table should be played?

Thanks a bunch for your help.


buddy hillhouse 2010-08-03 02:32:52

I'm at the belief that when the bet is called on the river, casino poker, any player at the table, whether in the hand or not, has a right to see both sets of cards, if asked. Is that right or wrong? Thank you

Tony Proctor 2010-07-29 01:55:57

What happens when there is several people in the hand and the first person to act makes a bet and 2 people fold and 2 stay. then there is a bet on the turn and 1 more folds. Then is is noticed that the person making the bets or even raising has 3 cards in his hand. What happens? Do the people that folded get there chips back? Or if your the big blind and 3 people call and then you notice you got 3 cards. Do you get disqualified from play?


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