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Hold'em Poker Rules & Etiquette

Hold'em Poker Rules

Below are the rules that apply to each NPPL tournament. If you would like to print these and keep a copy, or maybe use them for your own home game, highlight the text and in your printer menu, click "Selection", then print.

  • 1. All Players must be registered members of the National Pub Poker League.
  • 2. Minimum age to play is 18. Each location reserves the right to set the minimum age requirement.
  • 3. Player start stacks may differ by region. Blinds will rise according to the blind schedule.
  • 4. NPPL reserves the right to change the blind schedule due to venue time restraints.
  • 5. NPPL format may differ by region.
  • 6. Late players will start with a reduce starting stack or will be seated at dead stacks if there are dead stacks in play.
  • 7. During the breaks, the floor person will color up, by removing the lower denominations chips. Any odd number amount of chips will be rounded up to speed up play.
  • 8. To determine the first dealer position of each table, cards will be spread face down and each player will draw one card. The player with the highest valued card will start the deal. In the event that two or more player draw the same valued card, those players will redraw until one card value is higher than the other.
  • 9. The deal will rotate clockwise.
  • 10. Player's are required to post their blinds. When a player is absent from the table for any reason, their blind will be posted by the current dealer from the absent players stack.
  • 11. The small blind is posted by the player immediately to the left of the dealer. The big blind is posted by the player two seats to the left of the dealer.
  • 12. If the first hole card dealt is exposed, a misdeal results. The dealer will retrieve the card/s, reshuffle, and recut the cards. If any other hole card is exposed due to a dealer error, the deal continues. The exposed card may not be kept. After completing the hand, the dealer replaces the card with the top card on the deck, and the exposed card is then used for the pre-flop burncard. If more than one hole card is exposed, this is a misdeal and there must be a re-deal.
  • 13. New players to a table must take a hand, unless the seat they are taking will be the small blind or the dealer position. In these situations the player must wait for the dealer button to pass.
  • 14. The dead button rule applies. This means that whoever had the small blind the previous hand will receive the button regardless of whether or not the player is still at the table.
  • 15. If the flop is prematurely exposed, the boardcards are returned to the remainder of the deck, reshuffled, recut, and dealt out in the normal sequence. The burn card stays on the table. If the turn card is prematurely exposed, the dealer burns again and deals what would have been the river card in the turn cards place. The card that was exposed is then reshuffled into the remainder of the deck and the river card is dealt without a burn card (as there have already been two burn cards).
  • 16. When two players are left at the table the dealer will always be small blind.
  • 17. When a player is absent, the dealer will always deal the absent player in. When the action gets to this player, that player's hand will be mucked. (The dealer will always deal to the chips not the players)
  • 18. If a player does not have enough chips to call a bet or place a blind, that player can go ALL IN. If this occurs, the other players with chips left will continue the hand and bet into a side pot.
  • 19. When a player goes ALL IN and the bet is called by one player, the remaining player will turn cards face up for the showdown and continue the hand.
  • 20. Once a player has lost all his/her chips they are required to leave the table if the seat is needed.
  • 21. If two or more players are eliminated on the same hand, the player with most chips at the start of the hand will finish in the higher position.
  • 22. The dealer is responsible for placing the burn cards and muck cards in the muck pile. If at any time a player's hand is either accidentally or purposely thrown in the muck pile the cards are dead and cannot be played in that hand.
  • 23. No one can turn over any of the burn or muck cards at any time during the hand.
  • 24. Chips are to remain on the table at all times unless the player is being moved to another table.
  • 25. Cards must remain above the table at all times.
  • 26. Any advice on a hand must come from the Floor Person. No other players may give advice on how to play a hand.
  • 27. Please adhere to all poker etiquette. This includes splashing the pot, information about your hand, and string bets.
  • 28. The only player that may touch the chips in the pot is the acting dealer. If you need to make change from the pot, state your intentions and get permission from the acting dealer.
  • 29. All bets and raises must be equal to or greater than the previous bet or raise for that betting round (bet OR raise, they are two different rules of play).
  • 30. The acting dealer must shuffle the deck at least three times. The player to the right of the dealer will make the cut.
  • 31. Any inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated. The floor person reserves the right to ask any player to leave the table and tournament. The hosting establishment always reserves the right to ask anyone to leave their place of business at any time.
  • 32. The NPPL reserves the right to right cancel, change, or alter the event at any time.
  • 33. At NO time, at any NPPL event, is currency of any kind allowed on the poker table.
  • 34. The tournament Floor Person has final decision on all disputes.

The following actions are considered improper and at times may be grounds for a warning, penalty or expulsion from the game:

  • Deliberately acting out of turn.
  • Deliberately splashing chips into the pot.
  • String betting.
  • Reading a hand for another player at the showdown before it has been placed face up on the table.
  • Revealing the contents of a live hand in a multihanded pot before the betting is complete.
  • Needlessly stalling the action of a game.
  • Deliberately hiding larger value chips from view of the other players, or having a 'dirty stack'.
  • Making statements or taking action that could unfairly influence the course of play, whether or not the offender is involved in the pot.
  • Commenting on the cards you threw away.
  • Commenting on the community cards, e.g. "The board just paired, someone could have a full house!" It is a player's responsibility to read the board.
  • Deliberately calling your hand incorrectly - this can lead to other players mucking winning hands.
General rules to maintain etiquette:
  • There should only be ONE (1) player to a hand at all times. You cannot give someone advice on how they should play their hand. If someone would like advice, the Host is the only person permitted to give it.
  • Verbalize your actions at all times.
  • Talk about a hand after it is completed, but don't comment on other players style of play.
  • Remember that even if you have friends at the table, this is not your own home game and other players may not be comfortable with some of your comments, actions or behaviour. Exercise common manners at all times.
    Above all, remember that we are here for fun and to Eat, Drink & Play!

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