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How to host a no-limit Texas Hold'em poker tournament in your home

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Poker House Rules

Every poker room has it's own unique set of poker rules - these rules are referred to as the 'house rules'. The house rules are usually printed on a piece of paper or posted on a sign near the entrance to the poker room. House rules are needed because every poker venue will require at least a couple rules that are specific to that location - rules such as whether smoking is allowed, whether the 'Dead Button' or 'Moving Button' rule is used, is check-raising allowed, can players show their cards, and do the cards speak for themselves?

It's always a good idea to have the rules in writing before you begin any game, let alone a game such as poker where money is wagered! Make sure you have a printed copy of Robert's Rules of Poker as well as a printed copy of your own house rules. Do not print a customized poker rule book that contains your altered rules - imagine a new player showing up at a poker room and being told that "The altered rules are in that 62 page rule book over there!". It is much better to use a 'standard' poker rule book, such as Robert's Rules of Poker, and a one-page summary of your own house rules. New players can simply be informed that "We use Robert's Rules except for those house rules posted on the wall".

Here is a plain text file (.txt) of the HPT Poker House Rules. There is no copyright on this document and you can use this collection of rules to create your own house rules. Be warned that you cannot use all the rules included in the file since some are contradictory. Cut & paste the rules that you want to use or import the entire file into MS Word (Insert | File) or any other word processor and then make all the changes that you want.

Home Poker Tourney House Rules

  • Please check your firearms at the door.
  • No smoking. No spitting. No farting upwind.
  • The house has the authority to close any game at any time.
  • The house has the authority to remove any player, at any time, for any period of time.
  • The 'dead button' rule will be used.
  • Do not place anything on the poker table except your cards, your chips, and your drink.
  • Keep your cards and chips on the poker table and in plain view. Keep your big chips out front.
  • Never touch another player's cards or chips.
  • Do not splash the pot.
  • Do not bend or mark the cards.
  • Only one player to a hand.
  • Players may not show their live cards.
  • Players who are all-in must reveal their hands when no further action is possible.
  • The cards speak for themselves.
  • Do not reveal your folded cards, either physically or verbally.
  • String bets are not allowed.
  • Check-raising is acceptable and ... encouraged!
  • Unless you suspect cheating, please do not ask to view a hand that has been called.
  • No rabbit hunting (seeing what the next cards would have been).
  • Chopping (splitting) blinds is not permitted.
  • Straddle bets are not permitted.
  • Insurance is not permitted.
  • Only the English language may be spoken at the table.
  • No speaking on the phone at a table.
  • Be kind to the dealer and to other players.
  • Immediately inform the Tournament Director when a player has been eliminated.
  • No cheating! Remember, a Smith & Wesson beats five aces!

Poker House Rules

House & Property

  • No smoking.
  • No strong perfumes or scents.
  • No consumption of illegal intoxicants.
  • No swearing.
  • No sexist talk.
  • No hitting on another player, especially my wife.
  • Please park in the rear.
  • Please car-pool. Please designate a driver.
  • Please bring your own chair.
  • Please use a coaster under your drink, it helps protects the table.
  • Hats are encouraged (glaring overhead lights).
  • Sunglasses are not allowed.

At the Table

  • Only the English language may be spoken at the table.
  • Be kind to the dealer and to other players.
  • No side bets allowed on the poker action.
  • No speaking on a phone at the table.
  • Hats are encouraged due to glaring overhead lights.
  • Sunglasses are not allowed.
  • Do not bend or mark the cards.
  • Keep your cards and chips on the table and in plain view. Keep your big chips out front.
  • Never touch another player's cards or chips.
  • Do not place anything on the poker table except your cards, your chips, and your drink.
  • Try not to encroach upon your neighbor’s space.
  • Talk is permitted. Players not in the hand should refrain from influencing the play.

The Game

  • There is never any rake.
  • The house has the authority to close any game at any time.
  • The house has the authority to remove any player, at any time, for any period of time, for any violation of any rule.
  • The 'Dead button' rule will be used. (Use this rule or the rule directly below)
  • The 'Moving button' rule will be used. (Use this rule or the rule directly above)
  • Do not 'read' the board possibilities out loud. Example - "A flush is now possible".
  • The One Chip rule will be used.
  • No rabbit-hunting (seeing what the next card(s) would have been).
  • Unless you suspect cheating, please do not ask to view a hand that has been called.
  • Do not ask for deck changes.
  • Chopping (splitting) blinds is not permitted.
  • Straddle bets are not permitted.
  • Insurance is not permitted.

The Action

  • Do not act out of turn.
  • Act in an appropriate amount of time when it is your turn.
  • Please verbally announce your betting action.
  • Do not splash the pot.
  • Check-raising is acceptable and ... encouraged!
  • String bets are not allowed.
  • Only one player to a hand.
  • Players may not show their live cards.
  • A player who shows one card must show both cards.
  • Players who are all-in must reveal their hands.
  • The cards speak for themselves.
  • Do not 'slow-roll'. Turn over your winning hand promptly.
  • Immediately inform the Tournament Director when a player is eliminated.
  • Do not reveal your folded cards, either physically or verbally.
  • Never reveal another player's mucked cards!

Non-tournament House Rules

  • If you must leave early, please announce it at the beginning of the night. Don't take the money and run!
  • The game is played for 'table stakes' and as such, a player may not be forced out of hand for a lack of money. To complete the hand, a player will be allowed to go all-In.
  • A 'cap' of three (3) raises is allotted per betting round. Note: Some houses allow 4 raises instead of 3.
  • If there are only two remaining players, playing 'heads up,' then raises are unlimited.
  • Minimum buyin is at least ten times (10x) the highest stakes of the game.
  • For Pot Limit and No-Limit games the minimum buyin is at least ten times (10x) the big blind but no more than fifty times (50x) the big blind. The minimum rebuy is at least ten times (10x) the big blind. When you rebuy into a pot limit/no limit game, you may not exceed the maximum buyin/rebuy limit.
  • Short buys are not permitted. The only exception to this rule is a player who has already bought into the game for the minimum, and wants to add chips but does not have enough money to buy the minimum. That player will be allowed to add as many chips as he has money left.
  • Low is none, high is one, both ways is two chips in your hand. If a player opens his hand, or begins to open his hand, and realizes that he made an incorrect declare, it must stand as declared.

Humorous House Rules

  • Please check your firearms at the door.
  • Please car-pool. The more you drink, the more I win!
  • I don’t play poker in your toilet, please don’t pee in my laundry tub!
  • No smoking. No spitting. No farting upwind.
  • Please return the outhouse seat to the 'down' position after use.
  • If you can't buy it in a case, you might want to re-consider bringing your brand of "beer" to my house.
  • You may be asked (forced!) to deal some day. Learn how to deal.
  • No fights allowed inside the house. Outdoor fights allowed only after all side bets have been made.
  • No cheating! Remember, a Smith & Wesson beats five aces!

Here is a plain text (txt) file of the above HPT Poker House Rules.

Links to Other Poker House Rules

Mike's House Rules

I am always looking for more house rules to add to this collection.
Feel free to contact me with any suggestions.

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