Each poker tournament has its own set of rules that will govern play. The rules below will apply to all tournament run by Bakersfield Casino Rentals.

It is VERY IMPORTANT before you sit down in a Texas Hold’em tournament that you read the rules beforehand. These will guide you to all the standard rules that will apply in the tournament.

  1. Entrance Fees – All entrance fees are paid before play begins.
  2. Seat Assignment– Your seat will randomly be assigned to you. You will usually be given a card with your table and seat number on it. That is your seat until a tournament director tells you otherwise. Unlike in cash games, there are no seat changes until your table is “broken” as players are eliminated and the remaining players are consolidated.
  3. Starting Stacks– When you arrive at the table your starting stack will be at your seat.
    • Tournament chips have no cash value and you cannot cash out at any point during the tournament.
    • It’s always a good idea to double check your chips against the posted starting stack to make sure you have the correct amount of chips.
    • The total amount of your starting stack varies from tournament to tournament.
  4. Blind Levels – The way tournaments differ from cash games is that the blinds increase at regular intervals.
    • This is to force play and get the action going. You can  get a sheet from a floor person that tells you the schedule of blind increases and what the blinds will be.
    • It’s a good idea to get familiar with the blind structure before playing. If the blinds increase and your dealer has already cut the cards, the blinds will increase on the next hand.
  5. The Deal – The deal proceeds exactly as it does in a cash game. The two players to the left of the button are the small blind and the big blind. After each hand the button moves one seat to the left. The button is determined in the first hand completely randomly by selecting a card from the deck.  Button will go to the highest card.  If two players have the same high card, they will redraw until a high card is determined.
  6. Raises – A Single chip placed on the felt is a call no matter the amount of the chip unless the player calls out the raise.  You need to declare your intent to raise or the amount before making an action. Or bring their chip raise amount into play at the same time. You can’t place chips gradually – This is known as a string bet and would be considered a call.
  7. Verbal Statements – Any statement made during play is binding and you will be held to what you say.  Such as All-In, Raise, etc.  Even if joking.
  8.  SHOWDOWN – Unless everyone folds to one player, the best hand at showdown (showing cards after last betting round post-river) wins the pot. The player who bet on the river should reveal their hand first. The other/s can show or muck/fold their hand and give up the pot.
  9. ACTIONS – Every time cards are dealt or turned on the board, there is an action. Choose to check (do nothing), bet (add chips to the pot), call (match someone’s bet), raise (add even more chips than the bettor), or fold (discard their hand and exit the round). A bet must be at least worth two big blinds. Or if you raise, it must be at least double the previous bet. Each round is only over when all players have acted – either placed their chips, folded or checked around.
  10. Betting out of turn – If you bet before your turn, all chips bet will remain in the pot even if someone raises.  If someone raises you will have the option to match the raise or fold.  You will not get your pre bet back.
  11. Absent Players – All players must be dealt into the hand and their blinds/antes forced into the pot whether they are at the table or not. If the player is not present by the time it is his turn, his hand will be ruled dead and folded.
  12. Folding out of turn – Do not fold your hand out of turn.
  13. Mis-fold – your hand will be considered dead and folded if you mis-fold when you could have checked.  It is not the dealers job to correct you.
  14. Breaking Tables – As players are eliminated the tournament director will start breaking tables in a pre-determined order. If your table breaks, you will be assigned randomly to an empty seat at one of the remaining tables.
  15. All-in Bets – A player who declares himself all in plays for all of the chips in front of him. If the other player has more he is only entitled to an amount equal to his own stack. The same goes for an all-in player that has less than his required blind. He is only entitled to what he put in.
  16. All-in confrontations – When two players are all in and the action is completed, both hands must be exposed face up before the rest of the board is run.
  17. Calling the Clock – A player can request the pit boss to force a player to choose an action in a set amount of time (typically 90 seconds). If the player fails to act in that time, his or her hand is folded. Only a player seated at the table at the time the current hand was dealt can call the clock.
  18. Multiple Busts – If two players go broke on the same hand the player with the greater amount of chips at the start of the hand finishes in the higher position.
  19. Showing Cards – Intentionally exposing a card is illegal in tournament play and a hand can be ruled dead as well as a time penalty issued.
  20. Inappropriate play– Inappropriate play such as swearing and or throwing cards is punishable by a penalty.
  21. Coloring up – The lowest chip denomination in play will be removed from the table when it is no longer needed in the blind or ante structure.All lower-denomination chips will be changed up directly. if you have five $25 chips you would get 2 $100 chips
  22. Hand-for-hand play – As play approaches the bubble (when the money starts) play may go hand for hand. This means that all tables will deal a hand and the next hand will not be dealt until all tables have completed their hand.
  23. Heads up – When two players are left you have reached heads up play. In this scenario the small blind is the button and acts first before the flop but last on all ensuing streets.
  24. Deal-making – In most circumstances players are allowed to make a deal to distribute the remaining prize money at any point. All players must be in agreement as to the altered payouts. Tournament directors will determine an ultimate champion of the tournament based on chip stack at the end of play. Total payouts are divided entirely at the players’ discretion so a player who finishes third or fourth can feasibly take home more money than they otherwise would have .

It is up to you to know the basic Texas Hold’em Tournament Rules when playing in a tournament. Not properly educating yourself can cause you to unknowingly commit an infraction and get penalized or even disqualified!