As a Las Vegas Poker Dealer and Certified Poker Tournament Director, I often see poker players inadvertently violate rules in both live (cash) games and tournaments. A brief study of Poker Rules will greatly improve your table image and help you avoid possible costly penalties or even disqualification.
Know the Basic Poker Rules and Etiquette...
Know the proper mechanics of the game you are playing before you sit down at the table. Understand antes and blinds, position, how to raise and when to act in turn.
Know how to protect your hand! Be especially careful when seated immediately left or right of the dealer as most “accidental” muck incidents involve these positions.
Know how to raise and avoid string bets. Say “raise”, and the amount that you want to raise before putting your chips in the pot.
Know when it's your turn to act, and always play in turn. Don't call, bet or fold unless it's your turn.
Know your position and when it's your turn to post the blinds (and antes).
Know the Applicable TDA Rules...
The Poker Tournament Directors Association (TDA) rules are used in most live poker tournaments and set the standard for tournament poker. TDA rules supplement the House Rules of the casino or card room.
There are currently 54 TDA rules, here are a few samples...
Players may not talk on the phone while at the poker table. House rules apply to all other forms of electronic devices.
25: Rabbit Hunting
No rabbit hunting is allowed. Rabbit hunting is revealing any cards “that would have come” if the hand had not ended.
27: Action Pending
A player must remain at the table if he has a live hand.
You can see the complete TDA Rules at www.pokertda.com.
Know Your House Rules...
Every Casino and Poker Room will have its own unique house rules. House rules generally supersede TDA rules when conflicting rules apply to a situation. Next time you visit the Poker Room, check the house rules to avoid any trouble. They are posted (usually on the wall) near the desk, and often available online or you can request a printed copy.
And Know a few Unwritten Rules...
Always keep your cards and chips on the table in plain view.
Don't splash (throw your chips into) the pot. Place bets in front of you so that they can be counted and verified. The Dealer will then rake the bets into pot after the betting round is complete.
Don't Tap the Glass. Don't criticize the novice players' action and scare the fish away.
Don't talk $#@! All casinos, poker rooms and card rooms prohibit the use of obscene language. “Any player who uses such language or makes a foul, profane, obscene or vulgar statement, or speaks abusively to another player, a dealer or a Tournament staff member, will be penalized or ejected.”
Never comment on the players' cards if you're not in the hand.
Don't switch seats unless asked by an official or leave the table when it's your turn at the blinds.
If you eat or drink at the table, don't make a mess. Don't be a pig...
These rules are in place to insure game integrity. All Players have the right to sit down at the table, and expect that the game is going to be fair.