While specific rules vary from casino to casino, most public poker cardrooms have similar rules and regulations. Refer to the article on betting and the articles on poker variants for detailed discussion of the rules of poker gameplay.

Waiting lists:Most casinos manage table seating on a first-come, first-served basis. During peak periods, there may be long waiting lists for poker seats. Players can normally be on multiple waiting lists (for different types of games and money amounts). In some rooms, players can phone in to get a place on the list, and it will be held for some set amount of time. Players on the list can similarly inform the manager that they’ll be dining, and their places on the list will be held until they return.


While cash often plays, chips are the primary currency of the game. These can usually be purchased from the casino employee dealing the game, or from cashier windows found around the casino. Some casinos employ chip runners to get chips for players. Most public poker room will not allow players to buy chips from other players at the table.

House Fees:

Public card rooms typically charge a fee for conducting the game. The rake is the scaled commission fees taken by a casino operating a poker game. This fee structure is common in low-stakes cash games. For ring games, it is generally 5-10% of each new usa online casinos with no deposit bonuses 2022 hand, up to a predetermined maximum amount. This fee is sometimes referred to as the “drop” since the dealer will drop the rake into a container at the table.

The casino may charge an hourly rate for renting a seat. This fee is referred to a time fee, or in the common parlance of the poker room simply “time.” Time fees might be combined with a rake, but that is not common. Time fees are more common in mid or high stakes games.

For tournaments, the fee is usually 10% of the buy-in. The fee might or might not be spelled out clearly.

Poker is a player versus player game and the house does not wager against its players (unlike blackjack or roulette) so this fee is the principal mechanism to generate revenues.

Common Rules:

Aside from the particular rules of gameplay, some common rules in U.S. public cardrooms include:

Players must protect their hands, either by holding their cards or placing a chip or other object on top of their cards. An unprotected hand may be mucked by the dealer in turn.

Players must act in turn. Players should not telegraph or otherwise indicate intentions to act prior to their turn to act.

In the event of an action out-of-turn, the action may be binding if there is no bet, call or raise between the out-of-turn action and the player’s proper turn.

Verbal declarations are binding and take precedence over non-verbal actions.

Betting actions without a verbal declaration must be made in a single motion or gesture (”no string bet” rule).

Knocking or tapping the table is a check. Tossing or pushing cards away is a fold.

Absent a verbal declaration of “Raise,” if a player puts in chips equal to 50 percent or more of the minimum raise, he will be required to make a full minimum raise. Otherwise, the action is deemed a call and the excess chips should be returned to the player.

In limit games, an oversized chip will be constituted to be a call if the player does not announce a raise. In no-limit, an oversized chip before the flop is a call; after the flop, an oversized chip by the initial bettor put in the pot will constitute the size of the bet. In pot-limit and no-limit, if a player states raise and throws in an oversized chip, the raise will be the maximum amount allowable up to the size of that chip.

Bets should be placed in front of the player’s cards. Chips should not be thrown (splashed) into the pot.

Wagers must be at least the size of the previous bet or raise in that round, unless a player is going all-in.

“Show one, show all” – Hole cards, including folded hands, should not be revealed to other players until showdown. If a player reveals his hole cards to another player active in the current hand, all players have the right to also see the hole cards. Also, if an uncalled winning hand is shown to only one player, then any other player at the table has a right to see the winning hand. Note that, contrary to a common misinterpretation, “show one, show all” does not refer to the number of cards in the hole – an uncalled winning hand may expose a single hole card without revealing the other hole card.

Players may not verbally disclose the contents of their hand.

Players may not advise other players how to play a hand (”One player to a hand” rule).

Cards may not be removed or held below the table or otherwise concealed from view.

Players in hands can not reveal their hole cards to convince other players to fold; if so, the player’s cards are considered a dead hand.

Players must keep their highest denomination chips visible at all times.

Except for small denominations used to tip for food or drinks, players may not remove a portion of their chips from the table (called going south or ratholing) unless they cash out and leave the game. Players must not sell or share chips with another player at the table.

Cards speak for themselves and prevail if a player misstates the value of his hand at the showdown.

Speaking in foreign languages at the table is prohibited.

Players should not discuss or otherwise influence the hand-in-progress after folding.

Cell-phone use at the table is prohibited.

Profanity is prohibited.

Legality in the United States:

The authority to operate public cardrooms in the U.S. is primarily prescribed by state laws, with some Federal laws covering tribal gaming. States usually limit public poker cardrooms to casinos and parimutuel betting facilities (e.g., horse tracks, greyhound tracks, off-track betting (OTB) facilities, and Jai Alai frontons) or tribal reservations.

State laws may limit the type or nature of poker games offered in public cardrooms. For example, North Dakota has a limitation of $25 per individual hand, game or event. In Montana the maximum size of a won pot is $300. Florida requires that in limit games, all bets be no more than $5, while in no-limit games the maximum buyin is $100. In Florida, poker tournaments are exempted from the betting structure rules and may use any betting structure the cardroom wishes. Tournament formats are used to circumvent gambling rules in other states as well. Unlike some other forms of gambling, tribal gaming may be subject to state laws governing poker.