Mike's House Rules

Or is it Mike's House Of Rules???

Poker is fun -- i.e. don't take these rules too seriously; they were written with the intention of keeping the game fair and fun, please read them with that in mind.

General Rules

  1. Food and drink (other than water) shall be the responsibility of all players other than the host. I will provide actual food. Due to popular demand, dinner is now served. Players are still responsible, however, for bringing their own non-water drinks. I may have soda, beer, and/or wine for your consumption, but don't count on it.
  2. One player, usually the host, usually me, shall be the banker, and be the person responsible for maintaining the bank.
  3. Each player shall buy chips from the bank in $5.00 multiples.
  4. Players must pay cash, give a Bank Note, or go into THE BOOK any time they buy chips. This is especially true when players buy chips from each other.
  5. Players should try to buy chips from each other, before buying from the bank.
  6. Bank Notes
  7. THE BOOK contains all poker related debts and only poker related debts. It is kept by me. If I am not present, then the banker shall be responsible for maintaining another, suitable book and all information from this surrogate shall be transferred to THE BOOK at the first available chance. At the end of every session, THE BOOK shall be evaluated in order to consolidate debt. Additionally, only regular players are allowed to carry BOOK debt. In the event that a non-regular player cannot pay, then the person who invited the non-regular shall be responsible for the debt and for the purchasing of the cement shoes for the debtor.
  8. Chips are worth: * Used when other chips of lower value have been exhausted, or when the banker is too lazy to count out enough lower chips.
  9. There is a $0.20 penalty for jumping the bet, to be put instantly into the pot. This does not include folding before it is your turn, although this is discouraged, too. For match pot games, this penalty shall not be included in the calculation of the pot that players have to match.
  10. There will be one warning per session before the above rule is invoked -- that's once per session NOT once per player.
  11. Ties are never broken by looking at anything outside of the cards used to create the hand, or by anything as artificial as suit ordering, number of wild cards, etc.
  12. Goal-Posting:
  13. In "1-2-3-Drop" games, if a player hesitates before dropping the cards, then that player is considered in. Similarly, if a player who did not drop the cards "accidentally" stayed in, then that player is considered in, too. This, however, is not a hard-and-fast rule, the other players can unanimously decide to allow the player to be out. If a player "accidentally" drops, sorry, you dropped, hold them tighter next time.
  14. The banker is the first dealer, and dealing rotates to the left.
  15. The player sitting on the banker's right shall be the last dealer. No player may leave until after the last dealer has dealt the same number of hands as the first.
  16. At then end of the session, all chips that players have must be turned in for cash. If a player's chips do not add up to an even dollar amount, then the left over chips are put into the final pot. After all players have turned in their chips, one last hand (dealer's choice) is dealt for the left over chips in the final pot. Note, there is no betting and the pot should add up to an even dollar amount.
  17. Cards talk; i.e. players' cards determine their hands. This means players show their hands, and the best hand that can be made is the one that is used -- this may be better or worse than what the player thought. Please note that this is not the same "Cards Talk" as the Cards Talk in the High-Low Split rules.
  18. Five card hands are evaluated in the following order (from highest to lowest):
    1. Five-of-a-kind (only possible if there are wild cards)
    2. Straight Flush
    3. Four-of-a-kind
    4. Full House
    5. Flush
    6. Straight
    7. Three-of-a-kind
    8. Two Pair
    9. Pair
    10. High Card
  19. Three card hands are evaluated in the following order (from highest to lowest):
    1. Three-of-a-kind
    2. Straight Flush (optional)
    3. Straight (optional)
    4. Flush (optional)
    5. Pair
    6. High Card
  20. If the deck runs out of cards before the deal can be completed and there's no fair way to deal common cards, then the players still in must unanimously decide on the proper course of action, or the hand is considered a misdeal, players throw in their hands, and the game is re-dealt to the players that were still in at the time that the deck ran out. One way is to re-shuffle any discarded cards and folded hands, although this is generally not acceptable.

Low Hands

  1. When evaluating low hands, straights and flushes count. Thus, a wheel, namely A-2-3-4-5, is not a perfect low unless the game requires an 8 or better for the low.
  2. In general, the perfect low is A-2-3-4-6 in at least two suits.
  3. A pair of Aces is lower than a pair of Deuces. A pair of Deuces is lower than a pair of Aces. This rule was changed after putting it to a vote the first time it came up. I still think that the other way makes more sense, but the majority of people I've asked think that a single Ace can go low or high, but multiple Aces should only be able to go high. You win.
  4. Some games only allow 8 or better low hands (also known as casino low). This means that in order for a hand to be eligible for the low it must be unpaired and contain no card higher than an eight. In this case, straights and flushes do not count against a low hand, and therefore, the perfect low hand becomes A-2-3-4-5 in any number of suits. The rules of the game or the dealer must specifically state when lows must be 8 or better; however, the dealer, as a courtesy, should always remind players at the beginning of the game.

High-Low Split

  1. Cards Talk:
  2. Declaring:
  3. If there is an uneven amount of money in the full pot making it impossible to equally split it in half, the extra amount goes to the player who won the high half.
  4. If there is an uneven amount of money in one half of the pot that must be split between two or more players, the extra amount is returned to the center of the table and will be included in the pot of the next game.

Wild Cards

  1. Wild Cards, by definition, can take on the rank or suite of any card, even if that card is already in a player's hand. The only exception to this rule is for ranking Flushes: a wild card may not be used to duplicate a card already being used in the Flush.
    Here are a couple of examples, if that isn't clear to you:
    If a player has: A, A, A, wild, wild, then that player's best hand is 5 Aces.
    If a player has 4 Hearts: A, J, 9, 7, and a wild, then that player's best hand is an A, K, J, 9, 7 Flush and not an A, A, J, 9, 7 Flush.
  2. Wild cards, not dictated by the game being played, must be declared by the dealer prior to dealing.
  3. If "lowest" cards are wild: Again, if that wasn't clear, here's an example: the game is 7-Stud, 3s and lowest hole cards are wild; one player's hand is (4,4,3),K,4,7,9 and another player's hand is (A,A,A),2,3,6,J -- note that the cards in () are the players' hole cards. The first player must use the 3 as the lowest wild card, even though it's already wild, and has four 4s. The second player has all Aces down, so they are wild, and has five Jacks -- the 3 up is also wild.
  4. In low hands, unless otherwise stated by the game being played, wild cards do not have to "pair" up; they can take on any value.

Unless The Dealer/Game States Otherwise

  1. The rules for all games that are defined in this document are the rules of the game.
  2. The rules for games not in this document must be stated by the dealer when the game is called.
  3. For games that require an ante, it is the lowest unit bet (a white chip), and is put in by each player before the first card is dealt. Baltimore Exception: only the first ante and re-antes are put in by each player; subsequent antes are paid by the winner(s) of the last pot. We're a friendly bunch in Baltimore, and hate to add insult to injury. Actually, there's usually a lot of insults, but verbal not fiscal. NOTE: The Baltimore Exception now applies in Bethesda. We're friendly there, too; besides I like this rule a lot.
  4. There is a maximum of 3 raises per betting round (this does not include the opener) unless only two players remain, in which case heads-up play ensues, i.e. there is no maximum number of raises since either player can simply call and end the raising.
  5. Minimum bet is set to $0.00 for games that do not say otherwise.
  6. Minimum raise is set to $0.05 for games that do not say otherwise.
  7. Maximum bet and maximum raise are both set to $0.50 for games that do not say otherwise.
  8. You cannot raise your own bet.
  9. You can raise after you have checked; also known as sandbagging or check-raising.
  10. Ties split the pot, unless the the rules of the game specifically state goal-posting. If the pot cannot be split evenly, then the left over money shall remain in the pot for the next game.
  11. Betting rounds start with the highest hand showing. In draw games, where no cards are exposed, the betting starts to the left of the last raiser/better. In the remaining situations where no cards are exposed, then the betting starts with the last raiser/better or, in cases where there is no last raiser/better, the player to the dealer's left.


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