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.
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.
- One player, usually the host, usually me, shall be the banker,
and be the person responsible for maintaining the bank.
- Each player shall buy chips from the bank in $5.00 multiples.
- 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.
- Players should try to buy chips from each other, before buying
from the bank.
- Bank Notes
- A Bank Note is any suitable scrap of paper with a dollar
amount and a unique identifier of the debtor written on it.
Usually, the letters 'B' 'O' and an initial will do (e.g.
"BOF" could stand for "Bank Of Foobar").
- I reserve the identifier BOG, although you'll
be hard pressed to find anyone who has ever held one.
- Bank Notes must be committed into THE BOOK at the end of
the poker session or lose their value.
- 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.
- 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.
- White = $0.05 (Nickel)
- Red = $0.10 (Dime)
- Blue = $0.25 (Quarter)
- Yellow* = $0.50 (Fifty)
- Black* = $1.00 (One Dollar)
- Green* = $5.00 (Five Dollars)
- 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.
- There will be one warning per session before the above
rule is invoked -- that's once per session NOT once
- 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.
- In general, ties are split evenly, however, some
games/dealers may state that ties goal-post.
- This means that no player has the absolute best hand
(they tied someone).
- If players goal-post, then NO player is entitled to the
portion of the pot that those players would have won,
and that portion of the pot remains for the next game.
- Goal-posters will be treated as losers, and are subject
to all rules that any other loser is subject to
(e.g. matching pot, burning, beatings...).
- The rules for goal-posting override any other rules that
may seem to conflict.
- 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.
- The banker is the first dealer, and dealing rotates to the left.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Five card hands are evaluated in the following order (from
highest to lowest):
- Five-of-a-kind (only possible if there are wild cards)
- Straight Flush
- Full House
- Two Pair
- High Card
- Three card hands are evaluated in the following order (from
highest to lowest):
- Straight Flush (optional)
- Straight (optional)
- Flush (optional)
- High Card
- 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.
- 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.
- In general, the perfect low is A-2-3-4-6 in at least two suits.
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.
- 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.
- Cards Talk:
- Some high-low games allow players to simply show their
hands in the end.
- The pot is then split between the players with the highest
and the lowest hands that can be made.
- Some high-low games ask players to declare which way
they are going. This is done after what would normally
be the final betting round in straight high or straight
low. Some games have a final betting round after declaring,
but most of mine don't.
That's not to say they can't. I've come across rules
for the same games I have listed here that state there is
a betting round following declaring.
- Each player, still in, takes two chips below the table
(any denomination will do). Then each player will bring
one fist above the center of the table. The dealer will
say "1-2-3-declare," and on the word "declare" all players
will open their hands, palm up, to reveal the number of
chips they are holding.
- The number of chips held denotes which half of the pot the
player is trying to win, as follows:
- Zero chips to win the low half of the pot.
- One chip to win the high half of the pot.
- Two chips to win the entire pot. This is
known as Going-Both-Ways or Pigging. See below.
- Going-Both-Ways (Pigging):
- Some people just aren't happy winning just one of two
halves of a split pot. Such a greedy person can win
the whole pot iff they have the best hand for each
half. These people are known as piggers.
- This gets pretty complicated. Essentially, we punish
piggers who tie or lose to someone else by denying
the pigger any claim to the pot. If a pigger ties or
loses to a non-pigger for one side of a hand, then the
best non-pigger wins that half. The other half goes to
the best player (other than the pigger) who sought the
other half. The pigger wins nothing.
- If two piggers tie either side, neither wins anything.
Note that if the two piggers tie either side and there
is no one else in the showdown, the pot remains to the
- If a pigger can make more than one hand at the time of
showdown, the pigger can use one set for the high half
and a different set for the low half.
- If the pigger has any Aces, then when evaluating for the
high half they are considered one better than a king and
for the low half they are considered one below a Deuce.
- 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.
- 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, 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.
- Wild cards, not dictated by the game being played,
must be declared by the dealer prior to dealing.
- 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.
- Players must use the lowest card eligible at the time
of the showdown as their wild card, and cannot
disregard their lowest cards in favor of others.
- If a player's lowest card happens to be wild for some
other reason, then it still counts as that player's lowest
- Aces cannot be wild, even in games where A-5 straights
are possible, unless all of the cards that are eligible
to be wild are Aces.
- In low hands, unless otherwise stated by the game being played,
wild cards do not have to "pair" up; they can take on any
- The rules for all games that are defined in this document
are the rules of the game.
- The rules for games not in this document must be stated by
the dealer when the game is called.
- 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.
- 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.
- Minimum bet is set to $0.00 for games that do not say otherwise.
- Minimum raise is set to $0.05 for games that do not say otherwise.
- Maximum bet and maximum raise are both set to $0.50 for
games that do not say otherwise.
- You cannot raise your own bet.
- You can raise after you have checked; also known as
sandbagging or check-raising.
- 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.
- 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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