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Tournament Rules


By playing in a tournament, you agree to follow the rules and to behave in a respectful and well-mannered way. Players caught breaking any rules will be verbally warned, suspended from play for a determined amount of time or disqualified from the tournament. The chips from players who were disqualified will be taken out of the game.

1. When appropriate, all of the rules for live games apply to tournament games as well.

2. Seating at the beginning of the game is determined by a random draw or by assignment. In one-table satellite tournaments, cards are left face-up on the table to assign seating so that earlier entrants can select their seat (the button is given out by chance).

3. You can’t change you seat after play has begun unless a director asks you to move.

4. At the beginning of a tournament, when a player pays for their entry, all of their chips are placed on the table in front of their seat, regardless if they’re physically there or not. Their chips go in the pot every time they have to ante or post a blind, even if they’re not there in person.

5. If a player who has paid their entry and is not present at the beginning of the tournament, after a short time, there will be an attempt made to find the player. If the player had asked that his or her chips be left on the table, then the chips will not be removed and continue to be put in the pot when necessary. If the player did not have a request to keep the chips on the table and they can not be found, then it is up to the director if they should be removed after a higher betting interval is reached or thirty minutes of play has gone by whichever comes first.

6. In case people show up late, a tournament will have a few empty seats with stacks of chips that have been posting the antes or blinds from the beginning of the game so that they’ve been paid for and a player can jump right in and start playing without an unfair advantage of not having paid those antes/blinds. Any seats that haven’t been sold will have their chips removed when the director deems enough time has elapsed.

7. Limits and blinds raise in value in regularly scheduled cycles.

8. When the bell marking the end of the current betting level rings, the new betting level applies to the next deal. A deal starts when the cards are riffled (a type of shuffling) from the last hand. So that means if you’re on the turn, for example, in Texas Hold ‘em, you continue betting at whatever betting level you’re on for the rest of that game. The next hand is when you’ll start the new betting level.

9. If there are chips on the table worth less than the minimum bet when betting is switched to a higher betting level, those chips will be removed from play. The players exchange their chips for other chips in denominations that will be used in the next hand. For each player left with an odd chip, the dealer will deal each one a card for each odd chip they own (before dealing the next player their cards), in a clockwise direction starting with the person in the #1 seat.

10. Players who are not present at the table will be dealt a hand each round and have chips removed from their stack and put in the pot for antes, blinds and forced bets in Lowball.

11. A player has to be at the table in order to stop time by announcing “time.”

12. A player’s hand is declared dead if they are not present when the action comes to them. This also applies when the player who is supposed to post a live blind is not present because they can’t raise if they’re not there.

13. As the tables empty as players become eliminated, they are removed from play (broken) in an order dictated by a list made before the tournament. Players from broken tables are appointed to vacant seats at other tables.

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14. Players are added to a table when necessary to maintain a practical number of players. If there are more than six tables left in the tournament, table size doesn’t differ more than two players. If six tables or less are left, the difference in player number is only one.

15. When the tournament is down to only three tables (and two tables and again at one table), seats are reassigned by a draw. If you’re in a small tournament that only had about four or five tables to begin with, reassigning seats at three tables is not necessary.

16. If a player goes all-in for a bet, loses and then finds one or more hidden chip(s), they are not allowed to bet with those chips. The player is eliminated from play if another player had enough chips to cover the amount of the hidden ones, as in a re-buy. (Re-buys are only permitted in re-buy tournaments (not all tournaments allow re-buys) and if it’s within the specified time period.) If the next deal has not yet begun, the director can rule that the found chips be given to the player who won that hand, as they would have been in the pot if they weren’t hidden. If the next hand is already underway, then the found chips are taken out of the tournament.

17. If a player doesn’t have enough chips for a forced bet or blind, they are allowed to get action on their remaining amount of money. A winning player who made a short blind doesn’t need to pay more to make up for the blind.

18. As soon as you have been eliminated, you have to vacate you seat right away.

19. Do not show your cards from a live hand this puts other players at a disadvantage. Players caught showing their cards will have their hands declared dead and they will be given a penalty. A player is not allowed to expose cards during the deal (unless it’s down to two players).

20. Bad manners, like throwing your cards at the dealer, using foul language or any other unpleasant behavior will not be tolerated and the offending player penalized by not being dealt in a hand for a period of time or disqualified from the event.

21. Do not ask to change the deck during play as it will not be done upon request. Unless there is a marked, damaged card, the deck only changes when the dealers change.

22. In tournaments that use a dealer button, it’s given to the player who’s dealt the high card and will start the game in the ‘starting position.’

23. Players have to post every blind in every hand you can’t opt out of a hand. The dealer button stays where it is until all of the necessary blinds have been posted. This means occasionally the dealer button will remain in front of one player for two hands in a row.

24. If a player sits at a new table in a position that isn’t supposed to post blinds or has the dealer button, they are dealt in immediately. If their seat does have to post a blind bet or has the dealer button, they have to sit out of that hand. They also have to sit out of every hand until the dealer button moves to the person on their left then they can be dealt a hand.

25. When the game comes down to only two players, the person with the dealer button posts the small blind.

26. In Stud games, a misdeal happens if a downcard in someone’s hand is dealt face-up.

27. If a player says they want to buy more chips (re-buy) before the cards have been dealt, they are said to be ‘playing behind’ and are forced to buy the chips.

28. When a player is all-in, all of the players’ hands must be turned over at the showdown.

29. If two or more players are eliminated from the tournament in the same hand, the player who had most money going into the hand finishes above the other players for points and prize money.

30. The director and management are not required to make rulings on side bets, private deals or changes to the distribution of the cash award.

31. It is not encouraged nor condoned for players to make a private deal among themselves to redistribute the cash award. (If they do make one, the director may choose to ensure the new payout scheme is followed.) Any deal that excludes players still in the game can not be used.

32. A tournament is supposed to play until the end. A private deal that eliminates the prize money from the competition is unethical.

33. Management has the right to cancel or make any changes to the tournament as they see fit in a way that’s fair to the players.

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