So. California Poker

Tournament Rules
Here are the official rules:
1. The President is to consider the best interest of the game and fairness as the top priority in the decision-making process. Unusual circumstances can, on occasion, dictate that the technical interpretation of the rules be ignored in the interest of fairness. Their decision is final.

2. The action of betting is physically defined as the release of chips after a single, forward motion.

3. Above all, verbal declarations in turn are binding. A player who declares a call, raise, fold, must do so to the limit that the chips allow. If simultaneous declarations are made (tossing in a raise and saying call), the verbal declaration takes precedence.

4. "Out of turn action may be binding."  If there are no aggressive play (raises or bets) prior to their actual turn, then the action is binding.  So, if there are only checks or calls before the player's actual turn, then they must make the intended action.  If there is a bet or raise prior to their actual turn (but after the out of turn action), then the player may act freely.

5. Check-raising (checking, then later raising over a bet) is allowed.

6. String betting (placing out bets with more than one motion without verbally declaring your intention) is forbidden. Any betting motions after the first motion will be dismissed.

7. By stating the word “raise“, a player protects his right to raise, but the raise must be made in one additional motion unless he states the amount.

8. A bet must be at least the amount of the big blind.

9. A raise must be at least the amount of the previous bet.

9a. If a player puts in a bet below the minimum allowed that is equal or above 50%, the player will be required to make a full raise. The raise will be exactly the minimum raise allowed. If a player cannot cover the full minimum raise, he or she must go all-in.

9b. If a player puts in an amount that is less than 50% of the minimum allowed bet, the player is considered to have called and is returned the excess chips.

10. When a player throws in an oversized chip without making a verbal declaration before the flop, an oversized chip is a call, after the flop, an oversized chip by the initial bettor will constitute the size of the bet, after the flop, an oversized chip by a player facing a bet will be considered a call. If a player states just the word “raise” and throws in an oversized chip, the raise will be that amount.

11. A player who is all-in must show his cards at the showdown.

12. In the case of a split pot when there are two or more high hands, the chip(s) will be split as evenly as possible (chips may need to be broken down into smaller denominations) with any odd chip(s) left over given out to the winning player with the worst position (left of the button being the worst).

13. Each side pot will be split as a separate pot. They will not be mixed together before they are split.

14. When a player creates a side pot by going all-in, the side pot will be the current pot plus each call up to the amount of the all-in. Any raises (or calls in the case of a below-the- limit all-in) go into the new pot.

15. At the showdown with a side pot, the player who is all-in can only win the pot set aside when he or she went all-in. After the winner of that hand is resolved, the players involved in the main pot determine the winner without regard to the all-in hand.

16. In case of multiple side pots, a player can only win up to what he put in times the number of calls up to the all-in amount.

17. Players must post blinds and antes before cards are dealt.

18. If a player does not have enough to cover his blind/ante, a side pot is created before cards are dealt and the player can call the ante and part of the blind, the side pot will equal the amount of the ante times the number of player PLUS the amount of the remaining all-in blind times the number of callers. If the player can call all or part of the ante but no part of the blind, the side pot will equal the amount of the all-in times the number of players and the blind will be absent.

19. When heads up, the blinds are reversed. The player on the button has the small blind.

20. In the hand after a big blind is eliminated, the button will move normally and there will be no small blind. The following hand, the button will move into the position where the eliminated player was, creating a dead button situation.

21. In the hand after a small blind is eliminated, the button will move into the position where the eliminated player was, creating a dead button situation.

22. In the hand after both blinds are eliminated, the button will move into the position where the former small blind was and there will be no small blind. The following hand, the button will move into the position where the former big blind was.

23. Through players being eliminated, no player should miss a big or small blind.

24. All chips must be visibly displayed at all times. Players may not have tournament chips in their pockets at any time. A player who has chips in his pocket will forfeit the chips. The forfeited chips will be taken out of play from the tournament. Any other form of “ratholing” will be dealt with similarly.

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

26. There will be no foreign chips allowed on the table.

27. At the request of the dealer, a player must exchange his or her chips for chips of a different denomination.

28. Another player may call for a clock against a player who is taking an unreasonable amount of time to make a decision.

28a. Once a clock is called for, the player with action will be given one minute to make a decision. If a decision has not been made by the time the minute is over, there will be a 10-second countdown. If a player has not acted on his hand by the time the countdown is over, the hand will be dead.

28b. A player who calls "time" will act on the same rules as above.

29. If a live player leaves during a hand, there will be no minute countdown and the hand will be declared dead.

30. A player must be in their seat by the time all players have complete hands in order to have a live hand. Otherwise the blinds/antes will be forfeited and the hand will be killed.

31. If a live hand touches the muck, it will immediately be ruled dead.

32. If a dealer kills an unprotected hand, the player will have no redress and will not be entitled to his money back. An exception would be if a player raised and his raise had not been called yet, he would be entitled to receive his raise back.

33. Dealers cannot kill a winning hand that was turned face up and was obviously the winning hand.

34. Verbally disclosing the true contents of your hand will cause the hand to not be killed but a penalty will be assessed.

35. A player cannot verify the contents of a live hand that was verbally disclosed. Only the President or eliminated players may check those contents after the hand is over, but before the pot has been awarded. If the hand is verified but is not in violation of the previous rule, the contents will not be revealed by the President or eliminated players to anyone.

35a. By definition, verbal disclosure must include the actual ranks or suits, or any synonym to the ranks or suits. Nicknames for specific two-hand combinations like “Big Slick” or “American Airlines” will also constitute verbal disclosure. Furthermore, only a definitive declaration will constitute a verbal disclosure. Language like “may”, “might”, or “could” could nullify a declaration as verbal disclosure.

36. Advising a player how to play a hand may result in a penalty.

37. Verbal declarations as to the content of a player’s hand at the showdown are not binding (cards speak); however at management’s discretion, any player deliberately miscalling his hand to induce other players to reveal their cards may be penalized.

38. Players are obligated to protect the other players in the tournament at all times. Discussing cards discarded or hand possibilities is not allowed.

39. During the initial deal, if any pocket card is exposed due to dealer error, it is a misdeal.

40. A player who exposes his cards during the play may incur a penalty, but will not have his hand killed. If any player at the table saw the exposed cards, any other player has a right to know what the exposed card or cards were. If a player unintentionally exposes his cards during play, his hand will not be ruled dead. If any player at the table saw the exposed card(s), then any other player at the table has the right to know what the exposed card(s) was.

41. At the showdown players begin the show their cards starting with the player to the left of the last to call. A player may “muck” his cards if they cannot win over a previously shown hand. If the house suspects cheating or collusion, you may be asked to expose your cards to the dealer, coordinator, and/or the other players.

42. Any player who is live during the showdown may ask to see both pocket cards from a player who reveals only one.

43. Any player may ask another player to reveal his or her pocket cards if they were exposed to any player at the table.

44. A player may not ask to see both pocket cards from another player who revealed them to a spectator.

45. Penalties available for use by the President are verbal warnings, 1, 2, 3, and 4 Orbits away from the table and may be used with discretion. These may be utilized up to and including disqualification. A player who is disqualified shall have his chips removed from play.

46. A penalty may be invoked if a player exposes any card with action pending, if a card(s) goes off the table, if soft-play occurs, or similar incidents take place. Penalties WILL be invoked in cases of abuse, disruptive behavior, or similar incidents.

47. When time has elapsed in a round and a new round is announced, the new limits apply to the next hand. The hand begins with the first riffle of the card.

48. Excessive stalling during a hand to receive a favorable position prior to a limit change may result in a penalty.

49. As levels progress it may be necessary to exchange chips of a low denomination for chips of a higher denomination. When this happens, players may have odd chips. These are chips which, due to an insufficient sum, cannot be traded to the higher denomination. To determine what happens with these odd chips, a “chip race” is performed by the dealer.

49a. Players trade in their odd chips for an equal value of higher denomination chips.

49b. Any leftover chips that cannot be traded in will be part of the chip race. These chips are placed in the middle and are collectively traded for chips of the next highest value. Any remainder is removed.

49c. Starting with the small blind of the next hand, each player who lost an odd chip is dealt a single card. The highest card wins the race. In the case of a tie, the player who was dealt the high card first will win. (So the first ace dealt wins)

49d. Starting with the winner of the race and continuing around the table, each player who was dealt a card is given a new higher- denomination chip from the middle until there are no chips left in the middle.

50. A player cannot be raced out of a tournament. In the event that a player has only one chip left, and loses the race, he will be given one chip of the smallest denomination still in play.

51. Initial tournament seats will be randomly assigned.

52. One player to a hand. During the hand, a player may not discuss play with other players, spectators, or the dealer.

53. English only at the table.

54. Players may not exchange chips for any reason.

55. A player who wants to use a cellular phone or any communication device must step away from the table.

56. Any player may call for deck changes when proof can be made that certain cards can be construed as “marked”.

57. Rabbit hunting (asking to see additional board cards after play is over) is forbidden as it can give insight into players’ hands by reducing the possible number of unknowns.
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