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Poker Confidential – little-known rules of poker

📁 articles 🕔15.May 2018
Poker Confidential – little-known rules of poker

There are so many rules and conventions that have sprung up around the game of poker in its various forms that it’s nearly impossible to keep track of all of them. Sure, most people know most of the rules, but there are a few that even poker-playing veterans might not have heard of. Today, we’re taking a look at a few of those, starting with:

Splitting an uneven pot

There are a couple of situations in which the pot will need to split between two players. For example, what if the two players in the showdown have the exact same best 5-card hand? Another case could be in a popular variant of poker where the pot is split between the best high hand and the best low hand. In such an instance, the pot could very well end up at an odd number, making a split impossible with the denomination of chips that are being used. Say the pot to be split is worth Rs. 15,025 and the lowest chip in play is worth Rs. 25 – what is the dealer to do?

Fortunately, guidelines on dealing with such a situation have been laid down in official tournament rules – the odd chip is given to the tied player who is closest to the button (in the order of play). So, in the above example, the first player to the left of the button would receive chips worth Rs. 7525 and the other player would receive Rs. 7500.

Initiating the showdown

The river’s out, and multiple players are still in it. It’s a multi-way pot at the showdown; however, everyone hesitates because nobody’s sure who should show their cards first. This matters for two reasons – first, because showing your cards out of turn is one of competitive poker’s biggest no-no’s and second, because players who know that they’re beaten would almost always prefer to fold facedown to avoid giving information to their opponents for future rounds. Who goes first?

If there was betting on the river, the last player to bet or raise must show their hand first come the showdown; and it goes clockwise from there. However, if everybody simply checked the river, then it falls to the small blind to show their hand first and so on in clockwise order.

When betting is mandatory

Did you know that there’s a situation in which you are required to bet by the rules of many poker tournaments? And, in fact, you can get in serious trouble – from financial penalties to being banned from the table – for not doing so?

This mandatory betting applies in the following scenario – if you have the best possible hand (that is, a hand that cannot be beaten with the current board layout) and you are the last player to act on the final betting round, you must either bet or raise. Even just calling the previous bet would contradict this rule. Although this would usually only happen when players don’t realize that they’ve got an unbeatable hand, this rule was instituted to prevent collusion between players; something which is extremely frowned upon in competitive poker.

We hope that you learned a little more about the strange and wonderful world of poker today! Now, we don’t know about you, but we’re inclined to get back to playing!

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