Players > Our Poker Tournaments > Rules & Etiquette > Tournament Rules

Tournament Rules

The policy at Riverchasers is to ensure that a Tournament Host (TH) is present at each tournament to set up the game equipment, manage the progress, assist players with any questions, make rulings on actions when in question, and record the results for the players to view online.  A TH is not permitted to compete in any tournament they are hosting.  The TH is a representative of the venue while hosting the poker tournament. 

Interested in being a Tournament Host?  Contact us!   HR@Riverchasers.com

In the event that a venue has chosen to host the tournament on their own, they may implement a Tournament Assistant Player (TAP).  A TAP is permitted to participate in the poker tournament, earn points, and win prizes.  In these cases, a guideline to hosting the tournament, a rulebook, and a system of checks and balances are made available to ensure that the tournaments are being hosted with the utmost of integrity.  The HOST GUIDE can be found inside the Tournament Equipment container at each Venue. 

An example of this check and balance system is during a color up process, all chips are to be placed on the table in plain view of multiple players in order for validation and agreement of the values being colored up.  All chip exchanges take place at the table in front of multiple players to ensure integrity.  If you are participating in one of these types of events and wish to become part of the “Tournament Assistant” team at that venue, please contact the venue manager and Riverchasers to discuss your interest in the opportunity. 

Interested in being a Tournament Assistant Player?  Contact us!   HR@Riverchasers.com

Due to the overwhelming variety of "house" rules that players may play by, the TH will have the final decision in any hand dispute.  Our rules are a combination of Robert's Rules of Poker, casino tournament rules, and our own that have all been blended together to give the TH the ability to modify the literal interpretation of a ruling in the interest of fair play and with holding the "spirit of the event" as its highest priority.  The host has the absolute authority to remove tournament playing chips from any player whom they consider to be a detriment to the tournament or is conducting themselves in an illegal, disrespectful, or unsavory manner.

We expect all Tournament Hosts to represent Riverchasers to the highest and would appreciate any and all feedback: PlayersMatter@riverchasers.com

Be a teacher, not an enforcer.

Please remember that we were all new players at one point and a TH/TAP may give a new player "a pass" if he/she violates a rule.  Our goal is to help educate, not punish.  Therefore once a player has received "a pass" for violating a rule, the TH/TAP may enforce that rule more strictly the next time.

We play free poker for many reasons; learn the game, win prizes, meet with friends, but most importantly, to Have Fun.  Let's not forget that. 

-The Riverchasers Team


GENERAL RULES

1.  Players must be 21 years of age or older and must show proof of age upon request.
2.  In a split pot situation, if there is a chip that cannot be split equally between the players involved, the odd chip will go to the active player left of the dealer button. 
3.  Showdown
    A.
Order of Showdown:  Upon completion of action on the final betting round, the dealer shall ask the players to show their hands.  If there has been a bet but no raise on the final betting round, then the player who made the bet shall show his hand first, followed by other players still contesting the pot, in clockwise rotation. If there has been a bet and raise or multiple raises on the final betting round, then the person who made the final raise shall show his hand first. If there has been no bet on the final round then the showdown begins with the player who had the obligation of first action on the final betting round.
    B. Request to see Cards: All cards will be turned face up once a player is all in and all action is complete.  In an effort to promote fair play, if a player prefers to muck his/her cards at showdown, any player dealt in to the hand at the table may request the cards to be shown after the pot has been awarded to the winner of the hand. By asking to see a player’s mucked cards at showdown, you are doing one of two things:
       a. trying to gain knowledge of a player’s hole cards without having “paid” for them by staying in the hand until showdown. This is frowned upon in casino play and we prefer to limit this request to one time per player per tournament.  It is considered bad etiquette at the table, or
       b. you are validating that the mucked cards are not the winning hand, as you are accusing the player of “chip dumping” (cheating by purposely folding a winning hand to another player at the table).  This is also considered bad etiquette and should only be done so with good reason.  If you believe a player to be colluding with another, please contact the Tournament Host and discuss your reasoning with him or her.  
4.  The one-player-to-a-hand rule will be enforced.
5.  All chips and cards must be visibly displayed at all times. Players may not have tournament chips in their pockets at any time. A player who has concealed chips in a pocket will forfeit the chips. The forfeited chips will be taken out of play.
6.  If a player or dealer mucks 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.
7.  Players cannot kill (muck) a winning hand that was turned face up and was obviously the winning hand.
8.  Players are obligated to protect the other players in the tournament at all times. Discussing mucked cards or hand possibilities is not allowed.
9.  The best hand wins, whether or not the player knows he/she has the winning hand. 
10.  A player who purposely exposes his cards during the play will be warned.  Multiple occurrences will have his hand mucked.  An accidental exposure will be handled by the tournament host with fairness and in good faith.
11.  Verbally disclosing the contents of your hand or advising a player how to play a hand may result in a dead hand, and multiple occurrences may result in disqualification.
12.  We do not have professional dealers at each table, and sometimes cards are mucked inadvertently, action takes place out of turn, or cards are exposed in good faith but are technically a premature exposure.  Accidents do happen because of the unique setup of some of our game tables.  In an effort to promote fair play, any situation in which a professional dealer or a full size poker table may have helped prevent the incident from taking place will have bearing on how the TH makes his/her ruling. 

13. SEATING

**UPDATED / EXPANDED RULES
   A. Seating is on a first come, first serve basis.  Each player may only save one additional seat other than his/her own for a specific player coming to the event.  Seats may not be saved for anonymous players.  Five minutes before the start of the tournament any seats that are being saved for players who have not arrived may be used by the tournament host to seat players who have arrived and do not yet have a seat.  Seating may be assigned at the tournament host’s discretion if necessary.  Seating may also be assigned for all players at special events. 
    B. Waiting list policy:  If any venue reaches seating capacity, the tournament host may start the tournament a maximum of 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start time.  It is the responsibility of the player to be in his/her seat when the tournament starts.  Also, regardless of start time, the first blind level may be extended to a maximum of 15 minutes past the scheduled blind raise time in order to accommodate additional players on the waiting list.  This structure begins at the start of the tournament.  The second blind level length may also be reduced to adjust for the extension of the first level.
    C. Table consolidation and moving players to new seats "IN POSITION":  When consolidating tables Tournament Hosts will attempt to move all players to a similar position at their next table.  Most casino tournaments do not use this method.  We use it as much as possible as we understand that our blind structure is meant to limit the tournament to a specific time-length and having to pay multiple blinds in a row may have a negative (or positive) impact on your tournament results.  Please do not be upset if this situation happens to you.  The system is not perfect but it is better than random seating. 
    D1. High-carding for deal when new players join the table:  If all players are sat in a similar position from their previous table, high-carding for deal is NOT required.  In the event that three or more players join a table and are not in a similar position, the players will high-card for deal.  All players will play in the following hand after a high-card has been dealt. 
    **D2.  Players will always High-Card to start the Final Table.
    E. Posting Blinds: Players moving to a new table that is NOT being high-carded for dealer cannot play in the small blind or button position unless they were being moved from that position at their previous table (a position move), but will play in every other position, including big blind.  A player cannot choose to skip the big blind in tournament play.
    F. Late Players: Players may be seated in the tournament up until the start of the 3rd blind level and may receive a chip deduction based on the time period he/she enters into the tournament, regardless of whether or not the player arrived at the event prior to the start time of the event.  Seating is not guaranteed at any event. 
    **G. Courtesy Dealing: If the Small Blind of the hand is eliminated from the tournament (he/she would have been in the Dealer position the following hand), the player who dealt that hand will become a "Courtesy Dealer" and will also deal the next hand in the absence of the appropriate dealer.  If a new player is moved into the open seat to the left of the Courtesy Dealer prior to the start of the hand and it does not interrupt the posting of the appropriate blinds, then the new player may assume the "Courtesy Dealer" position and deal that hand.  This may vary from casino rules as the intent of this rule is to have as many players play each hand as possible, without taking away the Dealer Position from a player when it is their position to Deal.  In this case, the dealer position is absent and therefore you are not taking the dealer position away from any player. 
    **H. THE RULE OF TWO - Table Balancing and Consolidation:  If there is a difference of two (2) players from the largest table and the smallest table, play will continue and table balancing or consolidation is NOT required.  If the difference between the largest and smallest seated table becomes three (3) or more, then tables will be consolidated or balanced as available at that time.  During this time of balancing and consolidation, play will continue for all tables with five (5) or more players unless the Host/TAP announces otherwise  If at any time a table has four (4) players, play at that table should be halted until the table is consolidated.  The Rule of Two does not apply to the final two tables of a tournament when one table reaches four (4) players.  If the second table has six (6) or more players, then table balancing will take place. 

14. BETTING

    A. All starting bets must be at least the size of the big blind. 
    B. A minimum Full Raise is the larger value of either the Big Blind or the value of a previous raise in that betting round.
Example:  Blinds 5/10; Player 1 bets 50;   Player 2 raises 75, making a total bet of 125 (50 + 75).  The new minimum raise is now 75.  If Player 3 would like to re-raise, his total minimum bet must be 200 (125 bet + 75 minimum raise)
    C. A Full Raise is one that is equal to or greater than the previous Raise and it re-opens betting and Raising for all players whom have already acted.
    D. A Incomplete Raise is one that is less than 50% of the previous raise, can only be made by going all-in, and does not re-open betting for players whom have already acted.
    E. A Complete Raise is one that is greater than or equal to 50% of the previous raise but less than 100% of a Full Raise.  This can only be made by going all-in and it re-opens betting for players whom have already acted.
    F. Any player whom has not yet acted in a hand has the right to Raise and any player that has acted has the right to raise if betting has been re-opened by another player’s Full or Complete Raise.
   G. String bets -
When Raising, a player must either put the amount of the raise out in one motion or state the raise amount. By stating the word Raise, a player protects his right to Raise, but the Raise must be made in one additional motion unless the amount of the Raise is stated.
   H. Acting out of turn - Players who deliberately act out of turn are subject to our Poker Etiquette rules.  Mistaken out of turn action will be held binding if the action has not been changed by the player(s) who were skipped.  Action is changed when the bet amount is changed by a player who was skipped.

15. DEALING / MISDEALS

    A. During the deal
– It will be declared a misdeal if the first or second card of the deal is exposed.  Cards will be reshuffled and re-dealt.
    B. During the deal – If any card is exposed during the deal following the second card dealt, continue the deal as if nothing was wrong.  At the end of the deal, replace the exposed card with the first burn card.  Continue play.  If two (2) cards are exposed during the deal, it will be declared a misdeal.  Cards will be reshuffled and re-dealt.
    C.  Premature Flop – If the flop is dealt prior to the completion of the first betting round, the betting will complete and the flop (not including the burn card) will be reshuffled in the deck, the deck will be cut, and the top three cards will become the new flop (no new burn card is needed).  If the flop is dealt with four or more simultaneous cards and the original flop cannot be easily identified, then the flop (not including the burn card) will be reshuffled into the deck, the deck will be cut, and the top three cards will become the new flop (no new burn card is needed).  If the flop is dealt with four or more individual cards and the original flop can be identified, then the additionally exposed cards will be treated as exposed cards pursuant to their rules (exposed Burn card).
    D.  Premature Turn – If the turn is dealt prior to the completion of the second betting round, the betting will complete and the premature turn card will be pulled aside.  The Dealer will burn a card from the top of the deck and deal what would be the river as the new fourth card in the community.  Dealer will replace the premature turn in the deck (not including the burn cards) and reshuffle the deck.  Cut the deck once.  Complete the betting on the new turn card.  Do not burn a card.  Deal the top card from the deck as the new river card.  Complete betting on the hand.
    E.  Premature River – If the river is dealt prior to completion of the third betting round, the betting will complete and the premature river card will be replaced in the deck, reshuffled, cut, and then the top card on the deck will become the new river.
    F.  Exposed Burn Cards Treated simply as an exposed card.  All players are permitted to see the card.  A replacement burn card will not be needed as to preserve the integrity of the deck and the cards that should be dealt as the community cards.
    G.  Cutting Cards prior to the deal – During normal gameplay, the dealer is to offer a cut of the cards to the player to his/her right.  The rule of thumb for a proper cut is one cut, done so with at least 5 cards in both halves.  If the player to his/her right at the table chooses not to cut, any player at the table may request a cut (including the dealer), and this cut will be done by the dealer.  The offer to the table is provided to help prevent collusion and/or stacking the deck.  The cutting of the cards by the dealer is done to expedite the dealing of the hand and prevent conflicts of which player at the table would like to cut the deck. 

16.  WINNING A POT

    A. At Showdown -
The best hand pursuant to the rules of the game wins the pot.  A winning hand consists of two visible cards, face up. 
    B. Prior to Showdown – Any hand in which all opposing players at the table have folded may be mucked without being shown.  If one or both cards are shown, the shown card(s) must be shown to all players.
    C. Request to expose mucked hands at a Showdown – In an effort to promote fair play, any hand that is involved in a Showdown is required to be exposed if requested.  Attempting to muck a hand that has been requested to be shown is in violation of the rules.  Please see rule #3.

17. SHOW ONE, SHOW ALL (not relating to a showdown)

If any hand is shown to a player at the table not involved in the action, any other player at the table may ask to see the hand, but it shall not be shown until after the end of the hand.  If the hand was shown to a player still involved in the action, then the exposed hand will be immediately shown to all players.  If a hand or a card has been shown to one but not all, the dealer shall protect the muck so that the exposed hand cannot be lost before being shown to all. Show One, Show All is part of poker's tradition.

18. CARDS REMAIN ON TABLE


Cards must be visible at all times. This includes the deck of cards and all hole cards dealt to players.  A card dealt off the table shall be deemed an exposed card, therefore all players will get to see the card, face up, prior to continuing.  A player's hand which is removed from sight or has a card fall to the floor during play and is not in sight of another player may be declared dead, along with the hand.  Any uncalled bet or uncalled raise may be returned to the player at the discretion of the tournament host.  If a card falls to the floor during play and is in sight of another player it may be treated as a live card, and will be treated as an exposed card if the face of the card was also exposed.  The tournament host will take into account the actions that led to the cards being removed from sight or falling to the floor in order to determine the decision.

19. PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT (PCT) POINTS                      

PCT points are earned at each Riverchasers weekly game and tracked via our PCT Leader Board.  Total PCT points earned at each event are based on the total number of players entered in each tournament.  The top 30% of players at each venue earn ranking points with one point being earned by the lowest ranked playing “In” the points and each subsequent player earning 1 additional point.  When determining the top 30%, fractions of points do not count. 
A minimum of 8 players and a maximum of 30 players will earn points for any single event. 
In additional, Bonus points are earned by the top eight (8) players at each event, regardless of how many players attended the event.

PCT POINTS STRUCTURE

 

20a. PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT (PCT) QUALIFICATION   

Please review the ABOUT THE PCT page for current qualification structures.

**20b. BAR POKER OPEN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFICATION

Please review the BAR POKER OPEN page for current qualification structures.

21.  SATELLITE TOURNAMENT SEATS and QUALIFICATION

Satellite Tournament Seats are earned at each Riverchasers weekly game during qualification periods and tracked via our Satellite Leader Board.   At specific events members can win two seats per night at our Double Seat tournaments.  In order to earn a Satellite Seat, a player must be a registered league member and participate in any local/state requirement at each event.  Requirements vary by state.  View the “About the Satellite Tournament” page for more information about qualification and the current Satellite Tournament promotion.

22. PROFANITY, VERBAL ABUSE

Players shall not use profanity or obscenities at the table nor create a disturbance by arguing or shouting.  Players are not permitted to berate or threaten any player for their actions or their game play.  Any violation of this rule may result in immediate ejection from the tournament.  Repeat offenders may be banned from the league altogether. 

For more Code of Conduct and Player Etiquette policies, please click here.

23. ANNOUNCING IRREGULARITIES
 
          
A player should speak up immediately when he sees an error such as incorrect amount going into the pot or the pot about to be awarded to the wrong person, a card going to the wrong person or a flashed card. A player who knowingly takes advantage of an irregularity to gain an unfair advantage should be disciplined and forfeit any interest in the pot in question. 

24. LEAVING EARLY      
                 
    A. Any player still in the game with chips, who cannot continue, will have his chips forfeited, and removed from the game.  At no time will any player distribute their chips among other players because of their inability to finish the game.  If you are planning on leaving the tournament, be courteous to other players who still wish to play.  Going all-in on every hand is discouraged as it is not in the best interest of the spirit of the game.  TH may give a warning to a player making repetitive All In bets that are unrealistic under normal play.  If the TH feels that it is the best interest of the event, they may remove the tournament chips from any player disrupting the event in this manner.  We understand that players have the right to bet their chips any way they choose in a casino tournament but at our “entertainment” events, we have to be conscious of the best interest of the promotion and the venue providing the entertainment.    
    B. If you have to leave the venue for a short period of time (twenty minutes or less), you must contact the TH to make them aware.  If due to a lengthy absence your chips have been removed from play, you will have no recourse.  In the interest of fairness, the TH has discretion over the length of time a player may be absent and still participate in the tournament.

25. FAULTY DECISIONS IN GOOD FAITH      

A player shall have no claim against the Venue, Riverchasers, or any employee or agent of either, for a faulty decision given in good faith or any honest error by a Tournament Director.                                                                                             

26. FINAL WORD
  

By taking or requesting a seat in a game a player agrees that Riverchasers has the final word on who may play, the manner in which play shall be conducted, and enforcement of any rules. The Venue further has the right to prohibit any player from using its facilities for any reason whatsoever. Riverchasers is not in any way responsible for the conduct of any person who is not an employee of the Venue, or any employee/subcontractor of Riverchasers who is not performing his official duties. Riverchasers shall not be responsible for the behavior of players or the consequences of behavior of players.

Note: Due to the vast amount of rules of the game of Texas Hold'em and the variations of the rules depending on the location and the game you are playing, extensive rules are not printed here.  All rules not printed on here are interpreted by the Tournament Host at the time in question.

 

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