Having already had a look at the basic texas holdem poker rules, let’s delve into the more specific rules of poker which always seem the be the subject of heated dispute around and over the felt.  To illustrate the benefit of knowing these rules, I’d like to share with you a little story…

We had a home game at a friends place not long ago and I’m pleased to be able to say that when I eventually departed the cash game (ie. was dragged off the table by the missus who had generously agreed to come and collect my drunken behind) I was well and truly up on my buy in. 

It’s been a long standing practice at these home games that rather than cashing out for $453.50 we simply round it up or down to the nearest $5.  The remaining difference is then put in the pot and the player mavericks the next hand without looking at their hole cards, generally donating the paltry sum to the winner.  Is it a stupid rule?  Probably…but we all like to gamble. 

However…you can probably already see the potential problem here, and on this particular evening in question I put the house rule and the patience of every other player at the table to the test.  I plonked down my three odd bucks, promptly hit a set and trippled up once my cards were turned over.  No problem, I threw my $15 odd bucks in again as a blind raise and waited as the hand played me out a straight.  Ok.  Now I’m up to roughly $35 which I duly place back into the middle of the table.  At this stage I gave my endlessly suffering girlfriend a smile and continued to stand as the third hand played out, only to discover that I’ve hit the nut flush on the turn.

Why can’t I play like this when I actually look at my cards? 

At this point the table goes into what can only be described as a collective apoplexy.  Even though I’m prepared to run it again, no one wants to blind wager against my now slightly over a $100 stack.  We’re a friendly mob, but the unfairness of me actually hitting without any real forethought is a little too much for the donators to bare.  So of course…the rules get called into question.  Exactly what are the sub rules to the house rule that a player can donk off his minor denominations.  How long does he (being me) have to keep going if he wins?  Can he cash out again now?  and What happens to his ‘change’ left over this time because he sure as #%*$ ain’t putting it back on the table.

I’ll spare you the gory details that ultimately saw me pocketing some extra winnings for the night.  Sure, this was a home game and the rule was a shonky one to begin with, but there will be plenty of occasions where players will be at odds about the official rules.  All I’ll say is this demonstrates the importance of not only knowing texas holdem poker rules, but having them at your disposal should a disagreement ensue. 

A great little resource is the World Series Of Poker Tournament Rules.  Drag them out next time you have someone trying to call the shots.

What did I do with my unexpected windfall from that night?  I made the smartest investment I could with it…and donated it to the girlfriend’s clothing fund :)

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