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Poker Life – Stupid House Rules

Thu, Sep 8, 5:28pm by Poker Guru

I accept the fact that every cardroom has the right to have their own house rules, and I also accept the fact that cardrooms might have different rulesets. Still, some house rules can be quite annoying.

I played in a casino in Spain recently. It was a 2/5 NL Hold’em game and I picked up pocket eights under the gun and raised to 17 Euros. I got two callers and then the Big Blind went all-in for 44 Euros. I decided to make a small raise to get at least one of the original callers to fold. Without thinking too much I raised to 80 Euros.

The dealer explained that the minimum raise was to 88 Euros and since I (tried to) bet less than that my bet was considered a call. I protested and said that the Big Blind’s raise was 27 (from 17 to 44) so the minimum re-raise should be to 71 Euros.

Unfortunately, the dealer was right – their house rules clearly stated that a minimum raise/reraise is double the previous bet, not the previous raise. An obvious misunderstanding of the correct rules but my mistake for not knowing the house rules.

This reminds me of when I played competitive pool and used to play nine-ball and eight-ball by the correct rules, and when I then played with friends there were as many rulesets as friends. Why can’t people just learn the official rules and follow them? Pool is a great game without stupid house rules.

The problem with poker is that there is no international governing body. Usually WSOP is a good role model for rules but they make some horrible rulings regularly anyway. Just google “terrible ruling WSOP” and you will get a number of examples.



I will give you another example of a stupid poker rule. There is an old rule that is called “show one, show all”. It basically means that if you show your hand to another player at the table you need to show everyone. That is perfectly fine. A player should not be allowed to give another player more information that the others.

However, some cardrooms have misinterpreted this rule and added a “show one show both” rule to their house rules. This rule is stupid. It means that if you show one of your cards you need to show both your cards.

Suppose you make a raise or re-raise with A2o and everyone folds. Then sometimes you want to show the ace just to make people believe you actually had a good hand. But just because some cardrooms have misunderstood the meaning of the old “show one show all” rule that is not allowed.

I started this column by saying that it is fine for cardroom to have their own house rules. That is probably not my honest opinion because I hate when cardrooms have rules based on misunderstandings of actual rules. Poker rules should always be written by someone who understands the game.

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