Poker Game Rules
Minimum/Maximum Table Buy-In
'The minimum buy-in in our poker room for Fixed Limit tables is five times the big bet (the bet on the last two betting rounds). For example, on a $1/$2 table, the minimum buy-in would be $10. There is no maximum buy-in on limit tables.
For Pot Limit, No Limit and Mixed games, the minimum and maximum buy-ins may vary from table to table. The minimum and maximum buy-ins will be indicated on the buy-in dialogue screen. Games that allow smaller buy-ins relative to the size of the big blind are labelled ?short? in the lobby. Games that require a minimum buy-in of 100 big blinds are labelled ?deep? in the lobby. Games without a label of ?short?, ?deep?, or ?CAP? allow buy-ins of up to 100 big blinds.
All poker games begin with some forced wager over which poker players compete. In Seven Card Stud, there are two forced wagers, an ante and a bring-in. In other games, the forced wagers are a small blind and a big blind (and sometimes also an ante). In any basic poker game, players strategically wager using a number of actions available to them. The actions are as follows:
1. CHECK - If there is no wager on the current betting round, a player may check. The act of checking passes the action to the next person, immediately clockwise from the player. A check does not forfeit interest in the pot, only the current right to bet. If all active players check during a round of betting, the round is considered complete.
2. BET - If there is not yet a wager on the current betting round, a player may bet. If a player bets, the player immediately clockwise from him or her (and any subsequent players) may fold, raise, or call.
3. FOLD - The act of folding forfeits all interest in the pot. A player who folds is not required or allowed to wager any further money during the current poker hand, but cannot win that hand either.
4. CALL - If there has been a bet on the current round of poker play, a player may call. The act of calling requires the player to match the current bet made by his or her opponent(s).
5. RAISE - If there has been a bet on the current betting round, a player may raise. The act of raising requires the poker player to match the current bet, and then make a greater one. All subsequent players are required to call the raise or raise again ("re-raise") to maintain interest in the pot.
On each betting round, betting continues until every player has either matched the bets made or folded (if no bets are made, the round is complete when every player has checked). When the betting round is completed, the next dealing/betting round begins, or the hand is complete.
If the last bet or raise on the final betting round is called, a "showdown" occurs. This is when it is determined who wins the pot,as players show their hands one-by-one. It may be the case that there is no showdown. This occurs when a player bets or raises, and no active players choose to call the player's bet (in other words, all players fold). In this case, the player doing the betting or raising wins the full amount of the pot.
At the end of the hand, players remaining have options regarding the showing of their hand:
? Muck winning hand
If there?s only one player left in the hand before the showdown, they can choose to either show or not show their cards. If you prefer to never show your cards in this situation, check the ?Don?t Show Winning Hand? option in the ?Options? menu of the main lobby. If this option is not checked, you will be offered the option to show after each winning hand.
If the hand goes to showdown, the winning hand is always shown automatically.
? Muck losing hand
At the showdown, players whose hands cannot beat the best hand shown so far can choose to show or not show their cards. If you prefer to never show your hand in this situation, check the ?Muck Losing Hand? option in the ?Options? menu of the main lobby.
All players dealt into a hand have the right to see mucked hands that reach the showdown, on request. At PokerStars, these cards are shown in the Hand History and Hand Replayer for each hand. Mucked cards will only be shown to players dealt into the hand. To see Hand Histories from the current session, go to ?Requests? > ?Display Instant Hand History? in the lobby. To replay any hand, click ?Visualize? from the Instant Hand History window, or click the red ?replay? icon at the top of the table. Real money hand histories can also be requested by email, by going to ?Requests? > ?Hand History? in the main lobby.
Basic Poker Play: Table Stakes and All-In
All games on PokerStars are played "table stakes", meaning only the chips in play at the beginning of each hand can be used to bet and raise during the hand. The table stakes rule has an application called the "All-In" rule, which states that a player cannot be forced to forfeit a poker hand because the player does not have enough chips to call a bet. A player who does not have enough chips to call a bet is declared All-In. The player is eligible for the portion of the pot up to the point of his final wager. All further action involving other players takes place in a "side pot", which the All-In player is not eligible to win. If more than one player goes All-In during a hand, there could be more than one side pot.
When a player puts the last of their poker chips into a pot, that player is said to be all-in. An all-in player is not eligible to win any money in excess of the pot after their final bet has been matched. If the bettor's all-in is greater than one or more of the other players still active after the bettor has made the bet, then the excess part of the bet is either returned to the bettor, or if it can be matched by one or more of the still active players, it will in turn form one or more side-pots, and at that point any excess still remaining is then returned to the bettor. However, the all-in player will be eligible for the main pot, and therefore cannot be forced to fold from the hand.
Sometimes a player has enough chips to continue betting or calling during a hand, but has been disconnected and is unable to respond. If you disconnect from the PokerStars game server, you are given a small amount of time to reconnect. If you are involved in a big pot, you may be given additional time to reconnect and return to the table. (The exact amount of extra time varies depending on the game and the size of the pot.) If you are unable to respond after the extra time given, your hand will be checked if possible, or folded otherwise.
We hope to have answered any questions you may have had about the PokerStars Poker Room.Download the poker software now to start playing on our free poker tables or our real money poker tables. You can also learn more about the VIP Club, Stellar Rewards and other exciting offers by visiting the poker promotions page. We have done our best to make PokerStars the best internet poker room to play on, and hope to see you at the tables!