Tournament Rules

We follow the Tournament Directors Assocation rules when possible at all times.  The Tournament Directors are to consider the best interest of the game and fairness as the top priority in the decision-making process.  Unusual circumstances can on occasion dictate that decisions in the interest of fairness take priority over the technical rules.


Etiquette Violations

As a Vistancia-sponsored social club, we follow the standard Vistancia Code of Conduct. We reserve the right to remove anyone from a tournament for any reason for any length of time. Any type of verbal abuse toward any other player will not be tolerated, and will be subject to immediate removal from the tournament.

Continued violations of the Vistancia Code of Conduct may result in residents being found to not be in good standing with the poker club, and will not be allowed to attend future tournaments.

Inappropriate language or action in any shape or form will not be tolerated.

General Concepts

Poker Directors

Poker directors are to consider the best interest of the game and fairness as top priorities in the decision-making process. Unusual circumstances can on occasion dictate that decisions in the interest of fairness take priority over the technical rules. The tournament directors’ decisions are final.

Official Terminology of Tournament Poker

Official terms are simple, unmistakable, time-honored declarations like: bet, raise, call, fold, check, and all-in. Regional terms may also meet this standard. Also, players must use gestures with caution when facing action; tapping the table is a check. The use of non-standard language is at player’s risk because it may result in a ruling other than what the player intended. It is the responsibility of players to make their intentions clear.

Seating Players, Breaking & Balancing Tables

Random Seating

Tournament seats will be randomly assigned by the Tournament Director software.

The director reserves the right to assign and lock their seat to make it easier to manage the computer during the tournament.

Special Needs

Accommodations for players with special needs will be made when possible.

Breaking/Balancing Tables

Players moved to a new table for any reason assume the rights and responsibilities of the position. They can be assigned to any seat, including the big blind, the small blind, or the button. They will be dealt a hand in all cases except if they are seated into the position that is between the small blind and the button, or if the flow of blinds will be affected (the same person cannot be big blind twice in a row).

Number of Players at Final Table

The final table will consist of 9 players.

Pots / Showdown


Cards speak. Verbal declarations as to the content of a player’s hand are not binding; however, any player deliberately miscalling his hand may be penalized.

Face Up for All-Ins

All cards will be turned face up without delay once a player is all-in and all betting action by all other players in the hand is complete.

Showdown Order

In a non-all-in showdown, at the end of the last round of betting, the player who made the last aggressive action in that betting round must show first. If there was no bet in the last round, the player to the left of the button shows first and so on clockwise.

Playing the Board at Showdown

A player must show ALL hole cards when playing the board in order to get part of the pot.

Asking to See a Hand

Except where house policy requires a hand to be shown or provides an express right to see a hand on request, asking to see a hand is a privilege granted at TD’s discretion to protect the integrity of the game (suspicion of invalid hand, collusion, etc). This privilege is not to be abused. A player who mucks his hand face down at showdown without fully tabling it loses any rights he may have to ask to see any hand.

Killing Winning Hand

Dealers cannot kill a winning hand that was tabled and was obviously the winning hand. Players are encouraged to assist in reading tabled hands if it appears that an error is about to be made.

Awarding Odd Chips in Split Pots

In split pots, the odd chip(s) will go to the left of the button.

Disputed Pots

The right to dispute a hand ends when a new hand begins.

General Procedures

New Hand & New Limits

When time has elapsed in a round and a new level is announced by a member of the tournament staff, the new level applies to the next hand.

Chip Stacks Kept Visible & Countable

Players are entitled to a reasonable estimation of an opponent’s chip count; thus chips should be kept in countable stacks. Vistancia Poker recommends clean stacks in multiples of 20 as a standard. Players must keep their higher denomination chips visible and identifiable at all times. Tournament directors will control the number & denomination of chips in play and may color up at their discretion. Discretionary color ups are to be announced.

Players must keep live hands in plain view at all times.

Calling for a Clock

Once a reasonable amount of time has passed & a clock is called for, a player will be given a maximum of one minute to make a decision. If action has not been taken before time expires, there will be a 10-second countdown followed by a declaration to the effect that the hand is dead. If the player has not acted before the declaration, the hand is dead.

Rabbit Hunting

No rabbit hunting is allowed. Rabbit hunting is revealing any cards “that would have come” if the hand had not ended.

Player Present / Eligible for Hand

At Your Seat

A player must be at or near his seat by the time all players have been dealt complete initial hands in order to have a live hand.

Players Leaving Table Cannot Cash

A player cannot leave the tournament and cash. If a player is absent from the table for an extended period of time and does not return, their chips will be removed from the table when the next player to bust out will be on the bubble. You must be playing in order to cash.

Action Pending

A player must remain at the table if he has a live hand. Exceptions are made for the tournament directors if they are tending to tournament directing business (managing buyins, rebuys, the computer, etc).

Button / Blinds

Button in Heads-up

In heads-up play, the small blind is on the button and acts first pre-flop and last on all subsequent betting rounds. The last card is dealt to the button. When beginning heads-up play, the button may need to be adjusted to ensure no player takes the big blind twice in a row.

Dealing Rules


In flop games, misdeals include but are not necessarily limited to: a) exposure of more than one of the first two cards dealt to everyone; b) two or more exposed or boxed cards; c) first card dealt to the wrong seat; d) cards dealt to a seat not entitled to a hand; e) a seat entitled to a hand is dealt out. Players may be dealt two consecutive cards on the button. If substantial action occurs, a misdeal cannot be declared and the hand must proceed.

Substantial Action

Substantial Action is defined as either: A) any two actions in turn, at least one of which must involve putting chips in the pot (i.e. any 2 actions except 2 checks or 2 folds); OR B) any combination of three actions in turn (check, bet, raise, call, or fold).

Four-Card Flop

If the flop contains 4 (rather than 3) cards, and the correct order can be determined, the fourth card will stay as the next burn card. However, if the correct order cannot be determined, the dealer shall scramble the 4 cards face down. A tournament director not seated at that table will be called to randomly select one card to be used as the next burn card and the remaining 3 cards will become the flop.

Flop Exposed Early

If the flop is exposed before all pre-flop action is complete, the dealer will shuffle the exposed flop back into the deck and flop 3 new cards.

Turn/River Exposed Early

If either the turn or the river is exposed before all action is complete, the dealer will shuffle the exposed card back into the deck and a new turn/river will follow when action is complete.

Play: Bets & Raises

Verbal Declarations / Acting in Turn

Players must act in turn. Verbal declarations in turn are binding. Chips placed in the pot in turn must stay in the pot.

Action Out of Turn

Action out of turn will be binding if the action to that player has not changed. A check, call or fold does not change action. If action changes, the out of turn bet is not binding and is returned to the out of turn player who has all options including: calling, raising, or folding. An out of turn fold is binding.

Methods of Raising

In no-limit, a raise must be made by (1) placing the full amount in the pot in one motion; or (2) verbally declaring the full amount prior to the initial placement of chips into the pot; or (3) verbally declaring “raise” prior to the placement of the amount to call into the pot and then completing the action with one additional motion. It is the player’s responsibility to make his intentions clear.


A raise must be at least the size of the largest previous bet or raise of the current betting round. If a player puts in a raise of 50% or more of the previous bet but less than the minimum raise, he must make a full raise, and the raise will be exactly the minimum raise allowed. In no-limit and pot limit, an all-in wager of less than a full raise does not reopen the betting to a player who has already acted.

Oversized Chip Betting

Anytime when facing a bet or blind, placing a single oversized chip in the pot is a call if a raise isn’t first verbally declared. To raise with an oversized chip, raise must be declared before the chip hits the table surface. If raise is declared (but no amount), the raise is the maximum allowable for that chip. When not facing a bet, placing an oversized chip in the pot without declaration is a bet of the maximum for the chip.

Multiple Chip Betting

When facing a bet, unless a raise is first declared, multiple same-denomination chips is a call if removing one chip leaves less than the call amount. Example of a call: pre-flop, blinds are 200-400: A raises to 1200 total (an 800 raise), B puts out two 1000 chips without declaring raise. This is just a call because removing one 1000 chip leaves less than the amount needed to call the 1200 bet.

Accepted Action

Poker is a game of alert, continuous observation. It is the caller’s responsibility to determine the correct amount of an opponent’s bet before calling, regardless of what is stated by the dealer or players. If a caller requests a count but receives incorrect information from the dealer or players, then places that amount in the pot, the caller is assumed to accept the full correct action & is subject to the correct wager or all-in amount.

String Bets and Raises

Dealers will be responsible for calling string bets and raises. A string bet is one where a player uses two separate motions to make a bet.

Non-Standard & Unclear Betting

Players use unofficial betting terms and gestures at their own risk. These may be interpreted to mean other than what the player intended. Also, whenever the size of a declared bet can have multiple meanings, it will be ruled as the lesser value. Example: “I bet five”. If it is unclear whether “five” means $500 or $5,000, the bet stands as $500.

Non-Standard Folds

Anytime before the end of the last betting round of a hand, folding in turn when facing a check or folding out of turn are both binding folds and may be subject to penalty.

Conditional Statements

Conditional statements regarding future action are non-standard and strongly discouraged; they may be binding and/or subject to penalty at a director’s discretion. Example: “if – then” statements such as “If you bet, then I will raise”.

Play: Other

Accidentally Killed / Fouled Hands

Players must protect their own hands at all times. If a dealer kills a hand by mistake, or a hand is fouled, the player will have no redress and is not entitled to a refund of bets. If the player initiated a bet or raise and hasn’t been called, the uncalled bet or raise will be returned to the player.

Etiquette & Penalties

Penalties and Disqualification

A penalty may be invoked if a player exposes any card with action pending, throws a card off the table, violates the one-player-to-a-hand rule, or similar incidents occur. Penalties will be invoked in cases of soft play, abuse, disruptive behavior, or cheating. Penalties available to the tournament directors include verbal warnings, “missed hand” penalties, and disqualification. For the period of the penalty, the offender shall remain away from the table but will continue to be dealt in.

Tournament staff can assess a 1-hand penalty, 1 or more round penalties, or disqualification. A player who is disqualified shall have his or her chips removed from play. Repeat infractions are subject to escalating penalties.

No Disclosure

Players are obligated to protect other players in the tournament at all times. Therefore, players, whether in the hand or not, may not:
1. Disclose contents of live or folded hands,
2. Advise or criticize play at any time,
3. Read a hand that hasn’t been tabled.
The one-player-to-a-hand rule will be enforced.

Exposing Cards

A player who exposes his cards with action pending may incur a penalty, but will not have a dead hand. The penalty will begin at the end of the hand.

Ethical Play

Poker is an individual game. Soft play will result in penalties, which may include forfeiture of chips and/or disqualification. Chip dumping and/or all other forms of collusion will result in disqualification.

Etiquette Violations

Repeated etiquette violations will result in penalties. Examples include, but are not limited to, unnecessarily touching other players’ cards or chips, delay of the game, repeatedly acting out of turn or excessive chatter.