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Step 2: Compile a set of rules and regulations

By Nick Momrick

In the first article of this series, I discussed the type of poker you?ll be playing in your home game. Now that you?ve chosen a tournament, ring game, or both, you?ll need to compile a set of rules.

A home game is meant to be a fun gathering of friends and family, but just like any other game, poker is a competition. Competition can bring out the best and the worst in people; everyone likes to win, but no one likes to lose. This is especially true when money is involved.

The main reason to have a set of rules and regulations is to keep any arguments to a minimum. You don?t want to take the fun out of the game by being too strict, but you also don?t want any awkward situations coming up because you don?t know how to handle a confusing situation. Since poker is such a widely played game, there are many different rules each variation can be played with. This is another reason to put together a set of rules and regulations your game will use. Inexperienced players will likely not know how to play every game allowed in your ring game, so it will be helpful to have something they can refer to.

Tournaments have some confusing situations because players get knocked out during play, limiting the field. What happens to the blinds and button when one of the blinds is knocked out? Which player is the small blind when playing heads up? When more than one player is knocked out on the same hand, where do they finish in the placing? Are rebuys and/or add-ons allowed? These are just a few of the many things you?ll want to research before you play.

One of the most important things to have when running a tournament is a schedule for raising the blinds. A tournament that doesn?t raise the blinds could last all night, ending up very boring. By raising the blinds, players are forced to make tough decisions or watch their stack of chips disappear.

While a set of rules and regulations for a tournament can be short and concise, ring games are totally different.

The most common aspect of poker around the world is the hand ranking system. Most games use the rankings from top (royal flush) to bottom (high card), but there are many games played where low hand wins or high and low hands split the pot. These games tend to get confusing, because the low hands don?t always start at the bottom of the ranking system. Sometimes a flush or straight even qualifies as a low hand.

Not all poker variations have community cards, but those that do tend to have some differences when it comes to how many hole cards are used to make a hand. For example, in Texas Hold?em you may use zero, one, or two of your hole cards, but in Omaha Hold?em you must use exactly two of your hole cards. We've compiled a great list of poker rules for the most popular variations of the game.

I hope you can see why a set of rules and regulations is a good idea. There are many other things you?ll want to research before starting your home game, but this should give you a good start. In the next article, we can finally discuss recruiting players.

Continue with step 3: Recruiting the players

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