House rules may include basic things like only speaking English at the table, no use of cellphones during games, and banning intoxicated people from playing. Some, however, are more nuanced. Below are some house rules you may come across while playing at a casino (some are less common than others!).
Straddle bets, simply known as “straddles,” are bets that players put in blind before seeing the cards they have been dealt. House rules around these types of bets (of which there are dozens of variations) will be found in every casino – some casinos allow them, whereas others don’t. Where they are allowed, there are limits around the bet amount, position, and more.
While tipping is encouraged in certain areas of the casinos, in some casinos, tipping the dealer, whether in play or not, is strictly prohibited.
Chip and card visibility
Many casinos have rules around the visibility of a player’s chips and cards. In most cases, chips are to remain visible, with the highest value chips at the front of the stack, so that other players can make quick estimates of the opponents’ chip total. Cards are also usually expected to remain in plain view at the front of the chip stack – not behind chips, in a player’s hands, or hidden off the table.
Verbal declarations are binding
In most cases, verbal declarations take precedence over physical actions, and conditional statements are strongly discouraged, e.g., “If you bet, then I will raise.”
Avoiding the muck
The muck has two meanings – it refers both to the pile of discarded cards on the poker table, and mucking refers to folding your cards. In this instance, we are referring to the pile of discarded cards. In some casinos, if your cards touch the muck, even accidentally, they are immediately considered dead.
Leaving the game
Players are, in many games, required to announce their decision to leave a game at least one round or half an hour ahead. The exception to this is when a player goes bust, in which case they may leave immediately if they don’t intend to re-buy.
Declaration of bets
Players are required to declare their bets and raises. If they fail to do so, the wager is their full amount of chips.