Public cardroom rules are the rules and regulations used in casinos. While specific rules vary from casino to casino, most public poker cardrooms have similar rules and regulations.
Popular poker variants
While different casinos offer different poker variants, the most popular poker games offered in U.S. casinos include:
Casinos offer poker in ring game (cash game or live-action game) and tournament formats.
Most casinos manage table seating on a first-come, first-served basis. During peak periods, there may be long waiting lists for poker seats. Players can normally be on multiple waiting lists (for different types of games and money amounts). In some rooms, players can phone in to get a place on the list, and it will be held for some set amount of time. Players on the list can similarly inform the manager that they will be dining, and their places on the list will be held until they return.
Chips are the primary currency of the game. These can be purchased from the casino employee dealing the game or from cashiers at windows found around the casino. Most casinos employ chip runners, who sell chips to players. Some public cardrooms will not allow players to buy chips from each other at the table. Some houses allow cash to play; some only allow $100 notes.
Public card rooms typically charge a fee for conducting the game. The rake is the scaled commission fees taken by a casino operating a poker game. This fee structure is common in low-stakes cash games. For ring games, it is generally 5-10% of each poker hand, up to a predetermined maximum amount, such as 3% up to $3.00. This fee is sometimes referred to as the "drop" since the dealer will drop the rake into a container at the table. In California, rakes based on the size of the pot are not legal, so a fixed per-hand drop is assessed based on the betting limits at the table.
The casino may alternatively charge an hourly rate for renting a seat. This fee is referred to a time fee, or simply "time." Time fees might be combined with a rake, but that is not common. Time fees are more common in mid or high stakes games.
For tournaments, the fee might be 10% of the buy-in, but can vary widely. The fee might or might not be spelled out clearly. Generally, a tournament will be advertised as "buy-in amount+fee". For example, "$100+$10" would have $100 going to the prize pool and an additional $10 going to the house as the fee for a total of $110 cost to the player.
Poker is a player versus player game (unlike blackjack or roulette) and the house has no interest in the money wagered. The rake, drop, or time fees provide the house's revenue.
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