Targeted poker quiz 38: Rules (advanced)


Note: Not at the old Poker1 site. This 39-part series of quizzes, originally published (2004-2006) in Poker Player, is based on the Mike Caro University of Poker library of research and advice. In each entry, Mike Caro presents 10 questions covering a category of poker, targeted for beginner, intermediate, or advanced players. Answers with explanations appear below each quiz, with the questions repeated for easy reference.


The MCU Targeted Poker Quiz series

(See the index to this series)

Rules and etiquette (level: advanced)

  1. What happens if a player takes a very long time to act, slowing up the game?

    (a) Any player not in the hand can declare the pot frozen and carried over to the next deal;

    (b) An opponent can request that a clock be used to give the player just a little more time to act on the hand. After the time expires, the hand is folded by rule;

    (c) Nothing. There are no time limits in poker;

    (d) The offending player must forfeit a pre-established sum, usually twice the amount of the big blind.

  2. Mike Caro wrote a rule in the late 1970s saying that management could make decisions in the best interest of the game and award pots to those clearly entitled to them, even if a strict interpretation of other rules would dictate a contrary decision. The purpose was to keep unscrupulous players, in extreme cases, from winning through “angle shooting.” Versions of the rule have appeared in many places since then. In what rulebook did it first appear?

    (a) The Hilton Hotel Reno rulebook;

    (b) An early version of the World Series of Poker rulebook;

    (c) No rulebook. It was just a suggestion in a column, then appeared simultaneously in seven different affiliated rulebooks;

    (d) The rulebook of the Horseshoe Club in Gardena, California

  3. If you announce, “I call your $50 and raise you $500,” similar to lines delivered in many movies, you cannot raise, because it’s a string bet…

    (a) true;

    (b) false.

  4. Although it’s not cheating, in a three-or-more-handed pot, it’s bad etiquette to signal another active player about the strength of your hand. That statement is…

    (a) true, because there’s not actually a rule against secret signals in poker;

    (b) true, because you should tell everyone at the table what your signals mean first;

    (c)false, because any kind of secret signaling regarding hand strength is cheating;

    (d) false, because it’s sometimes OK to warn a player to stay out of your pot, since you’re only doing a favor.

  5. It’s always bad etiquette to show a bluff that succeeded…

    (a) true;

    (b) false.

  6. A common rule is that it’s a misdeal in hold ’em if…

    (a) Any player at the table deliberately exposes an ace before the flop;

    (b) The dealer riffled the deck fewer than three times before distributing the cards and a player points this out before two players – other than the blinds – voluntarily wager;

    (c) Two cards of the same rank and suit appear on the flop;

    (d) Any players trade cards on the last round of betting.

  7. What’s the best thing to say if you have a strong hand and are beaten by a player who has come into your pot with a hand too weak to justify?

    (a) “I hope you keep playing that way, so you’ll go broke soon!”;

    (b) “Please take the pot”;

    (c) “You really are an idiot!”;

    (d) “How could you play a hand like that?”

  8. If you pay by the hour for your seat, it’s bad manners to play extra slowly…

    (a) true;

    (b) false.

  9. If the player sitting next to you doesn’t realize he’s exposing his hole cards, you should…

    (a) tell him politely, so he can conceal them better in the future;

    (b) take advantage, but pretend not to notice;

    (c) quit the game;

    (d) suspect the player of cheating

  10. In no-limit poker games, it’s unfair to put your biggest chips where they can’t easily be seen by opponents…

    (a) true;

    (b) false.


Answers and explanations (with questions repeated for convenience)

Rules and etiquette (level: advanced)

  1. What happens if a player takes a very long time to act, slowing up the game?

    (a) Any player not in the hand can declare the pot frozen and carried over to the next deal;

    (b) An opponent can request that a clock be used to give the player just a little more time to act on the hand. After the time expires, the hand is folded by rule;

    (c) Nothing. There are no time limits in poker;

    (d) The offending player must forfeit a pre-established sum, usually twice the amount of the big blind.

    Answer: (b) If a player takes a long time without making a decision about whether to fold, call, or raise, any opponent can request that a clock or stopwatch be used to give the player a limited amount of time to respond. Typically, this is one minute. After that time expires, if no action has been taken, the hand is folded by rule.

  2. Mike Caro wrote a rule in the late 1970s saying that management could make decisions in the best interest of the game and award pots to those clearly entitled to them, even if a strict interpretation of other rules would dictate a contrary decision. The purpose was to keep unscrupulous players, in extreme cases, from winning through “angle shooting.” Versions of the rule have appeared in many places since then. In what rulebook did it first appear?

    (a) The Hilton Hotel Reno rulebook;

    (b) An early version of the World Series of Poker rulebook;

    (c) No rulebook. It was just a suggestion in a column, then appeared simultaneously in seven different affiliated rulebooks;

    (d) The rulebook of the Horseshoe Club in Gardena, California.

    Answer: (d) A widely borrowed rule that Mike Caro wrote in the 1970s said that management could make decisions in the best interest of the game and award pots to those clearly entitled to them, even if a strict interpretation of other rules would dictate a contrary decision. It first appeared in the rulebook of the Horseshoe Club in Gardena, California. The purpose was to prevent unscrupulous “angle shooters” from winning by using rules in unintended and unexpected ways.

  3. If you announce, “I call your $50 and raise you $500,” similar to lines delivered in many movies, you cannot raise, because it’s a string bet…

    (a) true;

    (b) false.

    Answer: (a) It’s true that in most formal poker games, you can’t declare, something like, “I call your $50 and raise you $500,” as is the case in many movies. Unless you’ve already put all those chips in the pot, your declaration of “I call your $50,” takes precedence. The “and raise you $500” part is considered a verbal string bet – meaning you didn’t complete the whole bet at once.

  4. Although it’s not cheating, in a three-or-more-handed pot, it’s bad etiquette to signal another active player about the strength of your hand. That statement is…

    (a) true, because there’s not actually a rule against secret signals in poker;

    (b) true, because you should tell everyone at the table what your signals mean first;

    (c)false, because any kind of secret signaling regarding hand strength is cheating;

    (d) false, because it’s sometimes OK to warn a player to stay out of your pot, since you’re only doing a favor.

    Answer: (c) In three-and-more-handed games, any kind of secret signaling to another player that conveys the strength of your hand is cheating, whether it’s meant to earn money or just be compassionate.

  5. It’s always bad etiquette to show a bluff that succeeded…

    (a) true;

    (b) false.

    Answer: (b) It’s false to say that it’s always bad etiquette to show your hand after a bluff succeeds. Sometimes it can be in bad taste, but other times it might be just a friendly tease met with giggles and smiles. It pays to know your opponents and their current moods before showing the cards you bluffed with.

  6. A common rule is that it’s a misdeal in hold ’em if…

    (a) Any player at the table deliberately exposes an ace before the flop;

    (b) The dealer riffled the deck fewer than three times before distributing the cards and a player points this out before two players – other than the blinds – voluntarily wager;

    (c) Two cards of the same rank and suit appear on the flop;

    (d) Any players trade cards on the last round of betting.

    Answer: (c) In hold ’em, as in other traditional forms of poker, it’s usually ruled a misdeal if two or more cards of the same rank and suit show up during the same deal. All money is returned and a new deal is begun with a proper deck.

  7. What’s the best thing to say if you have a strong hand and are beaten by a player who has come into your pot with a hand too weak to justify?

    (a) “I hope you keep playing that way, so you’ll go broke soon!”;

    (b) “Please take the pot”;

    (c) “You really are an idiot!”;

    (d) “How could you play a hand like that?”

    Answer: (b) When you’re beaten by a player who has come into the pot with ridiculously weak cards, you should simply say something like, “Please take the pot.” Ridiculing opponents for bad plays isn’t in the best interest of the game or your bankroll.

  8. If you pay by the hour for your seat, it’s bad manners to play extra slowly…

    (a) true;

    (b) false.

    Answer: (a) It’s true that when you’re renting your seat by the hour, it’s rude to play extra slowly. Others are paying for their seats, too, and they expect to get a reasonable number of hands played for their money.

  9. If the player sitting next to you doesn’t realize he’s exposing his hole cards, you should…

    (a) tell him politely, so he can conceal them better in the future;

    (b) take advantage, but pretend not to notice;

    (c) quit the game;

    (d) suspect the player of cheating.

    Answer: (a) If a player in your pot is accidentally showing his cards, you should politely warn him so he can conceal them better in the future. Seeing an opponent’s cards in a multi-handed game doesn’t just give you an advantage against that careless player, but also gives you an unfair edge against other opponents.

  10. In no-limit poker games, it’s unfair to put your biggest chips where they can’t easily be seen by opponents…

    (a) true;

    (b) false.

    Answer: (a) It’s true that in no-limit games it’s unfair to put your biggest chips where they can’t easily be seen by opponents. Other players have a right to easily see how big your stack is so that they can choose their tactics accordingly.


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Known as the “Mad Genius of Poker,” Mike Caro is generally regarded as today's foremost authority on poker strategy, psychology, and statistics. He is the founder of Mike Caro University of Poker, Gaming, and Life Strategy (MCU). See full bio → HERE.

3 thoughts on “Targeted poker quiz 38: Rules (advanced)”

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  1. Regarding question #9, I will always notify a player that is unknowingly exposing their cards one time by saying something along the lines of “Sir/Ma’am I can see your cards, please protect your hand in the future.” More often than not the players exposing their cards are doing so by lifting the cards off of (or almost off of) the felt. I believe that these players may be having a hard time seeing their hand by the normal “Squeeze and peek” method of looking at one’s cards. Or maybe they’re just drunk! Also, if the dealer notices a player looking at their cards in a potentially harmful (to the game) manner then they will generally inform the player. I generally do not warn the same player twice about exposing their cards-show me once, shame on me, show me twice, shame on you.

  2. If a player shows two bad plays, and makes the surrounding players think he or she is weak… Then tightens their game to the “big 10” when they appear weak and let them give you what they want then try to make a play bluff or nuts?

  3. I see #10 a lot these days. Players like to make large stacks with their smaller chips, and put the larger chips behind the “wall”.

    I usually just call them out on it, asking how many chips they have when it’s my turn. That way they have to acknowledge their total to the entire table.

    On #9, what is proper etiquette if you suspect a player is actually trying to look at your hole cards? I’ve caught players “stretching” or dropping things on the floor, but didn’t know how or what to do without sounding like a whiny jerk.

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