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World Series of Poker WSOP Rules: A Primer


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WSOP Tourney rules

While each specific variety of poker has its own set of rules, there are specific guidelines that all World Series of Poker (WSOP) -hosted games and tournaments follow.


Any player who wishes to participate in a game or tournament must pay a buy-in fee, which in most limit games is equal to the table’s high limit multiplied by 10. In no-limit games, on the other hand, the buy-in fee is usually computed by multiplying the big blind by 20.

Only one short buy-in is permitted every game.

Verbal declarations of actions

A player who verbally states that they are about to take a certain action (e.g., bet, call, raise or fold) is required to push through with it. This prevents anyone from readjusting their strategy based on the reaction of the other players on the table.

Physical declarations of actions

A knock on the table is regarded as a pass. Pushing one’s chips forward in limit games, on the other hand, is considered a bet, provided another player does the same in response to the original player’s action.


As with pretty much any kind of poker, bets should at least match the table’s current highest bet amount – except in cases where a player goes all-in – to count.


There are six main reasons a misdeal is called:

  • The dealer exposes cards within the first two deals or reveals at least two cards anytime during the game
  • At least two extra cards are dealt during a game’s opening hand
  • At least two cards are incorrectly faced in a deck
  • An empty seat is dealt in or an active player is dealt out
  • Incorrect or out-of-sequence card-dealing (e.g., started with the wrong player, button was in the wrong spot or players were skipped)
  • At least one player gets too many or too few cards and the situation cannot be remedied without affecting the card-dealing sequence

Whenever a misdeal happens, the dealer will try their best to make adjustments and fix the situation – unless play has already begun, in which case the hand must be played through.

Dead hands

Hands are automatically declared dead (and decks are replaced with a new one) whenever at least one card is visibly marked or damaged to prevent any form of collusion between or cheating among players.

Other situations that result in dead hands are:

  • Players folding
  • Players placing bets on hands that contain jokers as hole cards in games where jokers are not considered live cards
  • Players throw down their hands in a way that makes it appear as if they’ve folded
  • One player’s cards are thrown into another’s hand
  • Players’ hands contain the wrong number of cards (except in Lowball and Stud)
  • Time runs out without action (only applies to timed games)


All players must reveal their hands (including any extra cards they have) to qualify, except in some games where any player who verbally concedes may choose to keep their cards concealed.

Nothing else but the cards can be used to determine a winner. This means that any verbal declarations made by players cannot affect the final outcome of the hand. In cases where a player intentionally misleads all active players and the dealer into thinking that they have won the pot even if they didn’t, that player may be disqualified from the hand.

Split pots

In case there is a tie, the pot will be split evenly among all winning players. Any odd chips left behind will go to one of the winners based on the specific rules of the game being played.

There you have it: a brief overview of the official WSOP rules. Click here to view the full version or read up on the rules of a specific game.

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