Roy Cooke, the author of Real Poker II, co-authored with John Bond, has written and compiled with Bond again a fine, useful, timely resource titled Cooke’s Rules of Real Poker (171 pages, paperbound, $9.95).
Given that poker has become America’s game, this work will provide standards for running a game. Cooke, a veteran of more than two decades at the tables, has 17 sections in this book, including a five-page index, ever so valuable as a time-saver when the inevitable incident or controversy occurs at the tables.
The publisher rightfully says, "This is the first poker rule book of the 21st century" and that the purpose of this book is to provide a uniform set of rules for the most popular poker games in public card rooms.
The authors explain that "This Rulebook considers fixed limit, spread limit, pot-limit and no-limit games." To be as clear as possible, they cover Texas hold’em, seven stud and seven stud high-low split, razz, five-card stud, Omaha high and high low split, draw and lowball.
For the generous price, this book covers plenty of territory including timing and application of rules, grounds for expulsion, seating, spectators, right to inspect cards, chips and cash on the table and house employees.
The book is excellent for novice dealers. Poolrooms and bowling alleys that plan to conduct an occasional poker tournament for profit or charity will benefit from the extensive research done by Cooke and Bond, as will the home game host, fraternal organization gatherings, country club specials or the ever-growing campus dormitory get-togethers.
Procedural errors in dealing, not enough cards in the deck, if a player asks how many cards were drawn, the "exposed card" situation, split pots, players who notice errors, acting out of turn, splashing the pot, dead hands, intentionally exposing cards are the kind of trouble situations that crop up in every poker arena. How are they handled or should be handled? The book helps solve the problems quickly.
For obvious reasons and since hold’em is a red-hot game, there’s major material on the game--and the areas with greatest potential for controversy are covered in Blinds and the Dealer Button; followed by Seating, Table Assignments, Starting Games, Transfers, Lists, Etc.
Another major chapter focuses on Dealers, the Deal, and the Deck, with sections on the Shuffle and Cut; Scooping Bets; Burning; Fouled Deck; Dealing Community Cards Early; Misdealing the Flop, Turn or River; Player Dealt Games and Mechanical Shufflers.
For those even more focused on time and money, a small chapter discusses collection and rake. Other rules included Table Signs; Shills and Prop Players; Collusion; English Only; Telephones at Table; Profanity and Verbal Abuse.
The section on Poker Etiquette includes Talking and Critiquing; Treating Dealers Courteously; Leaving the Table; Deliberate Obstruction; Expediting the Game.
For those who badly need this, there’s a 20-page section of poker definitions followed by short but extremely valuable advice on proposed stake structures and minimum buy-ins, proposed jackpot structure (including "bad beat" jackpot rules and ideas) plus tournament rules. This final section on tournament rules references a web site which should prove valuable.
Overall, this is clearly a long overdue, much needed compilation which should help the often beleaguered card room managers; players and of course, dealers, all whom play an important role in making any card room or tournament successful.