The Poker Floorman

A Floorman's perspective of the poker world

Seat Changes in the Poker Room

How do Seat Changes work at the poker table?

There are many reasons for wanting to change seats at the poker table and it’s not as simple as just getting up and moving when you want to.  Other players may want to change seats as well.  To keep things under control, the dealer should have “Seat Change Buttons” to keep the order of seat changes clear to avoid arguments.  Players are given these buttons to preserve the order in which a seat change was requested:  the player with the Seat Change 1 button has the first option to move seats, then Seat Change 2, etc.  If you want a seat change just ask the dealer for a Seat Change button.

If there is an open seat at the table, any existing player has preference over a new player for that open seat provided that the existing player move to the seat before the new player becomes active in the game.  In the poker room where I work, the house rule is that once a new player takes the seat and sits down, no other player may claim that seat.  A good dealer will ask the existing players if anyone wants the open seat before a new player takes it.

Once there is an open seat and the player with the Seat Change 1 button is offered the seat, he may take it or or pass.  Then the player with the Seat Change 2 button is offered the seat.  Once a player changes seats, he relinquishes the Seat Change Button and he goes to the bottom of the seat change list if he wants to move again.  House rules do vary here somewhat.  Some poker rooms will make the player who declined the seat change forfeit the Seat Change button.  Other rooms let him keep it.  I prefer that the button be forfeited or one player can have first choice indefinitely, which doesn’t seem fair.

That all seems pretty straightforward, but what about the blinds?  Couldn’t a player repeatedly move seats to avoid paying the blinds?  No.  There are rules in place to combat this.

The generally accepted rule is that if a player moves to a vacant seat that is right next to the seat he’s already in, the game isn’t affected at all, so that player can move with no penalty and get a hand immediately.  If the player moves to a vacant seat that is closer to the blinds than the seat he’s already in (even if he jumps over other players), he can move with no penalty and this player can get a hand immediately as well.  Moving to a vacant seat that is farther away from the blinds incurs a penalty, and this is what keeps players from constantly moving seats to avoid the blinds.

When a player moves away from the blinds, he will be forced to sit out the same number of hands as players he jumped over or he can post the amount of the Big Blind.  For example:  the Button is in Seat 1 and the blinds are in Seat 2 and Seat 3.  The player in Seat 5 moves to Seat 8.  He jumped over 2 players (Seat 6 and 7), so he will have to wait 2 hands before being dealt in or post the amount of the Big Blind and receive a hand immediately.  The number of players that he jumped over is the same as the number of “free hands” he would receive if he was allowed to be dealt in right away.

In general, players are not allowed to move out of a blind position into a vacant seat.  Some rooms will allow the Small Blind to move seats, but the player is then required to post the amount of the Small Blind live.  The penalty here is that the player still pays the Small Blind and he will not be able to play his button on the next hand.

April 13, 2011 Posted by | For Beginner Poker Players, Going from Online to B&M Poker, Poker Rules | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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