top of page

SPL Rules & Regulations

Sunshine Poker League Official Rules & Regulations


Showing up:


  • The tournament director (TD) arrives at the venue & sets up tables, chips, cards, dealer buttons, iPad for sign-in & laptop for clock. 

  • Players show up, sign in & common courtesy would be to say hello to the TD & ask how their day is going. No need to but it goes a long way. They’re helping the league out to provide this entertainment for you since I physically can’t be at all venues. They’re going out of the way to set up, run a smooth game & break down. Be respectful to all TDs. 

  • Do not show up drunk or smelling like marijuana. Most venues are family establishments & that’s not tolerated. Imagine that’s your place of business & you lose paying customers. Not cool & won't be tolerated. 

  • The numbers of players signed in determines how many players qualify for SPL and Bar Poker Open online points that tournament so please don’t forget to sign in.

  • The 500 early bird bonus chips are to show up early and support the venue, not to collect the bonus and sit down not supporting. If you continue not to support the venue, you will not be given the early bonus chips.

  • If you haven’t done so already, please join our league by putting in your information on our website to assist us with league data. 

  • 28 or fewer players sign in, top 11 receive points. If 29 or more, we multiply the total amount of player by .4 and round up or down to determine how many players are in points. For example, if 31 total players signed up, 12.4 meaning 12 players are in points. If 34 players total, that will be 13.6 meaning top 14 players are in points. Top 40% earn SPL live points & top 20% earn SPL super league & bar poker open online points. Top 3 finishers, earn a virtual token that can be redeemed online Sunday mornings @8am PST to participate in the bar poker open satellite tournament where if you finish in the top 2%, you will earn a paid seat into our next $400,000 national championship in Vegas. If you win the Sunday morning tournament, you will earn a full Vegas package which includes free hotel stay at the Golden Nugget for the entire time there, $400 reimbursement for your flight and your seat paid for by the BPO team. Full Vegas packages are also available on some Saturday evenings. Visit their website for more information.

  • The venue owners pay for the bar poker open top three tokens so please make sure you use your tokens online and support the venue each time you play by having drinks and/or purchasing food to show support so they continue to have us host our tournaments at their establishments. 

  • TD's will have a speech before starting the tournament to thank everyone for supporting the league and venue, welcome new players, remind everyone about upcoming events, congratulate players who either have won a tournament, and/or earned their seats to Vegas. They will start the clock mostly on time. If there are a few minutes behind because they're explaining to new players how the league works or some players are still at the bar ordering a drink or food, please be patient as they're doing their best. Starting the clock a few minutes late will not make or break you. 

  • The TD will let you know when to high card for the dealer position. 

  • You only start dealing when the TD lets you know to shuffle up and deal and start the clock.

  • Our league is self dealt since we are not allowed to pay to have professional dealers deal for us. If for any reason, you can not or do not want to deal, kindly ask another player to deal for you. 

  • Make sure you deal every ghost/Casper just in case a player walks in late, they get to play in Casper’s place. Casper gets blinded out until a player takes his spot.

  • Players have until the first break ends to still get in and play.

  • A new hand is not to be started if there is a minute left before any break to give the TD time to color up & players to use the restroom, stretch their legs, go outside or order food or drinks. 

  • We ask players to please place their green chips in front of them, either stack of 4 greens or 20 greens for the tournament director and/or table captain to color them up. If a player has 1 green chip, you will receive 1 black chip, 525 chips in greens, you will receive 600. 475, you receive 500, etc.

  • After the break is over, the blinds will now be 100-200 and no new players are allowed to join anymore. 

  • After 400-800, there will be another break. At this time, we will color up the blacks as you did the greens knowing to round up. For example, if have 1 black chip, you will receive a purple chip (500). 1100 black chips, get 1500 chips. If you could add a purple here and there to make your chips come out to 2700 or 3900 so the TD can give you just yellows, I’d appreciate that as it makes it easier with less purples on the tables. Much easier to bet with 5 yellows than 10 purples.

  • Please let the TD know when you have 5 players at your table so he/she can balance tables. No need to say anything if you go from 8 to 7. Also, no need to keep moving players around every time we have 8 at one table, 7 at the other and 6 at one since a player might be short stacked and get knocked out at the table with 8 and moving players left and right in unnecessary. Allow the TD to act accordingly if or when he/she feels the need to balance tables. 

  • Once the TD lets you know that everyone is in the points, please sign out accordingly when knocked out. 

  • You will play until there is 10 players left & all 10 make it to the final table. You will all be asked to take your chips to the final table. At this time, you will take a final table picture and a video preferably putting hands up in the air like you just don’t care, so others see how much of a great time we are having and hopefully more players will join us. You always high card by having all cards spread on entire tabletop face down & whoever picks the first Ace or first high card if no Ace is drawn to determine the dealer. You could also have the table captain shuffle the cards, cut once and give every player a card face up starting at the player to their left. Both ways are ok. 

  • You will sign out when you get knocked out including your email addresses if not on file yet. If the tournament director is knocked out themselves, they could help deal or it would be awesome if a volunteer could deal for the entire final table while another is shuffling another deck to have ready for next hand so speed the game up since most venues close at a specific time. Once there are three players remaining you will get together, hold up the top three Bar Poker Open token flyers and take another picture. 

  • You will play until there is a winner where the champ for the evening takes the trophy, the belt and the crown/tiara and takes the winning photo/video. Afterwards for a shinny penny the winner can pick out an SPL card protector token that you can have for life. Why a penny? Because of the state of CA gambling rules & laws does not allow us to give you anything of value so we have to sell it to you using my business LLC and EIN number. 

  • Points & tokens will be updated online as soon as myself and/or the TD has time. 


General rules to follow:


  • Any raise must be at least double or more the previous bet, for example if someone bets 100 chips and someone else raises it must be at least 200 and if there is a re-raise or 3-bet, the minimum must be 400, so please make sure the raise is at least double or more the previous bet. Yes, I am aware these are not casino rules as in the casinos a player could raise to 150 if the blinds are 50-100 but at SPL I believe it’s easier to simply double the blinds since it’s a beginners welcome & social poker league where most players don’t play in the casinos anyway. Hope our "pros" can adjust to this while playing in our league.

  • If there are two or more all-ins & the all-ins are all different numbers, please keep your chips in front of you to see who wins the pot and then divide the chips accordingly. For example, if someone is all in for 5000 and another player is all-in for 7000 and another all-in for 10000 and the player with 7000 chips wins the pot, he gets the 5000 from the one player 7000 from the other player that had 10000 and if the player with the 10000 chips wins the side pot, he gets to keep 3000. It’s best to wait and see who wins the pot before dividing the pot because if the player with the most chips wins, no dividing or side pot is necessary.. unless there’s action behind. Most tables have educated enough table captains and will divide chips accordingly when its necessary. If not, TDs will do so.  

  • In a split pot situation, if there is an extra chip that cannot be split equally between the players involved, the extra chip will go to the active player left of the dealer button.  

  • Please try to get used to always cover your cards with a card protector to save any confusion or your cards being accidentally mucked. 

  • All cards must remain on the table. This is the whole cards & the deck. The deck should never be taken off the table or under the table. 

  • Try not to take any chips off the table unless being moved and keep your cards on the table while looking at your hand instead of picking your cards completely off of the table to save other players from accidentally seeing your whole cards. Watch a few YouTube videos to see how dealers deal and how players look at their whole cards.

  • Upon completion of action, all players must flip their cards to see who the winner is. If it’s heads up & a players calls another player that bet the river, the player that bet has to show their cards first in order to win the pot. If a player says you’re good, you got me or you caught me & they muck, the player that called them does not need to show their cards to win the pot since the other player already mucked. It’s common courtesy to show even if you got caught bluffing with 6 high since the other player called you. Please follow these simple rules to keep the game fair and fun rather than being "that person".

  • All cards will be turned face up once a player is all in and all action is complete. In an effort to promote fair play, if a player prefers to muck their cards at showdown, any player dealt in to the hand at the table may request the cards to be shown after the pot has been awarded to the winner of the hand. It is considered bad etiquette if you don’t show your cards because I’m sure you’re not but others might think you’re “chip dumping” (cheating by purposely folding a winning hand to another player at the table). If you believe a player to be colluding with another, please let your TD know & your reasoning regarding your accusation. The TD will give our verbal warnings if or when necessary and further actions could be taken. Again, please don't be "that player".

  • One player to a hand.. at all times. Please do not expose or discuss your cards at any time during the hand. 

  • Any player at the table may call the clock on an opposing player at any time, although it is common courtesy to allow ample time to pass before calling the clock on a player. A player may use 2 minutes max preferably since blinds go up rapidly. If the 2 minutes is up, another player at the table may call clock. At this point, the player that hasn't acted yet has 30 seconds to act or their hand is considered mucked.

  • If a player or dealer accidentally mucks an unprotected hand, the player’s cards are dead & will lose any chips in the pot. An exception would be if a player raised and his raise had not been called yet, he would be entitled to receive his raise back. Protect your cards at all times. 

  • Please do not discuss mucked cards or hand possibilities at all times. Do not make a face, some kind of growling noise like a dog, sigh, hit the table or anything in this nature when you fold a hand & the flop would’ve been in your favor since this is giving unnecessary information to players still in the hand. Once you fold, try your best to forget what you had since there’s nothing you can do about it anymore. 

  • Always remember, as one of our shirts say, no one cares what you folded! It’s over! Finito! Keep the should’ve, could’ve, would’ve lines to yourself. Please! At that time, you made the right decision to fold and that's all that matters. Doesn't matter if you would've gotten lucky or not.

  • The best hand wins, whether or not the player knows they have the winning hand. Anyone at the table, in or out of the hand is allowed to call out the winning hand just in case the winning player or dealer does not catch it. The board speaks for itself. 

  • Only in heads up play, can a player show the other player in the hand their cards even turned over in front of them not crossing the line to analyze their move and to gain knowledge once the river is out or the other player is all-in & you’re deciding on calling or not and there is no raise. 

  • 99% of us are not professional dealers so sometimes cards are mucked accidentally, action takes place out of turn, Casper’s don’t get dealt in or cards are exposed. Accidents happen! Take it easy & remember that we’re not perfect. None of us are. Be kind to all players no matter their poker or dealing skill levels. 




  • At SPL, we’re on a first come, first serve basis. Preferably, save your seat after signing in with a card protector or early chip to secure seat. Try not to save seats for other players are this might leave 5 players at one table & 8 at the other. Once they arrive late, the TD will find them a spot at a table with the least amount of players keeping all tables somewhat balanced. 

  • When consolidating tables, the TD will do their best to move all players to a similar position at their next table. You might not get to be exactly right behind the button in some cases because of where other players are sitting but I promise that the TD is doing their best to make sure you’re as close to where you were sitting on the other table. You will never have to be big blind again if you were just big blind at the previous table. Because of timing & have to be out of the venue at a specific time, most blind levels towards the end of the tournament will be shortened. The system is not perfect but we do our best for you to still enjoy the game and keep the venues happy by not exceeding their closing time.

  • If there are 4 or more new players at the table after consolidating, you will high card for a new dealer! All players will play in the following hand after a high card has been dealt. Very rarely but at times you do have to be big blind again and there is nothing we can do about it. It's just the way it is.

  • Players will always high card to start the final table. 

  • Players moving to a new table cannot play in the small blind but will play in every other position, including big blind. A player cannot choose to skip the big blind in tournament play unless they just paid their big blind at the previous table & due to limited open seats, they were placed in the big blind position. Then & only then they get skipped twice until button passes them & now they’re in the hand being the cutoff. 

  • Late players may still participate after the first break until 100-200 starts. Then, no one can get in anymore. If a player walking in a minute before the break is over, they can play but with a shortened chip stack of 4,500 chips.

  • If there is a difference of 2 players from the largest table and the smallest table, play will continue and table balancing or consolidation is not required. If the difference is 3 or more, then tables will be balanced by the TD. During this time of balancing tables, play will continue for all tables with 5 or more players unless the TD announces otherwise. If at any time a table has four 4 players, play at that table should be halted until the table is consolidated. You might be asked to move. Please please simply pick up your chips & kindly move with a smile on your face & confident enough that you’re going to make it to the final table. No getting upset or saying aww or why me. It happens to all of us.

  • When one table reaches 4 players & the other has six, it’s final table time. 




  • If a player acts out of turn & bets, that player must take their chips back as it’s not their turn & the player that the action was on may act accordingly with obvious information. 

  • No string betting meaning placing 500 chips as if you’re betting then reaching in your stack again and adding another 500. All bets should be make with one motion. Verbally stating what you want your action to be is most preferred to prevent confusion. 

  • Do not bet or act out of turn. Always look around to see if the player to your right has acted, then act. Always try to pay attention, know when it’s your turn & know what the blinds are to help the game run smoothly. 


During dealing:


  • While dealing, if the 1st or 2nd card accidentally gets flipped over, the dealer will shuffle, cut and re-deal. If the 3rd, 4th, etc get accidently flipped over the flipped card will be the first burn card. 

  • If 2 cards get flipped over accidentally, you must shuffle again, cut & re-deal. 

  • If there are accidently 4 cards on the flop the last card shown will be the burn card for the turn. If you are betting one chip, please announce verbally how much you are betting or raising or simply use 2 chips to make it easier. 

  • If you want to go all-in or announce it, you could simply bet 1 chip of your lowest denomination and that means you're all-in rather than betting your 6 stacks of chips back & forth. 

  • If the turn or the river is dealt prior to the completion of the second betting round, the exposed card will be placed back in the deck, shuffled once, cut, then resume.

  • Exposed burn cards are treated simply as an exposed card. All players must know what the exposed card was to keep it fair. No need to burn again as the exposed card is the burn card. 

  • To expedite the game, no need to ask another player to cut the cards. The dealer may shuffle at least 3 times and cut the cards themselves preferably half of the deck. 

  • The best hand according to the rules of the game wins the pot. A winning hand consists of two visible cards, face up.

  • If any hand is accidentally shown to a player in the current hand, it must be immediately shown to all players in the hand for fairness of the game.

  • If you show your hand to another player after you bet & everyone folds, you must show all other players, even if they weren’t in that specific hand. It’s the show one, show all rule. Either don’t show anyone because it should be one player to a hand anyway but if you do prepare to show everyone. 


Leaving early:


  • If you don’t believe you can stay until the end of the tournament, please don’t play at all. It’s not cool & such bad etiquette knowing you can’t win due to other obligations yet you still decide to take a seat, call players all the way down with a 10-3 because they were suited & hit your flush, knock them out, then say ok I have to leave now & forfeit your chips. Please don’t play if you know you have other obligations or won’t be able to stay for the entire evening. Players are there to earn points and qualify for bigger events and it's not ok to play and potentially knock them out and leave. If, for any reason such as an emergency or you planned on staying for the entire event but something came up and you do really need to leave, please do not play another hand, leave your chips at the table, inform the TD that unfortunately you have to leave. Your chips will get blinded out until break or before points and removed from play. If you have to briefly leave and know you will come back shortly, simply let the TD know and they will know not to remove your chips from play.

  • At no time will any player distribute their chips among other players because of their inability to finish the game. If you are planning on leaving the tournament, be courteous to other players who still wish to play. Going all-in on every hand is discouraged as it is not in the best interest of the spirit of the game. We may give a warning to a player making repetitive All In bets that are unrealistic under normal play. If the director feels that it is the best interest of the event, they may remove the tournament chips from any player disrupting the event in this manner. We understand that players have the right to bet their chips any way they choose in a casino tournament but at our “entertainment” events, we have to be conscious of all players since it's supposed to be a social league where everyone wants to have fun, socialize and stick around so once again please don't be "that player". Thank you!

  • If you have to leave the venue for a short period of time (twenty minutes or less), you must let the TD know & you will simply get blinded out until you return. If due to a lengthy absence your chips have been removed from play, you will have no recourse. In the interest of fairness, the TD has discretion over the length of time a player may be absent and still participate in the tournament. 



SPL conduct rules:
The following actions are improper, not permitted and ground for warning, removal, suspension and/or immediate banning from our league for life!


  • Collusion with another player or any other form of cheating. 

  • Verbally or physically threatening or assaulting any player, patron, tournament host, or venue employee.

  • Using profanity or obscene language.

  • Creating a disturbance by arguing, shouting, being mean or disrespectful. 

  • Throwing, tearing, bending or marking cards, chips, or any other event related equipment.

  • Taking chips that don’t belong to you from another player, chip trays or the chip boxes. 

  • Talking politics.

  • Arguing or being disrespectful to any patron, staff, other players or TD.

  • Cheating when dealing to see what the flop, turn or river will be. 

  • Looking over at another player’s cards. 

  • Bringing in outside food or beverage to any event. 

  • Violating any local or state laws.



SPL etiquette: 


The following is expected of our players at each event:


  • Be at the table to post your blinds and deal when it is your turn.

  • View your surroundings to see if an absent player is on his/her way to the table or is in the vicinity to play his/her hand & count to 10 before it is mucked. 

  • Be patient while a player is speaking with a server or bartender while placing an order as they are supporting the venue.

  • Clearly communicate your betting actions to the table to remove confusion.

  • Place your large denominated chips in front of your chip stacks for players to view.

  • Socialize and have fun. If you're upset, mad, angry or sick, please stay home.

  • Do not tell the director what they should do. 

  • Do not make anyone uncomfortable. 

  • Do not raise your voice. 

  • Do not engage in an argument, yelling match, or what you think another player should’ve done. 

  • Do not swear. 

  • Acting violent is strictly prohibited. 

  • Do not act out of turn. 

  • Do not splash chips into the pot.

  • Do not verbally agree to check a hand down when a third player is all-in (this is a form of collusion). Simply check it down. The objective is to knock the all in player out. If your hand improves tremendously and you truly believe that you most likely have a better hand than the all in player according to the board and want to see if you can maximize your earnings against the other player, then you may bet. The last thing you want to do is to bluff the other player out of the hand, not win any extra chips and keep the all in player still in the game but the other player would've knocked them out. 

  • Do not reveal the contents of a folded hand before the betting is complete. Do not divulge contents of a hand during a deal, even to someone not in the pot, so you do not leave any possibility of the information being transmitted to an active player.

  • Do not stall the action of the game.

  • Do not make statements that could unfairly influence the course of play.

  • No Rabbit Hunting, aka “running it out”, once a hand is over, it's over. Do not check to see what the flop, turn or river would've been. In the spirit of fast and friendly play, we ask that you do not ask to Rabbit Hunt whatsoever. It also messes with your mind psychologically. 

  • No berating or harassing a player based on their playing style or the luck of the cards.

  • Do not bring your personal issues to the league. 

  • Be polite, respectful & positive. 



The following is expected of our players to keep our league entertaining and enjoyable:


  • Making new players feel welcome. 

  • Helping educate new players on basic rules in a polite and friendly manner. 

  • Supporting the nonprofits whenever we have a fundraiser.

  • Supporting the venue meaning spending at least $10 by purchasing food, drinks or any other items they might have for sale at each tournament. Please do not show up not supporting the venues. Joining and participating in our league does not cost you but it does cost the venues and the league to keep this entertainment going for you so please support the venues however you can as much as possible. Don't drink? Buy someone a drink once in awhile that you like like, admire or has helped you out one way or another. Not hungry? Buy someone an order of fries or something once in awhile. It goes a long way. I understand that we're not all rich but please support however you can. How would you feel if you invited me over your house or business paying rent and bills there to keep the lights and electricity on, I constantly used your restroom, toilet paper, water and whatever else that you pay for with your money and I never paid you or supported you in any way? Please support the venues!!

  • Supporting the league with at least a $5 per month suggested donation. You don't have to but it's greatly appreciated and helps a lot with paying for league costs. I pay fees to the state of CA to keep the league legit and alive, pay to keep the website running, leaderboard fees, legal fees, LLC fees, business insurance, taxes, laptops, iPads, card protectors, bracelets, trophies, awards, paid thousands of dollars for tabletops, chips, cards, etc. With all of the entertainment we offer and the incentives the Bar Poker Open team offers to you, a minimum of $5 a month should not be too much to ask to donate to this league. If it is too much or you don't have it, I completely understand. I greatly appreciate everyone that either purchases SPL gear, supports the venues and donates to the league!! This league is still here and growing because of you! 

  • Tipping servers accordingly.  

  • Being nice, friendly & polite to all venue staff. 

  • Assisting the tournament director to color up chips or in any other way possible to insure a smooth tournament.  

  • Kindly grab your chips & move whenever asked to switch tables to consolidate without arguing, making sad faces, getting upset or asking why me. The director has to keep tables even and when in position it might be you. It is what it is. Happens to every player. 



By taking or requesting a seat in any of our games, you agree that the SPL owner or any of our tournament directors have the final word on who may play, the manner in which play shall be conducted & enforcement of any rule. The venue & all of its employees have the right to prohibit any player from using its facilities for any reason whatsoever. 


If you believe the employees, managers, servers, bartenders, tournament directors or any of our players are being rude, disrespectful or unfair in any way, shape or form, please contact me immediately and allow me to handle the situation. Please do not take any action without consulting with me first. This is very important. 

Note: Due to the different rules of the game of Texas Hold'em, depending on the location and the game you are playing, extensive rules are not written here. All rules not written on here are interpreted by the TD at the time in question. If I missed any specific rules, which I’m sure I did, please contact me personally, let me know what you think I should add & I will do so. 


Any questions regarding the league in general or league rules, please ask your tournament director or you can always email me at or Text or call me at 805-714-6644. If its online poker related, you could directly email the Bar Poker open team at


Tournament directors will attempt to maintain a fun & pleasant environment for all players and members. Please do your best to always put yourselves in their shoes & be a role model for future players. Failure to follow the code of conduct may deny you participation into our events.   

Players are expected to conduct themselves in a proper and professional manner at all times.  


The goal of SPL is to support the community & manage a fun and friendly social bar poker league where we welcome anyone & everyone no matter their skill level, religion, background, sex, belief or race. Let’s support the venues, support the league in any way shape or form, support the community, better our game of poker, have fun, leave our problems & negativity at the door & enjoy one another’s company for the 3-4 hours we’re at the venues. At the end of the day, our motto is to turn strangers into friends & friends into family in the heart of the community one tournament at a time. 

By participating in SPL hosted events, all players agree to abide by the following rules. Live events hosted at restaurants and bars on our schedule are open to the public. Everyone is welcome to join as long as they’re over the age of 21. 

I greatly appreciate all of you and I understand that in any competition there may be a conflict with another player. All players are expected to act professional and courteous at all times, under all circumstances. Please don’t be “that player” and force me to ask you to find another hobby. Pretty please! 🙏🏻


Thank you!

Sincerely, Donnie Sunshine

Sunshine Poker League founder/owner

bottom of page