Friday, December 16, 2016

Unethical Poker Hand

Throughout the years of playing live poker, I haven't seen anything that was as unethical as the hand I witnessed recently.  I don't feel that great about telling the story and soon you'll find out why.

I had been at the table for couple of hours.  Seat 7 and seat 9 came to the table together.  They were a middle-aged couple.  The lady sat in seat 7 and the guy in seat 9.  We'll call them Wife and Husband. They played few orbits and then went to get food. Shortly after they returned the following hand happened.

There was a high hand promo going on during this time.  The high hand winner gets $500.  I am in mid position and have 4,5.  I call $2 and so does the Wife, seat 8 on the button, the Husband, and seat 10.  Everyone in the hand is playing more than $150 behind.

The flop is 2,3,5 and the Husband leads out for $7, seat 10 calls, I call, and the Wife makes it $35.  Right away seat 8 pushed all his chips in.  The action is on the Husband and he thinks for a little bit and folds.  Seat 10 folds and I fold.

The Wife asks the dealer if she can talk and flip her cards over before she makes a decision.  The dealer says yes since it is heads up.  The Wife flips over K,4.  She stands up and says she is behind but she could hit the straight flush and win the $500 high hand promo (she didn't know it but her statement was incorrect since a player has to use both dealt cards to make a high hand and for it to count).  She says that she has a one-outer to hit her straight flush if seat 8 flopped the nut flush.

Seat 8 also stands up and is staring at the board.  I'm looking at both of them as they stand next to each other.  The Wife glances at her Husband who is still seated in his chair but has pushed it back few feet from the table.  Essentially he is in seat 8's peripheral vision.  The Husband nods his head and with his lips (not out-loud) says "call, call" to the Wife.  I see all this happening but I don't know if anyone else is paying attention to the Husband.

At this point, I suspect that the Husband folded the A.  I might be wrong but it was my logical conclusion.  Within 5 seconds of this happening, the Wife makes the call.  Seat 8 flips over J,7 and the Wife wins the pot.

After the hand, the Husband says to seat 10 that he was on a flush draw.  The Wife most likely would have made the call without the Husband telling her to do so.  But, his actions were 100% unethical, in my opinion.

I don't feel good about witnessing what happened and not speaking up.  What could I have said?  It would have been the Husband's word against mine.  Even if another player spoke up and agreed with me, would the result of the hand been different?


  1. Where was the dealer during all of this?

  2. Dealer most likely can't see husband's gesture in seat 9.

    100% should speak up. It may not affect results of this hand, but it serves notice to the offenders this is not allowed, and if they didn't know it is wrong, now they know. There is no way to prove the husband has the Ace of clubs, but at the minimum it violates the one person to a hand rule.

    As an aside, this is one of the reason I don't like the hand being opened during the hand. It increases the opportunity to collude.

  3. I 100% think it's your responsibility as a player in the game to see to it that everyone is not cheating. Therefore, you should have called floor prior to the pot being awarded and asked that the game be paused for a moment for the floor to decide how to proceed. The floor could have gone to the video tape and seen the husband's gestures, rendering the wife's hand invalid. Would you like it if the tables were reversed and you were the one whose opponent's husband was signaling her? Wouldn't you expect your fellow table mates and/or dealer to say something / do something? In a social game where there is the possibility for unethical behavior, it is up to every single player to hold themselves and each other to following the rules.

  4. Definitely speak up. The next time they pull that at the table it could be for all your chips?? A bigger question must be asked in this scenario................why are you playing 45 offsuit in middle position lol.