Friday, May 13, 2016

Ruling Dilemma

There will be no hand summaries in this post.  This post is about a dealer/floor ruling.  I wasn't in the hand but I did have a front row seat minus the popcorn.

Three players were in the hand.  Seat 5 is in mid position and seat 9 is in the cut-off.  Seat 6 checks and the dealer tells seat 9 that it is his turn to act.  Seat 9 bets $25.  Seat 5, who has been drinking, speaks up and says he hasn't acted.  Apparently, he was debating how much to bet.  The dealer and seat 6 thought he had checked.  The dealer moves the action back to seat 5.  Seat 5 says he was going to bet but now he will check knowing that seat 9 will bet.  Seat 6 checks also.

Now, seat 9 wants to check but the dealer won't allow it.  The dealer tells seat 9 that he has to put the $25 out since the action before him hadn't changed.  Seat 9 protests by saying that the dealer had instructed him that it was his turn to act initially and that it wasn't his fault he bet out of turn.  

The whole table starts chiming in.  The floorman is called and the dealer and seat 9 go over the whole thing again.  Other players put their two cents in just for the sake of it.  The floorman radios a higher-up who arrives after few minutes.  Once again, the whole story is retold to the manager.

Ruling: They told seat 9 that his $25 bet stands and that it is every player's responsibility to follow the action and make sure he/she doesn't act out of turn.

After that, it's time to finish the hand.  Seat 9 bets $25 and then seat 5 raises to $75.  Seat 6 folds.  Seat 9 folds reluctantly and is steaming.

My take: I understand that this is the rule of this poker room and you have to play by the rules.  But, to me, it's a dumb rule.  The dealer is the policeman of the table.  The rule should be: the dealer has to make sure he/she receives a clear signal from the acting player.  In this case, the dealer should have asked seat 5 if he had checked before letting the action proceed.

What do you think?


  1. While I empathize with the victimized player, at the end of the day, it his responsibility to follow the action. This is no different from the situation where the dealer swipes the cards of a player with a live hand; it is his responsibility to protect his hand.

  2. Wow..a whole lot of mistakes made in this hand. But you know what wasn't a mistake? The actual ruling.

    First off, the dealer could have insisted that Seat 5 checked (you know, made a motion that was interpreted as checking). But no the dealer basically admitted a mistake, thinking he had checked when he had not. Fine, the player gets a chance to bet.

    From that point on, there's really no argument. A player bets out of turn, and that player's action stands, period. As long as the action before it didn't change it, it's a bet, case closed. If Seat 5 had bet $10, Seat 9 could fold, call, raise to $25, gone all in, whatever. But since there was no action in front of him, he has to bet the $25. he can't check, he can't bet $10 instead--or $50. Sure there (may have been) a dealer error, but dealer errors are part of the game, it doesn't change a thing. No action changed before it got to him, he has to follow through on what he did originally. Otherwise, he could be angle shooting.

    In fact, this is so cut-and-dry to me, I don't get what all the fuss was about. The floorman needed to radio the manager, and get him off his lunch (or potty) break? Absurd. Any floorman could make this ruling, it's a no-brainer. A regular dealer who happened to be walking by while on his way out could have made it. I'm shocked the manager was called

    And for what...a lousy $25 bet? Wow, that is nuts. Maybe if there were a couple of hundred involved, I could see calling the manager, but to make a federal case out of $25? You've got to be kidding. If I was one of the other players at the table, I would be pissed the game was being delayed so long over nothing. That is, unless I had a blog that I could write about the hand in!

    As for mistakes, well how about the idiot in Seat 5 saying anything at all? Why advertise the fact that he intended to bet? If he realized he could check-raise, and wanted to, keep your damn mouth shut and don't give away the strength of your hand!

    In fact, once he saw the guy starting to bet, he never should have told the dealer he hadn't checked. Just STFU and let the guy hang himself.

    UNLESS....UNLESS....he only decided after he saw Seat 9 have a shit-fit about having to bet that he would raise? Maybe seat 5 wasn't all that strong, but once he saw how badly seat 9 didn't want to bet any more, he knew he sure as hell didn't have Aces or Kings or anything real strong. Maybe he was just trying to steal the blinds with nothing. But how nice of seat 9 to tell everyone at the table--including the observant seat 5--that he wasn't very strong by insisting the FBI be called in to rule on his lousy $25 bet! So seat 9 made a huge mistake himself. I mean, at that point, after the entire state of Maryland (it was Maryland, right?) had been called to try to allow him not to bet, you'd have to be pretty dumb NOT to raise him if you were seat 5, right?

    I'd love to know what would have happened if, after he was told he had to bet $25, he had just shrugged and said, "ok" and put out his money. Maybe seat 5 folds...or just calls. But with seat 9 telegraphing the weakness of his hand, why not raise him? Maybe seat 5 wasn't being such an idiot to announce he wanted to bet after all?

    Anyway, dealer errors are tough, but the guy put out money, the action hadn't changed, that's the rule.

    I'll bet the poker room manager is pissed at his floorman for getting him out of the john for nothing.

    1. PS...great story Xdex, I actually love stuff like this, if I was at the table, I would have been pissed until I realized a blog post was breaking out in front of me!

      As it is my comment is like twice as long as your post! I did almost consider writing up my response as a post on my blog...could have easily found a way to make it twice as long!

  3. i blame the dealer for telling him its his turn, he shouldnt be forced to bet. if seat 5 cant keep his mouth shut, he should forfeit his right to check raise

  4. Pretty standard, player 9's bet stands.

  5. Other players put their two cents in just for the sake of it.

    Doncha just love it? Everybody's a lawyer.