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POKER TOURNAMENT RULES QUESTIONS & DISCUSSIONS => Poker TDA Rules & Procedures Questions, General => Topic started by: dogzy on July 23, 2010, 01:02:30 AM

Title: nuts on the river
Post by: dogzy on July 23, 2010, 01:02:30 AM
Hello,

If a player has the highest possible hand on the river (four of a kind, royal straight flush etc...) and, in the case that he is the first to talk, is he forced to bet? Or can he try to trap his opponent by checking?
I already know that he would be forced to raise in position if his opponent was betting, otherwise a call could be considered as collusion.

What does the TDA says about this specific case?

Thank you!
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: Nick C on July 23, 2010, 04:41:44 AM
Dogzy,

 A player is never forced to bet, unless there is a bet in front of him (and of course he could fold). Having a "nut hand" has nothing to do with it. That is what check raise is for. Your statment of "I know he would be forced to raise if his opponent was betting," is also wrong.
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: Brian Vickers on July 24, 2010, 04:24:03 AM
I heard that if you were last to act on the river with the nuts and didn't take aggressive action that a lot of rooms were ruling it soft play and penalizing?  Is this no longer the case?

Of course if you are not last to act that would never be ruled a penalty because it can always be argued that it was an attempt to trap, even if it truthfully wasn't.

And of course there's always going to be circumstances where it's clear to you as the TD that it wasn't soft play, such as the nuts being on the board, a person misreading his hand and didn't know he had the nuts, a 4 card Broadway on the board and based on betting you KNOW it's just gonna be a chop anyway, etc.

I know of two bad beats that were paid out at my casino that were check-check on the river from quads/straight flush/aces full, and I'm very disappointed that we paid them out anyway when it's obvious there was soft play involved.
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: Oddvark on July 25, 2010, 11:51:53 AM
http://www.thehendonmob.com/tournament_director/checking_the_nuts.html
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: MikeB on July 25, 2010, 12:36:59 PM
TDA Rule 40 states that "...penalties will be invoked in cases of soft play..."

Soft play is not further defined in that rule so there is some room for TD interpretation, but soft play is generally taken seriously.

I recall an e-mail discussion that was going around a year of so ago, and the conclusion went something to the effect that: "... Whenever a player holds at least the non-exclusive nuts in a one-way game, or the exclusive nuts in a high/low game, and on the river they fail to act (bet or raise) when such failure will send the hand immediately to showdown (i.e. there are no players left to act after them)... they have committed soft play. All other situations are at the interpretation of the TD given all the circumstances..."

This unofficial interpretation does allow a player holding the nuts on the river to check if there are actors to follow them...  But it is strictly an unofficial interpretation... This might be a good topic to bring up at a future summit to see if there's interest in further clarifying the soft play language, thanks for the post !
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: Nick C on July 25, 2010, 01:38:17 PM
gentlemen,
 The original question was answered on the first reply. If TD's are that concerned about soft play, then they shouldn't allow brothers and sisters, or husbands and wives, or good friends to compete against each other. There is no way to enforce a penalty on a player, holding the nuts, when he doesn't raise, even when last to act. There are far too many variables to consider. The remaining players may be so low in chips that the player holding the nut hand might not want to eliminate them.
 Mike, will you explain what the non-exclusive nuts in a one way game is?..... and..what the exclusive nuts in a high low split game is?
As far as I know, there is no RULE that covers this.
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: MikeB on July 25, 2010, 09:53:24 PM
Mike, will you explain what the non-exclusive nuts in a one way game is?..... and..what the exclusive nuts in a high low split game is?
As far as I know, there is no RULE that covers this.
Non-exclusive nuts: A nut hand that another player may also be holding. Example: board is 10-j-4-3-A rainbow in Holdem. I hold Q-K, that's a non-exclusive nut hand because another player may also have Q-K. In a one-way (high only) game, I can't lose with this hand (more to the point, I can only make money with it) so to not bet or raise with it if I'm last to act on the river (and thus send the hand to showdown) is soft play.

However, let's say same board in Omaha high/low. I hold Q-K-x-x. While that's the nut high hand, it's not exclusive as several other players could also be holding a Q-K. So to bet with it, I could end up chopping the high 2 or 3 ways and coming out a loser when half the pot goes to a player(s) holding a made low. So to not bet with it when last to act can't be considered automatically soft play in every circumstance.... Same board, I hold a 2-5-x-x. Even though this is the nut low, it's not exclusive (the low never is) as several other players could be holding a 2-5, so it's understandable I might not want to bet/raise with it when last to act for fear I'd just be building the pot for the high hand and splitting the low 2 or more ways and coming out a loser on the bet.

Exclusive nuts in a H/L game: Let's say it's Omaha H/L, same board only the 10-J-A are suited spades. I hold the Q-K of spades. I have an exclusive nut-high hand in a H/L split game. I can only make money with this hand as the high pot won't be chopped. To not bet/raise with it (and thus go to showdown) when I'm last to act on the river is soft play. .... For more on this topic, see the Hendon Mob discussion linked by Oddvark above.
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: MaxH on July 26, 2010, 10:57:46 AM
Having seen, on a few occasions, players who were last to act with the nut hand failing to bet, being warned for soft play I thought - possibly wrongly - this was a rule and have even warned a player myself the one time I have seen it happen on one of my tables.
My understanding is that every player in a tournament - in a no risk situation - has the responsibility to take every opportunity to eliminate other players. Indeed, Nick's point about a player not wishing to eliminate another player because they are low in chips is precisely the situation I thought this 'rule'  (if it is a rule) is designed to stop!
Most of the time it happens is because the non-betting players don't realise they hold a nut hand but the TD (when I have seen it) has at least talked to the player to ascertain the situation.
If my memory serves me correctly, this was discussed at the Vegas conference last year but I may be mistaken about this so I suggest we ask one of the execs for their opinion.
Best,
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: Nick C on July 26, 2010, 12:42:04 PM
MaxH and everyone that commented on possible soft play. I understand what you are saying but, I have no idea how you can prove it. There are players that don't even know what they are holding and we've had discussions about blind bets and other unusual situations. I really like what Stuart said about not betting because the player holding the nut hand might want to see the hands of the other players, and if he bets, they might fold.

I also want to thank Mike for his explanation on exclusive and non-exclusive nuts. You made it very easy to understand.
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: MaxH on July 26, 2010, 02:36:59 PM
Nick, I agree it is difficult to determine soft play but it's part of being a TD as there are also many difficulties in interpretation and judging intent in other aspects of the game (see Table Talk).
The reason I believe this is a worthwhile discussion is that if Stuart were playing in our tournaments there would be players upset at his actions and I would probably be lynched in his games if I penalised his play :-) This is not to say who is right - far from it - but a large part of what the TDA seeks to bring is a consistency of approach and that is very valuable to us all.
Many of the rule changes in recent years have come about because of chip passing and soft play is one aspect of this.
Stuart's point is valid from a sophisticated player's point of view but if, and I repeat if, it is every player's responsibility to take every opportunity to eliminate a player in a no risk situation - having that rule makes sense.
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: Nick C on July 26, 2010, 06:39:26 PM
Gentlemen,

 I have taken into consideration all of the very valid arguments that you have regarding "soft play." I still side with Stuart, and I don't see how you can punish a player for not betting. Let me ask those of you that consider not betting the nuts a violation of some rule, or etiquette, how would you feel about this; Early round of a tournament, the blinds are 10/20, the final betting round ( after some serious betting in the earlier rounds). All of the players check around to the last player holding the "nuts." After betting 1000 after the turn, he now bets 20 (the minimum required bet),.........does that make it better? What's next, are we also going to dictate how much they have to bet?
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: MaxH on July 26, 2010, 11:44:41 PM
Nick, from my point of view the discussion is about whether there is a rule regarding betting the nuts on the river or not; I thought there was, Stuart, (who's views and experience I respect) doesn't think there is and it is this that needs clarification. When this has been clarified perhaps we can then move on to debate whether there should/ should not be a rule regarding this.
Best,
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: Nick C on July 27, 2010, 06:49:59 AM
Max,
 I guess we can agree, to disagree. I respect Stuart's opinion, and he said that he could not find any ruling either? There is no specific ruling for the situation described in the initial question, that is why I don't agree with the Hendon Mob. I answered the question on my first response. I will stick to my feelings that there is nothing wrong with checking the nuts, Period. The Hendon Mob (majority), think there is. I want to see it in writing, one way or the other.
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: Matt Savage on July 27, 2010, 01:12:54 PM
Yes, there is no current rule for checking (or not raising) the nuts WHEN LAST TO ACT and it is up to the Tournament Director to make a ruling if "soft play" has occurred. I have seen situations where nut hands were overlooked. I DO NOT buy the reason for not betting the nuts because he was going to fold anyway argument and will and have penalized a player for checking the nuts.
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: MaxH on July 27, 2010, 02:27:06 PM
Many thanks for the clarification, Matt.
Best,
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: Nick C on July 27, 2010, 02:36:31 PM
Matt,

 It was good to hear from you. Your opinion is what we are looking for. Thanks.

Nick C
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: DCJ001 on August 07, 2010, 12:12:31 PM
If a player with the nuts is not last to act, he may check, hoping to check-raise. If a player is last to act, and is checked to, the player is required to bet. If the player is bet to, the player with the nuts must raise.

Soft play is a serious issue. Some players have been accused of collusion, which is cheating.

Players with the nuts in WSOP and WPT events, who have checked when last to act, have been penalized. And these rulings are appropriate. Poker may be a friendly game. But poker is also meant to be played to win.

TDA Rule 40 may not specifically state anything about checking with the nuts when last to act. But the definitions of soft play are easy to understand and TD's must objectively determine when it occurs, and penalize those players who are guilty of it, regardless of their intent.

Checking with the nuts, when last to act, for the purpose of gaining information, is not a properly considered strategy.

TDA Rule 40
Penalties and Disqualification
A penalty MAY be invoked if a player exposes any card with action pending, throws a card off the table, violates the one-player-to-a-hand rule, or similar incidents take place. Penalties WILL be invoked in cases of soft play, abuse, or disruptive behavior. Penalties available to the TD include verbal warnings and “missed hand” penalties. Except for a one-hand penalty, missed hand penalties will be assessed as follows: The offender will miss one hand for every player, including the offender, who is at the table when the penalty is given multiplied by the number of rounds specified in the penalty. For the period of the penalty, the offender shall remain away from the table but will continue to be dealt in.
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: Nick C on August 07, 2010, 08:42:02 PM
I understand why you could consider collusion, but I will repeat my reply (#12).....how much does the player with the nuts have to bet? There is no specific rule for this subject. My guess is because it is so rare that it doesn't deserve mention and secondly how can you tell a player he has to bet. Is the minimum bet enough? Can he bet $10 (after the river) when the blinds are 5/10 after betting $1000 on an earlier round? That wouldn't erase thoughts of collusion, would it? That would bring us to making a rule where a player last to act, holding the exclusive nut hand, would have to bet at least a certain amount.

It was good to hear from Matt regarding this subject. He also said there is no rule for this situation. Matt did say that he issued a penalty to a player in a tournament once. My guess is that it was not that players first infraction. My guess is Matt had more on that player than not betting the nut hand.
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: DCJ001 on August 07, 2010, 09:37:08 PM
Here are some more things to consider:

You're watching a tennis match on TV. Two players are in a vicious baseline rally. One player trips and falls. The other player sees his opponent fall and, instead of putting the shot away for the point, he hits a high lob that gives his opponent seven to eight seconds to regain his composure and continue with the rally.

You're watching a golf tournament. A player addresses the ball in the rough. He inadvertently touches the ball with his club and the ball rolls about six inches.  His playing partner suggests that he puts the ball back into its original position and try again without any penalty.

You're watching a major league baseball game. A batter makes a hit to the outfield. He rounds first base and trips and falls five feet before second base. The second baseman catches the ball that is thrown to him from the outfield while he is standing on second base. But, in order for the hitter to be out, he must be tagged with the ball. And because the second baseman feels sorry for the fallen runner, he throws the ball to the pitcher and allows the hitter to crawl to second base and make a double.

Competitors must compete. Poker players often compete for a lot of money. Poker players must play by the rules and tournament directors must know the rules, and objectively enforce the rules by their words and their meaning. If/when a tournament director shrugs his shoulders and says that their was no harm in checking the nuts when last to act, he is being lazy and irresponsible. This player's action is an offense against everyone else in the field. We should all take this game seriously.

Here's some more information to consider:

http://www.vindy.com/news/2009/jan/09/soft-playing-is-cheating-don8217t-do-it/?print
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: MaxH on August 08, 2010, 02:22:09 AM
Nick, I really cannot see that this is any more complex a situation to deal with than many others a TD is expected to rule on.
In my experience, on the couple of occasions players have called on me because a player with the nuts, being last to act, did not bet I have asked, why they did not bet. The answer given has been either they did not realise they had the nuts or they did not know they had to bet. In both cases a warning was given - no penalty.
If, however, a player had given an answer paraphrasing your earlier reply, 'They were so low in chips that I didn't want to eliminate them' a penalty definitely would have been given! This is soft play: simple as that!
If, on this last play of a hand, a player bet (say) 100 chips into a pot of several thousand and justified it because they thought it was the most that would get a call, I would probably accept the explanation. If they bet the same amount when another 100 chips would put the other player all-in, I would be very suspicious.
I guess what I am saying is that TDs have to rule on strange betting including situations where we need to decide a player's intentions behind their behavior. Matt clarified that there was no specific rule on this issue but confirmed he had taken action to stop soft play.
IMHO, we are not protecting players from soft play if we don't rule on these situations.
Best,

Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: Nick C on August 08, 2010, 08:23:15 PM
There are many actions that can be defined as soft play, that are serious, and action should be taken by the floor. I don't think this is one of them. Real cheaters are more sophisticated, in their methods, than checking the nuts. On a scale of 1 to 10, on what to watch out for regarding collusion, this is at the bottom of my list. When a rule is made, we can abide by the rule or not. Until then, it is up to the floor or the TD.
 I answered dogzys question on my first response. Matt Savage also said there is no rule covering this situation. Maybe, because I play in cash games and not tournaments. There is a difference. I don't agree with the article calling someone who gives a break to another player a cheater. I've given many breaks to players down on their luck and I've had the same courtesy extended to me in return. I resent anyone telling me how to bet. I will target certain players in a game and avoid others. Poker was once described as a gentleman’s game. I find it far more gratifying beating a loudmouth table bully than taking the last $20 from a little lady (young or old). That's the way I play.

Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: DCJ001 on August 08, 2010, 08:38:37 PM
I have asked, why they did not bet. The answer given has been either they did not realise they had the nuts or they did not know they had to bet. In both cases a warning was given - no penalty.

If they didn't know that they were required to bet the nuts, are they saying that they don't know that they should play to win?

Plus, players in your events must know by now that the first time that they break a rule, they merely get a warning. If players are penalized the first times that they break rules, they are penalized and all players who are aware of the penalties are given deterrents to discourage similar violations in the future.

I feel the same way about a player who, after someone bets on the flop, puts in a call, followed by a separate motion, intending to raise, without saying that he is raising. Some people feel that, as long as the intent to raise is clear, let the string raise happen, and explain how to raise in the future. I feel that the player will learn better if the action is ruled as a call, the raise amount is pushed back, and then he is advised of the proper raise procedure for future reference. The integrity of the game is protected as well.
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: Nick C on August 09, 2010, 06:56:49 PM
DCJ001,
 You might have an interesting point that you want to make but, I think we are getting away from the original question. I would like to hear how you feel about string bets and raises. Perhaps you can post your thoughts, or questions to us under a new title?
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: Oddvark on August 11, 2010, 05:07:08 AM
I'm finding this discussion a little frustrating because there is very little mention of the fact that we are talking about tournament rules.  And that is crucial here.  It is only because everyone entered in the tournament has equity in the prize pool that soft play is an issue.  (Some forms of collusion are obviously an issue in cash games, but soft play and chip dumping are primarily tournament issues.)

As such, I think DCJ001's sports hypotheticals have little, if any, applicability as to why soft play is against the rules.  It's not because spectators don't think the players are individually being competitive enough or aren't taking the game seriously enough.  That has nothing to do with it.  It's because the person who soft plays gives an unfair advantage in the tournament as a whole to the beneficiary of that soft play, which is to the detriment of the other players in the field.

(And sometimes a less cutthroat mentality in one-on-one competitions can actually be considered great sportsmanship, see e.g., http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/05/01/earlyshow/main4061276.shtml)

Likewise, Nick C's point about not wanting to take a little old lady's last $20 is fine for a cash game.  I can respect that.  Let her keep her $20 forever and ever and it really doesn't impact anyone else.  Besides, even if she lost it, she could reach into her purse and be in the exact same position that she was before.  But if she keeps her T20 chips (which she can't just buy back) for longer than she deserves to, everything changes.  She might win much more in tournament prize money -- money that a different player would have won had the little old lady been eliminated earlier.  (The Vindy.com article mentioned the tournament issue, but extrapolated to conclude the any soft play in any poker game is cheating.  And I do not agree with that.)

Also, to clarify what I think Matt Savage and others have said about the rules -- (1) there is no TDA rule that specifically states that a player holding the nuts when last to act on the river must bet/raise, but (2) there is a TDA rule that applies to that situation, namely the rule that prohibits soft play (Rule 40).  Like many of the TDA rules, the tournament director does have to interpret the rule and apply it on a case-by-case basis based on the specific circumstances involved.  But I would agree with the position that in most cases, checking the nuts should be considered soft play in violation of Rule 40 (more specifically, I agree with Mike's earlier post that broke it down into exclusive/non-exclusive nuts, etc.).

I can think of a few situations when an argument could be made for not giving a penalty:

(1) In a Heads-Up Tournament or when down to the last two players in any tournament.  No one else's tournament equity would be affected, so players can soft play all they want here -- even if that lack of competition might sicken DCJ001.  So if Eric Bana wants to muck the best hand against Robert Duvall when they are the last two left in the championship event, that's his prerogative.

(2) An honest mistake where the player didn't know they had the nuts -- especially if it's an inexperienced player new to Omaha or something where it would be understandable that they might not realize they held the nuts.  This would have to be judged on the totality of the circumstances, and warnings would have to be given.

(3) This one might be a stretch, but when approaching the bubble in a large tournament, because it can be to the advantage of the big stacks to stay in bubble-mode for as long as possible so that they can chip up by stealing from the small to medium stacks, if one of the big stacks were to soft play a short stack to avoid the bubble bursting, an argument could be made that it was not really soft play for the benefit of the short stack but a strategic move by the big stack for their own competitive advantage.  The soft play would still negatively affect the other players' equity in the tournament, so I'm not sure about this one, but I think it's at least an interesting argument.

I should say that I am not and have never been a working TD.  I'm just an amateur poker player who takes a more-than-normal interest in the rules.  And I've only been playing poker at a recreational level for a couple of years.  So my two cents are probably worth just that.
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: Nick C on August 11, 2010, 08:50:30 AM
Oddvark,

 Your response makes more sense than most. I am in agreement with you on the difference between tournaments and cash games. I mentioned that in an earlier post. When you listed some reasons for not considering a penalty, it made me think of this one.......A player, first to act, checks "in the dark" before the dealer turns the river card (that gives him the nut hand). The remaining players check around.

 The story about the sportsmanship displayed by the girls softball game was great. That was a perfect example of not taking the prize (pot) away from the deserving winner.

 Your response was interesting and well written. I will look forward to your future input
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: DCJ001 on August 17, 2010, 08:52:02 PM
In case some, most, or all of you are unaware, multiple players at the 2010 WSOP checked the nuts when last to act on the river. And they were penalized in accordance with the WSOP rules against soft play. It's apparent that many players are aware of these rules, and that players who do this will be penalized.

If players know the rules, shouldn't tournament directors know and enforce the rules?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaPYiPEh_tA
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: Nick C on August 18, 2010, 07:39:55 AM
DCJ001,
 I want to see the written rule. The reason that was given, on the youtube link, was valid and I think a warning would have been reasonable, and that's only if that rule was posted, or listed in the house rules.
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: DCJ001 on August 18, 2010, 09:30:20 AM
DCJ001,
 I want to see the written rule. The reason that was given, on the youtube link, was valid and I think a warning would have been reasonable, and that's only if that rule was posted, or listed in the house rules.
WSOP Rule # 37

The competitive integrity of all Tournament play at the World Series of Poker is paramount. All participants must adhere to the spirit and letter of the Official Rules of the WSOP which forbid play or any action that is illegal, unethical or constitutes cheating or collusion in any form.

i. Cheating is defined as any act a person engages in to break the established rules of play to gain an advantage.

ii. Cheating includes, but is not limited to, acts such as: collusion; chip stealing; transferring non-value Tournament chips from one event to another; card marking; card substitution; or the use of any kind of cheating device.

iii. Collusion is defined as any agreement amongst two (2) or more players to engage in illegal or unethical acts against other players.

iv. Collusion includes, but is not limited to, acts such as: chip dumping; soft play; sharing card information with another player; sending or receiving signals from or to another player; the use of electronic communication with the intent to facilitate collusion; and any other act that Rio and WSOP deem inappropriate.

http://www.wsop.com/pdfs/2010/2010-WSOP-Rules.pdf
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: Nick C on August 18, 2010, 04:22:05 PM
DCJ001,

 Sorry, I still don't see anything about checking the nuts. If you feel that strong about a rule, then I think that you should make an announcement at the start of the tournament, that checking the nuts will draw a penalty. I don't agree with it. My guess is, it probably happens once in a hundred tournaments....if that.
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: DCJ001 on August 25, 2010, 06:10:30 PM
DCJ001,

 Sorry, I still don't see anything about checking the nuts. If you feel that strong about a rule, then I think that you should make an announcement at the start of the tournament, that checking the nuts will draw a penalty. I don't agree with it. My guess is, it probably happens once in a hundred tournaments....if that.

Well, it happened multiple times at the 2010 WSOP, and players were penalized because soft play is considered collusion which is considered cheating, as specifically stated in the WSOP rules.

If feel that, once the process is explained clearly and logically, this should be understood by most players, and anyone with the intellect that a tournament director should possess..
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: Nick C on August 26, 2010, 01:31:46 PM
If you care to debate a non-existing rule, I am more than happy to continue. Can you be more specific on the numerous accounts of players checking the nuts in the WSOP? I will repeat myself again, I understand where you would consider it collusion, I just don't know of a rule that clearly defines "checking the nuts," when last to act. Make it a rule. I won't object.
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: chet on August 26, 2010, 07:18:25 PM
Nick:

I agree that it would be nice if each and every possible situation could be covered by a written rule, but we both know from years of experience that it would not be practical.  What MIGHT help would be a better definition of "soft play", but I can see where that may also open a can of worms.  

What everyone is saying is that if a player has the absolute NUT hand and is last to act, that player must either bet or raise.  A check or call is considered 'soft play'.  But remember this ONLY applies if the subject player is the last to act.  For example, if subject player has two players in front of him/her who have already checked and two players behind him who have yet to act, subject player can also check (should he/she so desire) since there is the possibility of a bet behind him.  If, however, a player behind subject player then bets, subject player then must "check-raise".

Hope this helps instead of mucking this up more!
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: Nick C on August 27, 2010, 06:25:34 PM
Chet,
 It's good to hear from you. I'm surprised it took you this long to respond. I want to know why I haven't gotten an answer on a question that I mentioned earlier. Is the minimum bet acceptable? Early round with blinds 5/10. Can the same player, holding the nuts after making a large bet on a previous round, then make a minimum wager? Example; After the turn bet 1000 chips, after the river (and last to act after everyone checks) bets 10 chips..........or are we going to tell them what they have to bet, too.
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: chet on August 27, 2010, 07:16:43 PM
Several years ago, I saw an article from somewhere (A LOT of help I am) that discussed either a rule or an interpretation of slow play for this exact situation.  If I remember correctly, it was discussing new rules or new interpretations that would apply to the WSOP that was soon forthcoming.  I have looked and looked and looked, I remember printing it off the 'net, but for the life of me I cannot find it.

While I think we have, for the most part, sufficient rules, I do think some kind of addendum or appendix which gave non-inclusive examples would be helpful.  For example, I would like to see 2 or 3 (different) examples of situations that arise which fall under the generally accepted definition of soft play, this being one of them.

I realize that interpretations may differ from place to place, but one of the reasons for the TDA, as I understand it, is to promote consistency in rule interpretation, at least as much as is allowed by gaming regulatory agencies.  Perhaps this can be addressed at the next TDA Summit.

Chet
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: DCJ001 on August 29, 2010, 11:51:50 AM
Chet,
 It's good to hear from you. I'm surprised it took you this long to respond. I want to know why I haven't gotten an answer on a question that I mentioned earlier. Is the minimum bet acceptable? Early round with blinds 5/10. Can the same player, holding the nuts after making a large bet on a previous round, then make a minimum wager? Example; After the turn bet 1000 chips, after the river (and last to act after everyone checks) bets 10 chips..........or are we going to tell them what they have to bet, too.
The minimum bet is acceptable.
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: Stuart Murray on September 02, 2010, 04:44:13 AM
in response to your question regarding betting the minimum when last to act holding the exclusive nuts, if we are to accept that players must bet, I would surmise that betting the min in this situation would be just as soft a play as checking the nuts on the end.

In a pot of, for example 2,800 I would feel that the player should be betting substantial proportion of that pot and not 100 where the blinds are 50/100.

Best Regards
Stuart
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: Nick C on September 02, 2010, 06:48:31 AM
Stuart,

 Thank you for your response. That is exactly what I have been trying to get across. If you read my earlier posts on this subject, I indicated that, beyond a warning, I see no way to enforce such a rule. The rule would have to put a percentage or an amount or some other foolish demand on any player that checked the nuts, (intentionally or unintentionally). I would like to go to the local casino and intentionally check the exclusive nut hand on the last betting round, just to see what happens. I can't remember the last time I had a hand like that.
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: DCJ001 on September 11, 2010, 12:52:45 PM
in response to your question regarding betting the minimum when last to act holding the exclusive nuts, if we are to accept that players must bet, I would surmise that betting the min in this situation would be just as soft a play as checking the nuts on the end.

In a pot of, for example 2,800 I would feel that the player should be betting substantial proportion of that pot and not 100 where the blinds are 50/100.

Best Regards
Stuart
But, by suggesting that a player should be betting a substantial proportion of the pot and not 100 where the blinds are 50/100, in a pot of, for example, 2,800, you're leaving room for judgment as to whether or not the action constitutes soft play and whether or not to penalize a player.

If, after the river is dealt, the first person to act (who is holding the nut flush on an unpaired board) checks, in the hopes that someone will bet so that he can check-raise, his action is fine and within the rules. Similarly, the last person to act (who is holding the nut flush on an unpaired board) after being checked to, can bet the minimum in the hopes that someone will check-raise his apparently weak bet.

This concept is really not as complex as some are making it out to be.
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: Nick C on September 12, 2010, 08:46:43 AM
DCJ001,
 Great point that you make on betting the minimum. Another valid reason why we can't put a required % on what should be bet. You mentioned a player holding the nut hand when last to act after everyone checked, but that argument is valid in any position. After a topic that I thought would bring little discussion (turned into the hottest in the history of the Discussion Forum), where are we?

 1.) You must bet the exclusive nut hand on the last betting round when first to act.

 2.) You must bet the exclusive nut hand on the last betting round if it is checked to you, especially when last to act.
 
 3.) If you must bet, you must wager a specific percentage of the pot.

 4.) You may wager any amount (allowed), even the minimum.

 5.) You may check any time you want. Even when holding the exclusive nut hand.

If a must bet rule is established, because violation is considered soft play, what penalty should be enfofced? What is your vote? I like #5.

Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: MikeB on October 09, 2010, 10:04:42 AM
This topic is also the subject of a specific thread on a recent Darvin Moon WSOP hand here:
http://www.pokertda.com/forum/index.php?topic=228.0
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: chet on October 09, 2010, 02:45:48 PM
DCJ001,
 Great point that you make on betting the minimum. Another valid reason why we can't put a required % on what should be bet. You mentioned a player holding the nut hand when last to act after everyone checked, but that argument is valid in any position. After a topic that I thought would bring little discussion (turned into the hottest in the history of the Discussion Forum), where are we?

 1.) You must bet the exclusive nut hand on the last betting round when first to act.  (NO, Unless you are facing a bet, in which case you MUST Raise, you can check as long as there are players to act after you!!)

 2.) You must bet the exclusive nut hand on the last betting round if it is checked to you, especially when last to act.  (YES and NO,  Unless you are the last to act the answer is NO.  If you are the last to act the answer is YES)
 
 3.) If you must bet, you must wager a specific percentage of the pot.  (NO, see #4 below)

 4.) You may wager any amount (allowed), even the minimum. (YES)

 5.) You may check any time you want. Even when holding the exclusive nut hand.  (See #2 above)

If a must bet rule is established, because violation is considered soft play, what penalty should be enfofced? What is your vote? I like #5.  Penalty to be applied depends upon the specific facts in the situation.  It makes a HUGE difference if the player is new and doesn't have any knowledge, compared to a very experienced player who knows or should know about this.  I don't think you can make a 'one size fits all' penalty to this (as is true for most situations, regardless of the rule in question).


Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: Nick C on October 09, 2010, 03:56:56 PM
Chet,

 Now we're getting somewhere. I like the way you have clarified the rule. Let me see if I have it right.

 Whenever a player is HOLDING THE EXCLUSIVE NUT HAND, on the last round of betting, the following rules will apply:

    1) The player may check in any position other than last to act.
 
    2) When last to act, and the round is checked, the player holding the "exclusive nut hand" MUST make a wager, (even the minimum).

    3) When last to act facing a bet, the player holding the "exclusive nut hand" MUST raise if all other players have acted.

    4) There will be a penalty issued to the offending player. However, the experience of the player and deliberate intent of the player will always be considered whenever a penalty is assessed.

I might not agree with all of the rules but, if they are written like this, I would accept it as a clearly defined and fair rule.

Thanks Chet. I think we need more of this.
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: Tim Zellers on October 25, 2010, 11:20:27 AM
So if I understand correctly what many of you are saying, when acting as a player instead of the TD, I would be penalized for (a) checking the nuts if I'm last to act or (b) simply calling if there was a bet to me.  Basically you're telling me that when I know I have the best hand, I'm not allowed to gather information on how my opponents have played their cards in a certain hand?  You're telling me that I'm not allowed to know that they tried to bluff me with 7-2 off, that they were willing to leak chips away chasing their draw to the river, or that they actually had a hand and then got rivered? 

So you're saying that I'm not allowed to use all my mental resources when competing.  You're saying that when I have the nuts, I've got to discard one of my strategies that will help me win the entire tournament, not just this particular hand?  I've got to bet or raise, possibly causing my opponent(s) to fold and thereby denying me the opportunity to gather more information and insight into their game strategy?

I've enforced soft play before and it was always because there were other actions taken or circumstances occurring that led me to believe that a particular action constituted soft play.  Minus other contributing circumstances and events, I would be hard pressed to ever penalize a player for soft play for simply checking the nuts.  I would always contend that the singular act of checking the nuts is not in itself soft play, but is indeed a valid competitive strategy of the game.  I think that you need some other facts or circumstances to be able to contend that soft play is involved.

Tim

Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: chet on October 25, 2010, 09:33:19 PM
Tim:

What you need to remember is we are ONLY talking about those extremely few situations where you have the absolute NUT hand and the action is on you at the last round of betting.  Basically what is being said is that you cannot check or call, you must bet or raise.

Also there is a difference between the "best hand" and the absolute nuts.  This whole discussion applies ONLY to the absolute nut hand.

I would be interested in the thoughts of those of you with more experience than I as to the frequency of this happening.

Hope this helps!!
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: MaxH on October 26, 2010, 07:12:05 AM
Hi Chet,
It has happened three times in my experience.
Once when the players pointed it out - there was quite a debate as you can imagine; once when I was involved and I gave a warning because the player was not only totally unaware he had the nuts but he didn't know the rule existed and once when I saw it happen but no one picked it up.
The major problem seems to be that so few people are aware this is against the rules that a debate/dispute arises along the lines of this thread. Indeed, it was only after the first time that I saw this happen that I checked it out and was, therefore, prepared when I saw it happen in play I was involved with.
Best,
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: Nick C on December 15, 2010, 04:11:32 PM
Hello to all,
 I have been looking at some of the older posts and I thought that I would add to the hottest one ever....nuts on the river. We have covered many scenarios on this one. The exclusive nuts where there is only one winner possible, and the nuts that can be held by multiple players or even on the board. There have been many reasons given to defend penalizing a player for checking the nuts. I would like to add one that might give reason to not penalize a player.
 I will give an example using the following board in a hold'em tournament...2H 3H 4H 9D KD, the "exclusive nut hand could be any of the following, 5H 6H ("nut straight flush") or AH 5H (also the "nut straight flush") and even AH 6H, this hand is known by the owner only because he has the highest flush, with the straight flush stopper. The AH and 6H are sometimes referred to as "a lock," in this case, it happens to be the exclusive nut hand. I only mentioned this to show that sometimes the nuts are not as obvious as we think.
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: DCJ001 on December 15, 2010, 05:57:05 PM
I will give an example using the following board in a hold'em tournament...2H 3H 4H 9D KD, the "exclusive nut hand could be any of the following, 5H 6H ("nut straight flush") or AH 5H (also the "nut straight flush") and even AH 6H, this hand is known by the owner only because he has the highest flush, with the straight flush stopper. The AH and 6H are sometimes refered to as "a lock," in this case, it happens to be the exclusive nut hand. I only mentioned this to show that sometimes the nuts are not as obvious as we think.

Anyone who holds the hands that you've mentioned, is last to act on the river, and does not bet when checked to or does not raise when another player bets, is either lacking intelligence, or is careless in that he has not formed a conclusion of the hand that he holds, or is soft-playing.

Penalizing a player who does this for any of these three reasons should encourage him to make a better effort to understand his holdings, to play more aggressively, and to deter him and others from doing the same thing in the future.
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: Nick C on December 16, 2010, 03:41:50 AM
DCJ001,
 I know what a nut hand is. I also know that the best players in the world have misred poker hands at a glance, and that includes their own. The last time I played poker, I didn't necessarily request to be seated with the players having the highest IQ's. I mentioned the hands above to point out that some hands might be overlooked. Any two cards could be the "nuts," with the right board.
 I agree that they may be lacking intelligence, or are careless, or might even be playing soft......or they might have just overlooked their hand. Should we also point out how stupid they were for not betting? I remember dealing to some of the locals in Vegas years ago. All they did was ridicule and embarass new players. They would make smart remarks when a player would out-draw them, or chase them down with a bad hand. "How could you play that garbage, where did you learn how to play poker?" "How could you check that hand," you had the nuts!" So the player would pick up his chips, and go to another casino. Everyone knows Phil Ivey missed a flush that he was holding that cost him the pot in a major tournament. Is it possible, that a player could not realize that they have a nut hand? That's why I don't like the penalty.
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: JasperToo on December 19, 2010, 04:20:22 AM
NickC,

After reading through this entire thread in one sitting, I find that I agree with you up to a point.  It is possible to overlook a particular "nut" hand in some situations.  I am willing to bet we have all done it.  However, I think that the issue of soft play is pretty clear here (in tournaments - most of the time players tolerate/allow certain types of soft play in cash games that could be argued against).  It is simply up to the TD to look at each situation to determine that soft play was a factor and how much of a penalty, starting with a warning, should be given.

I do think that the best thing to have happen is to explain WHY a particular situation is soft play when you have to rule on it.  The fact that every player has equity in a tournament is an important one to understand.  And unless you have nothing but a room full of professional players your are always going to have people that don't understand that and could find themselves in this fairly rare situation.

Someone else said it earlier in the thread, "I don't remember the last time I had a hand like that" lol...
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: Nick C on December 19, 2010, 06:06:16 AM
Jasper Too,

 Good to hear from you. I agree with you when you talk of soft play. That is very serious and offenders should be penalized. I like what you say about every player having equity in a tournament. Whenever we are ready to begin a tournament, I like to make a brief announcement to go over some very basic rules, like; "Please pay attention to a few basic rules, one player to a hand, don't bet or act out of turn and protect your own hand." I guess telling someone that.... checking the nuts on the river will draw a penalty, is something I've never mentioned.
 Until it is a written rule, I think that a warning, along with an announcement to all players in the tournament, should prevent it from happening again. Repeat offenders should be penalized.
 I have been teaching poker dealers for many years and I always tell them about games with forced bets. Example;  SEVEN CARD STUD- the only forced bet in the game is the bring-in. FLOP GAMES- require the blinds...now I shall tell them that if they ever have the "nuts on the river" that they MUST bet when last to act, or raise when last to act, or face a penalty. Make it a rule and I'll deal with it.
 Jasper, I think you said it right..."It is simply up to the TD to look at each situation to determine that (or if) soft play was a factor and how much of a penalty, starting with a warning (I like this part), should be given."
 I also like what you said about not all players in tournaments are professionals. Wow...you're not kidding. I'm always amazed at some players and how little they know about poker. That is a real good point that you bring up. Nothing like penalizing a new player for checking the nuts, when he just learned that a flush beats a straight!
 By the way, I was the one that said, "I don't remember the last time I had a hand like that."

Thanks for your feedback
Title: Re: nuts on the river
Post by: Spence on November 04, 2011, 11:40:11 PM
Wow I am super late adding into this topic(I found it on the forum stats) but I just wanted to add one quick thing

So if I understand correctly what many of you are saying, when acting as a player instead of the TD, I would be penalized for (a) checking the nuts if I'm last to act or (b) simply calling if there was a bet to me.  Basically you're telling me that when I know I have the best hand, I'm not allowed to gather information on how my opponents have played their cards in a certain hand?  You're telling me that I'm not allowed to know that they tried to bluff me with 7-2 off, that they were willing to leak chips away chasing their draw to the river, or that they actually had a hand and then got rivered? 

So you're saying that I'm not allowed to use all my mental resources when competing.  You're saying that when I have the nuts, I've got to discard one of my strategies that will help me win the entire tournament, not just this particular hand?  I've got to bet or raise, possibly causing my opponent(s) to fold and thereby denying me the opportunity to gather more information and insight into their game strategy?

I've enforced soft play before and it was always because there were other actions taken or circumstances occurring that led me to believe that a particular action constituted soft play.  Minus other contributing circumstances and events, I would be hard pressed to ever penalize a player for soft play for simply checking the nuts.  I would always contend that the singular act of checking the nuts is not in itself soft play, but is indeed a valid competitive strategy of the game.  I think that you need some other facts or circumstances to be able to contend that soft play is involved.

Tim

I must say I'm with Nick on this one,

Myself being made to enforce soft play in the case where last person to act has the nuts and merely checks is outrageous.

As detailed in my previous thread, if I want to check the river and see my opponents cards then I will, that will make me more in the tourney than betting and forcing them to fold their holding.

Stu
I definately think a penalty is in order. Checking to get information on an opponent will NOT get you more chips than making a bet on the river. Chances are you are not getting a caller anyway but that chance for more chips should drive you to bet. The player you are checking against may still get to muck his hand at the showdown depending on how many players are in the hand. Showdown order is so rarely followed that you may only get to see you opponents hand if you two are heads up. If that is the case then as a TD it looks even more like soft play and collusion to me. Checking to see an opponents cards is a poor excuse to not penalize a player for soft play. Over  the entirety of the tounament there is so little equity in seeing one hand compared to the equity in any chip value whatsoever.