POKER TOURNAMENT RULES QUESTIONS & DISCUSSIONS > Discussion of Rules by Specific Game Types

NL Hold'em - Player with 3 cards when all-in called

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Boris Mauboussin:

I just had this situation on a tournament game.

2 players get all-in on the flop and reveal cards

A player reveal 3 cards

What is  the rule here ?

I decided to apply the 3 cards rule, delcare a missdeal and cancel the hand.

What would you do in this case ?


Hi Boris:

Great question. If using TDA Rules, Substantial Action has occurred and a misdeal cannot be called. The hand must proceed, and a hand with 3 cards is dead.

See TDA Rules 34-C (Misdeals), and 35 (Substantial Action):

Brian Vickers:
A player with more or less than the required number of cards has a dead hand at the moment it is discovered.  In your example, the player's hand should have been killed and the entire pot pushed to the other player (since it was heads up).  If a player is cheating, we can't allow them to put themselves in a "freeroll" position where if we catch them they get their money back, if they win they hide the 3rd card or if they lose they just say "nope, I have a 3-card hand, it's fouled."

I had this happen to me today, heads up to the flop, player discovered a 3rd card in his hand (might have mixed in when dealer was mucking another hand or something).  I announced the hand dead.  He said "I had a chip on top of it, how can you kill a protected hand?" to which I replied "How could your hand be considered protected if a 3rd card was just mixed in?"

Nick C:
Mike, Isn't that a tough call. to kill the hand? I would think that too many cards would trump substantial action. I'm just thinking of those situations when a player is very low on chips and decides to go all-in during the deal, or happens to be all-in on the BB. Killing his hand because two cards (possibly) have stuck together during the deal is too extreme...don't you think?

 I might lean in the direction that Boris took. Why would any player, intentionally, go all-in and turn over 3 cards? Tough way to exit any tournament if you ask me.


You goin' soft?

By this time in the hand the player should certainly have known that he had a fouled hand.  There is NO EXCUSE for playing with either too many or too few hole cards.  THAT PLAYERS HAND IS DEAD, Period!!



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