Author Topic: nuts on the river  (Read 22739 times)

Nick C

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Re: nuts on the river
« Reply #15 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

DCJ001

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Re: nuts on the river
« Reply #16 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.

Nick C

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Re: nuts on the river
« Reply #17 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.

DCJ001

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Re: nuts on the river
« Reply #18 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

MaxH

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Re: nuts on the river
« Reply #19 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,

Max

Nick C

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Re: nuts on the river
« Reply #20 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.


DCJ001

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Re: nuts on the river
« Reply #21 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.

Nick C

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Re: nuts on the river
« Reply #22 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?

Oddvark

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Re: nuts on the river
« Reply #23 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.

Nick C

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Re: nuts on the river
« Reply #24 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

DCJ001

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Re: nuts on the river
« Reply #25 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
« Last Edit: August 18, 2010, 02:17:56 PM by DCJ001 »

Nick C

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Re: nuts on the river
« Reply #26 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.

DCJ001

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Re: nuts on the river
« Reply #27 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

Nick C

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Re: nuts on the river
« Reply #28 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.

DCJ001

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Re: nuts on the river
« Reply #29 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..
« Last Edit: August 25, 2010, 06:11:35 PM by DCJ001 »