Author Topic: nuts on the river  (Read 22683 times)

dogzy

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nuts on the river
« 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!

Nick C

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Re: nuts on the river
« Reply #1 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.

Brian Vickers

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Re: nuts on the river
« Reply #2 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.

Oddvark

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MikeB

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Re: nuts on the river
« Reply #4 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 !
« Last Edit: July 25, 2010, 12:40:32 PM by MikeB »

Nick C

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Re: nuts on the river
« Reply #5 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.

MikeB

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Re: nuts on the river
« Reply #6 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.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2010, 09:17:44 AM by MikeB »

MaxH

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Re: nuts on the river
« Reply #7 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,
Max

Nick C

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Re: nuts on the river
« Reply #8 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.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2010, 05:53:41 AM by Nick C »

MaxH

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Re: nuts on the river
« Reply #9 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.
Max

Nick C

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Re: nuts on the river
« Reply #10 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?

MaxH

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Re: nuts on the river
« Reply #11 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,
Max

Nick C

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Re: nuts on the river
« Reply #12 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.

Matt Savage

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Re: nuts on the river
« Reply #13 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.

MaxH

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Re: nuts on the river
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2010, 02:27:06 PM »
Many thanks for the clarification, Matt.
Best,
Max