Author Topic: 1) retrieving cards from the muck and 2) Skipped player rulings  (Read 6304 times)

mooredog

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1) retrieving cards from the muck and 2) Skipped player rulings
« on: December 15, 2012, 03:39:44 PM »
I am curious as to how many of you have used the rule that allows retrieving cards from the muck when they are clearly identifiable and in the best interest of the game?
We did it the other night and feel we made the right and fairest call. I was dealing at the time and made a huge mistake due too a distraction, but that part doesn't matter. A player in the 7 seat bet out on the river and the player in seat 8 folded. Because of an earlier distraction I forgot we had a player in seat 3. Noone else left in the hand. I drop the stub, gather up the pot, (it's fair size), shift the community cards a bit to make room to shove the pot to the 7 seat and gather the pot with 2 hands and shove it to player 7. At this point I reach out, gather the player's cards and put them in the muck. During this period noone says a word. Now as the cards hit the muck the player in seat 3 says "Isn't that my pot? I have cards". He lifts his hands up and he has cards. I can't say for sure if they had been hidden but I do know there was plenty of time for him to stop me while I awarded the pot and put player 7's cards in the muck. Noone else realized he had cards either. I called the supervisor who asked me where the mucked hand was. I pointed to 2 cards sticking out from the muck and she had player 7 whisper what they were and then peeked at the cards and they were exactly as described Q5 of clubs (player was in one of the blinds and had hit 2 pair which noone knows at this point). The supervisor returned the cards and said since everything is now as it was before my mistake action can now continue with player in seat 3 having the option to fold. call , or raise. He called, lost the hand and came unglued.
In the interest of fairness (one of poker's cardinal rules) I believe the right call was made. Any thoughts?
« Last Edit: December 19, 2012, 09:58:13 PM by MikeB »

Nick C

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Re: retrieving cards from the muck
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2012, 06:14:33 PM »
Hello mooredog,

 Tough situation, for sure. I guess the "sticky" part is the positive identity of the mucked cards. Sounds like some blame falls on the "silent" player but, ultimately the dealer will always be singled out when a mistake like this is made. I guess the cards must have been clearly identifiable, or I can't imagine digging into the muck for any cards that weren't tabled first. To bad the mucked hand won ;D If he had lost, you would have had nothing to write about. :D

 Based on your information, the decision made was in the best interest of the game. Hopefully, lessons were learned by you and the "slow to react" player.

Stuart Murray

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Re: retrieving cards from the muck
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2012, 08:33:11 PM »
I would of been more keen to kill the players hand in seat 3 as there was effectively 3 actions which took place before he brought attention to the fact he still had a hand - drop stub, award pot, muck players hand.  Given all that I would rule substantial action has occurred and player 3 cannot continue with the hand.  The way your room handled it I also do not have an issue with though, and think that the decision was fair and the process of retrieval was acceptable.  You could also argue seat 7's hand dead and irretrievable given that they failed to notice sest3 still had a hand, but I think that is the worst of the possible options.

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K-Lo

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Re: retrieving cards from the muck
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2012, 10:19:49 AM »
Mooredog:  This is a great post and highlights what I think is a bit of a loophole in the Rules that I have been hoping to address for a long time.  I think a similar issue was even discussed to some degree before the previous summit (see e.g. http://www.pokertda.com/forum/index.php?topic=150.0):  to what extent does a player still in the hand have an obligation to point out that an irregularity is going to occur without delay?

If it were not for Rule 1, I think this situation would have to be governed by the same rules in which a player throws his hand face-down into the muck before all action has been completed.  By the book, I think we would have to say that the mucking player failed to protect his own hand (by ensuring that all action was complete before mucking) and the dealer also shares some blame for not noticing that action was not complete.  In that case, seat 3 would win the uncalled portion of the pot under Rule 48.

The problem with the by-the-book ruling, is that it fails to take into account any degree of fault on the part of seat 3. 

In general, I think the rules need to be more strict with respect to having players be responsible for not preventing irregularities from occurring without delay when there is an opportunity to do so.  Players should not be rewarded for being "wilfully blind" to the fact that an irregularity is about to occur and failing to be proactive in pointing out that the error is about to be made.  In particular, they should not be given an incentive to hide their cards from other players and the dealer with the hope of being the last person standing.

We've discussed similar difficult situations in which a player has allowed himself to be skipped but fails to stop the action before multiple players act after him, or before the dealer deals a flop/turn/river, or before the dealer awards a pot at showdown.  We've also recently discussed situations where players have allowed the hand to proceed as what appears to be an all-in situation, and then later conveniently point out that the bettor was not actually all-in, or that a player had not yet called all bets.  In my view, these situations are difficult to deal with because we don't have a rule that puts a greater burden on the "innocent" party to stop an error from being made and reaching the point where it cannot be corrected.

Personally, I have no hesitation in applying Rule 1 in situations where I think a player has had ample opportunity to make the table aware that an irregularity has occurred, but failed to draw attention to it with the hopes that he will either win the pot on a technicality, or be given a 'second chance' to win the pot if the TD decides to undo the action and allow him to act.  In Mooredog's example, if seat 3 had no reasonable chance to stop seat 7's hand from being mucked, then seat 3 is the innocent party and my decision would likely be in his favor.  But once he fails to bring attention to the situation "without delay", he is no longer an "innocent" party. 

We've had similar discussions before: http://www.pokertda.com/forum/index.php?topic=559.0.  Right now, there is no way to deal with seat 3 purposely sitting in silence while the action continues hoping everyone else's hands gets mucked without resorting to Rule 1.  I would have been inclined to rule in the same way as Stuart, deciding that seat 3 lost his right to act rather than digging hands out of the muck.  I may have been inclined to make up something like: "This is like 'accepted action' - you allowed the pot to be awarded and the cards to be mucked, so you accepted that the hand was over".  But I'd much prefer to have an explicit rule that clarifies that if you are involved in a hand, failure to bring notice to an irregularity without delay may result in losing your right to act or your claim to the pot.

Nick C

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Re: retrieving cards from the muck
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2012, 06:20:07 PM »
Ken,
 You hit the nail on the head again! We keep having problems with these situations because the TDA has no rules that cover them. Show me where a mucked hand, that was not tabled, can be revived from the muck?

 I do not agree however, that Accepted Action covers this problem. In fact IMO, Accepted Action needs to be seriously altered, or better yet... eliminated. It creates more problems than it solves.

chet

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Re: retrieving cards from the muck
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2012, 07:01:02 PM »
Nick:

Read Ken's response a little slower and more carefully.  He never said that the current "Accepted Action" concept/rule should or could be construed to cover this situation.  Ken said that he could, " make up something like: "This is like 'accepted action' - you allowed the pot to be awarded and the cards to be mucked, so you accepted that the hand was over"."  As I interpret his statement, it is his belief that player 3 should be held accountable for his failure to promptly make the dealer aware of the situation and given the fact there is no specific rule covering this situation he would seriously consider ruling as he said.

I fully concur.

Furthermore, I don't see that the TDA can possibly promulgate a rule that clearly and concisely resolves each and every possible situation that may arise.  We already have enough rules (for the most part).  To interpret and apply those rules to the situation at hand is the reason we have TD's.  If we had a clear and concise rule for every possible situation, we would not need anyone in the role of a TD, it could easily be done by some stupid computer.

Chet

mooredog

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Re: retrieving cards from the muck
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2012, 07:30:34 PM »
I agree Chet. We have enough rules and common sense must prevail at the TD's discretion. At the top of the TDA rules it says the TDA rules supplement the standard or "house rules" of the casino. We use Robert's Rules of Poker for our house rules and they clearly say cards may be retrieved from the muck if clearly retrievable and in the best interest of the game which it was.
Thanks for your comments.

Tristan

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Re: retrieving cards from the muck
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2012, 07:38:30 PM »
I would have made the same call if the cards were completely identifiable.  I have done the same thing in the same situation before.  Pull the player off the game, ask them what their cards were...if they are the right cards, by all means, continue the action.

One thing that was unclear, and would sway my decision a little bit is whether seat 3 even acted on the bet by seat 7. 

If he/she had not acted and had not tried to stop anything, I would be inclined to rule their hand dead.

If they had called the bet, and the player in seat 7 did not have a definite answer on what their cards were, I would probably award the pot to seat 3.


As far as TDA rules go, something could probably be added that vaguely covers this, but there is NO cut and dry answer in this situation.

As most of us know, in poker, sometimes there is no right answer.  There are so many different variables that come into play...sometimes the situation is the same, but there are slightly different variables and you make a different call.  Also, just when you think you have seen everything...something new happens!

I'll give you a funny example:  In a room that does not allow running the board twice or anything like that, I had a dealer flop...burn, and then reach over the flop to put out a second flop.  :P  :o
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Re: retrieving cards from the muck
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2012, 10:13:27 PM »
I respect all of your answers here.  Although i think that codifying a general principle that puts some onus on the missed player would provide TDs with some additional ammunition to deal a wide variety of situations, I know that it is somewhat unrealistic to expect a change to be made if we all cannot agree that change is needed.

I also just wanted to add that I think there are various degrees of "identifiable"... If the two cards were clearly physically separated somehow from the muck and there was no doubt those cards were the folded ones, and asking the player for their cards was simply to doubly confirm that those cards were the correct ones, then I have no issue with giving them back.  However, if the two cards are shoved into the muck, and the only way to give the player his cards back is to look through the entire muck for the two cards (not tabled) that he claims to have had, I would never fish the cards out of the muck to give them back.  I have heard of issues where upset players accused TDs of colluding with local players, and that is a mess I would never wish on anyone -- if a camera cannot identify the cards to be returned, I would always keep mucked cards mucked.

Nick C

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Re: retrieving cards from the muck
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2012, 10:30:54 PM »
Ken,

 We have had many discussions about mucked hands. I feel exactly the way you do on this one. Change is needed.

MikeB

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Re: retrieving cards from the muck
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2012, 11:54:21 AM »
I am curious as to how many of you have used the rule that allows retrieving cards from the muck when they are clearly identifiable and in the best interest of the game?
Dog... you have the right criteria IMO: a) clearly [I'd emphasize 100% unquestionably clear] AND b) best interest of the game, i.e. a Rule 1 decision.

I was dealing at the time and made a huge mistake due too a distraction... Because of an earlier distraction I forgot we had a player in seat 3.
So there is some, if secondary, house error here.

shift the community cards a bit to make room .... gather the player's cards and put them in the muck. ...I called the supervisor who asked me where the mucked hand was. I pointed to 2 cards sticking out from the muck and she had player 7 whisper what they were and then peeked at the cards and they were exactly as described Q5 of clubs
So both the board cards and both players downcards have been 100% identified....

The supervisor returned the cards and said since everything is now as it was before my mistake action can now continue with player in seat 3 having the option to fold. call , or raise. He called, lost the hand and came unglued.
The fact is, as others have emphasized, Player 3 has at least as much culpability in this incident as anyone... there's nothing for Player 3 to come unglued about. Ditto, if 3 had won it at showdown there would be nothing for 7 to get unglued about either...  Errors were made, the tournament staff made the fairest ruling they could in their interpretation of all the facts. The decision the staff made was based on clearly printed rules...  When they sit down at the table, players accept the final decision of floor staff at that event...if they don't like the rulings they get they should play elsewhere.  [/quote]


In the interest of fairness (one of poker's cardinal rules) I believe the right call was made. Any thoughts?
Rule 1 decisions by definition are personal decisions of the tournament staff based on all the facts at hand. Rule 1 decisions often come down to picking the least of two evils... You clearly have the authority to retrieve 100% identifiable cards if you deem it in the best interest of the game... IMO your personal decision (or that of your supervisor) meets the criteria of an appropriate Rule 1 call.

It's not written anywhere that I'm aware of, but in general, IMO if a remedy can be adopted that allows a hand to proceed to showdown, and have the hand decided in showdown rather than on the basis of a correctable error, that's in the best interest of the game.

BTW, comments by others in the thread indicate that they might have made a different ruling than you did here. Under Rule 1, when these chaotic situations occur, different judges may rule differently and players have to accept that latitude when they buy into a tournament... not every last situation can be addressed chapter and verse by a rule. Thanks for the very interesting case.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2012, 11:59:36 AM by MikeB »

Tristan

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Re: retrieving cards from the muck
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2012, 09:35:25 PM »
I see what you are saying K-Lo. 

I would be in favor of a rule addition that was something like:

"It is a player's responsibility to protect their own right to act.  If substantial action has occurred behind a player and the player had enough time to stop the action but did not do so, the player will lose their right to act.  If they were not faced with a bet, they will be considered to have checked.  If they were faced with a bet, they will now have a dead hand.  This will not apply if the dealer is correctly directing action to the proper player."

Seems vague enough to allow discretionary calls, yet puts responsibility on a player to protect their own action.

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MikeB

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Re: retrieving cards from the muck
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2012, 10:43:46 PM »
Tristan: couple thoughts for what they're worth on the topic:

1: During debate on the substantial action question at the 2011 Summit, several association members proposed something similar to the language you describe... to the effect that there is a threshold where a player's hand would be declared dead if they didn't protect their right to act within the same betting round., Example: on the turn in THE action is to me but I'm skipped and I don't speak up and several players act behind me... if I was initially facing a bet my hand would be dead (still on the turn before the river is dealt) after X players had acted... There just was no majority support for the idea from the members in attendance, let alone a super-majority....

2: Robert's Rules of Poker on the question of a skipped player who doesn't speak up quickly when skipped contains the language ".... will lose their right to act...".  Before the Summit I e-mailed Bob Ciaffone for clarification on the meaning of this: A) does this mean the player cannot take aggressive action when it's his turn to act OR B) does it mean he can't take any action, i.e. his hand is dead. Bob replied that it had been awhile since he'd looked at the language, but the intent was the former, to lose the right to act aggressively.

Keep the ideas coming, I'm sure that clarification of both substantial action and action out of turn / skipped players will be up for review at the next Summit.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2012, 10:48:37 PM by MikeB »

Nick C

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Re: retrieving cards from the muck
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2012, 09:16:29 AM »
Mike,

This is a little off the original topic but, since we're on the subject...

 I was one of the attendees at the summit that was against ruling a skipped player's hand dead. The way I see it, we have always had a problem (on prior posts), with the interpretation of exactly what the rule was actually saying? Losing the right to act is where the "mixed signals" originate.

 I want to add a suggestion or two that could improve the language:

 A skipped player who allows substantial action behind him; loses the right to raise on a round of betting and can not open betting if facing a check.

 I realize that aggressive "action" says the same thing but, somehow many of us need a simplified explanation.

 Tristan:
 I like most of what you wrote but, I can't agree with killing the skipped player's hand, unless; The skipped player intentionally allowed action to pass him by, or the dealer has burned and turned the next board card.

Tristan

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Re: retrieving cards from the muck
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2012, 01:30:10 PM »
For what it is worth, that is our house rule here...and I must tell you, while I can see the concern, it works as intended.

Rarely does even one action take place behind before the skipped player goes "Time! I haven't acted yet!" 

Tristan
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