Author Topic: Player shows one card, then mucks - opponent shows worse hand  (Read 9419 times)


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Player shows one card, then mucks - opponent shows worse hand
« on: November 03, 2010, 12:05:47 AM »

"During the Barcelona EPT Roland De Wolfe and Tobias Reinkemeier got involved in a pot when they were both on the blinds. Following action on all streets Tobais check called an 80,000 bet from Roland. Roland said’ king high’ and flashed a king. Tobias sat and waited for Roland to show his second card. Roland did not turn over both his cards but instead pushed them over the line and towards the muck. They went into the muck but the dealer retrieved them and turned them both over. There is no doubt that the two cards were Rolands. Tobais jumped up and turned over Q high (Q6) claiming that Roland had mucked and the pot was his."

The authors ultimately agreed that technically, the rules supported Thomas' ruling that the hand was dead, but that they would like to see the rules clarified to reflect Matt Savage's position, which was:

"1.  I want the best hand to win called pots whenever possible.
 2.  His cards were both retrievable AND identifiable. If the dealer had simply killed his hand without seeing the other card then his hand would have been dead and I would have awarded you the pot.
 3.  ... the FACT that you asked to see his hand makes him have to show his hand and if it beats you than you lose your claim to the pot."

In general, I would agree with Thomas' ruling, and I don't agree with Matt's position in this case.  I do not think that the rules should be clarified to reflect the above position, or at least not point #2, as suggested by the authors of that article.

First, in my view, it is important to note that it was Tobias that called Roland's bet.  By voluntarily committing chips to see the river bet, I think Tobias, as the caller is entitled to the following:

A.  to see the hand that he called (Roland's cards), and to wait until those cards are shown.
B.  to accept his opponent's surrender (i.e. if Roland chooses to muck).
C.  to accept his opponent's surrender AND ask to see his mucked hand [I don't really like this rule, but it's currently the rule].

What the caller is not entitled to do is misrepresent his hand, to trick the opponent into thinking he is beat when he is not.

Unless Tobias did actually say "I have an Ace", or something to that effect, I think Roland is perfectly within his right to surrender his hand, which is what his actions clearly show him doing.  He chose to fold, because presumably, he did not want to reveal the nature of his hand (by showing the second card) and possibly leak an aspect of his playing strategy.  In my view, it does not matter that the cards were identifiable and retrievable.  And, it does not matter that the dealer turned them over.  Roland clearly chose to fold, period.  He is entitled to weigh the cost of possibly losing the pot to an inferior hand versus having to show both cards and thus reveal an aspect of his strategy.  

How different would it have been if Tobias did not immediately table his Queen-high hand?  If he simply let the dealer show Roland's hand, there would have been no issue, Tobias would have been pushed the pot, and the hand would have been sent back to the muck.  (Is Matt's point #3 even the rule anymore? I think in a tournament, mucked cards are not live if a player wants to see them, and just because the dealer prevents the cards from being mixed into the muck so that they may be shown, they should still be dead - our dealers are instructed to "kill" the cards by tapping them on the muck)

IF the rule were to be changed to give "retrievable and identifiable" cards a second chance to "come back to life" in a situation such as this, it would give Roland the best of both worlds - he could effectively fold to keep his hand secret and assume that his opponent will be happy to win the pot and rescind his request to see the hand, but then also rely on the changed rule to bring it back from the dead and be given a second chance to win the pot -- even when he voluntarily chooses to fold.

Now if Tobias did misrepresent his hand by saying "I have an Ace" or something to that effect, I think that is relevant.  If he then turned over Q-high, I would find that it was sufficient that the K was shown to take the pot.  Voluntarily surrendering the pot by mucking, in the absence of dealer error and misinformation, should trump all considerations, and I think that it should be a general rule of thumb that no player should ever be permitted to act in a way that gives him two chances to win the pot.  

By the way, the jumping up and down afterwards by Tobias would appear to be unsportsmanlike conduct to me, and under an "excessive celebration" rule or something similar, I would have given him a penalty.  

« Last Edit: November 03, 2010, 12:11:18 PM by K-Lo »


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Re: Player shows one card, then mucks - opponent shows worse hand
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2010, 03:04:38 PM »
Hi K-Lo. The Tobias-DeWolfe hand is one of the most widely-discussed poker hands in recent years. There are reams of pages of threads online in forums all over the net. One thing I would point out regarding your quotation from Matt is that you should look at the dates of the quotations. When the video of this hand first circulated, many of us felt that Tobias had ASKED to see DeWolfe's hand, because why else would the dealer have exposed DeWOlfe's second card? And in that case, then most would rule that if the "winner" asks to see the cards, the cards are live and can win. However later it came to light as people began to parse the video that it doesn't look like Tobias actually asked to see the cards. So check the dates on anyone you quote because their opinion may have changed as new information on the hand became available. Also as Matt mentions in the article, the issue of the betting line on this table may complicate this particular ruling.

To me the important thing here is not "being right", but trying to come up with a way to prohibit this from happening again, because almost everyone on every side of this issue can agree that the showdown was a mess. Also, I think most people agree with Matt's premise that ".... I want the best hand to win called pots whenever possible...." Ultimately that should be our goal as TD in the showdown: to award the pot to the best hand once the final bet is made, NOT to support more gamemanship after all the betting is finished.

My personal solution is to come up with language to the effect that the Showdown is the territory of the Dealer, not the players, and that the dealer should move aggressively to get all hands exposed and read according to the cards speak standard.  If you'll look at the Tobias-DeWolfe tape closely, with a stopwatch, you'll see that the banter from Tobias goes on for something over 20 seconds AFTER DeWolfe has exposed his King. In other words, the dealer let Tobias run his bluff on DeWolfe well into the showdown, not just for a second or two. Is it appropriate for a dealer to remain silent and allow the players to continue their gamesmanship well into the showdown? Some would say yes, that that is legitimate part of poker, fair enough. Others would say the gamesmanship should stop when the last bet of the last round is made and the showdown pot is right (I'm obviously in this camp). I feel we need to clarify this and adopt one stance or the other, and that is the major lesson here. If we had the aggressive dealer-managed showdown standard, the dealer would immediately have been asking to see Tobias and DeWolfe's cards, AND informing DeWolfe he'll have to show both cards, not sitting back and letting them continue to run their bluffs on each other. Food for thought, thanks for the question !

As for the other question you raise, whether Player A can win (because Player B voluntarily mucks face down), then ask to see Player B's hand WITHOUT those cards being live because A called B and is therefore entitled to a free look at B's cards, I personally don't agree with that position. Yes, Player B can muck his hand face down but if the remaining "winner" asks to see it, it is live and can win. If any other player asks to see it, it's dead. See RROP, Section 3, Showdown, Para. 5.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2010, 10:45:40 PM by MikeB »


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Re: Player shows one card, then mucks - opponent shows worse hand
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2010, 10:00:25 PM »
Hi Mike:

Thanks for your response.  I am in 100% agreement that dealers in these circumstances should be more proactive in getting the players to show their cards at the showdown, and not to delay the game.  I am also in the camp of people that believe that the gamesmanship should end once the betting has been completed and the showdown is called.  Wouldn't it be nice if there was a rule that said that if the dealer asks a particular player to show his cards and he does not do so immediately, he can initiate some sort of countdown (e.g. 5 seconds) after which his hand will automatically be dead?  Personally, I'd like to see a rule like that.

However, I think that even if players were forced to show down there cards more quickly, the situation where a player self-mucks before showing both cards could still arise.  I take your point that the "quote" might no longer be Matt's position, and that he may have come to a different conclusion if he were armed with additional, more current information, and I did not mean any disrespect to him personally.  The point I was trying to make was that if there was going to be some rule added to address situations like these, in my view, it should be that "for greater certainty, if a player is not all-in and voluntarily surrenders the pot by mucking before showing both his cards (and thus tabling his hand), in the absence of dealer error or misinformation, the hand should be dead".  I can't see why this rule/clarification would be unfair.

I do like the spirit of the rule in Robert's Rules regarding the "liveness" of a hand when a request has been made to show it.  I would assume the rule is written this way so that someone who wants to see the hand, who is already entitled the pot, must bear a certain risk for insisting to see the hand.  But I've wondered whether this causes any problems in practice.  

For example, if I were training a dealer, I think I would tell them to first tap a hand on the muck to kill it, and then to reveal the hand in response to a request.  As a further example, in the WSOP Dealer Reference Guide, they teach their dealers that "in Tournament [play], any player at the table may request to see a called hand.  The dealer should take the hand, tap it on top of the muck to officially "kill" it and then turn it face up on the table".  There is no suggestion that the procedure would be different depending on the identity of the requestor.  I'm wondering theoretically, would a WSOP official (or any TD of a tournament that has their dealers performing similar actions) insist that the hand was dead because it was killed by the dealer, regardless of who made the request to see the hand?  Say the loser of the hand had his hand revealed and it turned out to be the winner.  How likely would he be to succeed in insisting that the "killing" action made by the dealer could not actually have killed the hand since the hand must be live as per RROP?  I almost think that practically, it would be easier if the hand was dead regardless of the identity of the requestor.  

By the way, thanks for running this forum.  I think it's great to have a place like this to be able to throw around ideas.  K

« Last Edit: November 03, 2010, 10:49:12 PM by K-Lo »

Nick C

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Re: Player shows one card, then mucks - opponent shows worse hand
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2010, 05:24:56 PM »

 I agree with Mike when he says that the showdown should be in the territory of the dealer. It is a common courtesy to not waste time after all of the betting is done. I see no reason why a time limit can't be put on a showdown situation like that. Without rehasihing the Tobias-DeWolf debacle again, I would like to tell you how I teach dealers to handle the situations that you described.
 Any player (dealt in that hand) has a right to see a called hand. The method regarding a player that folded prior to the showdown and wants to see another player's hand is the way you called it. The dealer should tap the folded hand to the muck before exposing it to the table. I have to tell you that there are casino's that have taken the privledge (the right to see a called hand) away from players because it was abused. It went something like this; Player A (Frank) gets beat by Player B (Arthur) for the third hand in a row, on the river. Frank, (in anger) mucks his hand before anyone can stop him. Arthur says to the dealer, " I wanted to see Franks hand." Frank is still steaming over his bad beats and tells the dealer, " Every time Arthur is in a hand to the end, I want to see his hand! Period!" That is abuseing the rule. So , because of that, only the player, or players, that paid to the river can see the hand.
 A good dealer will touch the hand to the muck, set it off to the side, PUSH THE POT TO THE WINNER, and then show the hand. When the would be winner of the hand asks to see a mucked hand, then it is live. If you are about to be awarded the pot, do not ask to see anyone's hand unless you have the "nuts." I would like to comment on the dealer killing a hand. If the hand was never properly tabled and the dealer mucks it because it was unprotected or some other unfortunate reason, the hand is dead and not retrievable. However if the hand were properly "tabled" (horizontal face-up on the table), then the hand is LIVE and CAN NOT be killed by the dealer and should be retrieved from the muck.