Author Topic: Tricky one...rule by letter of law or by moral ethics  (Read 6019 times)

trackman

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Tricky one...rule by letter of law or by moral ethics
« on: February 23, 2011, 08:37:59 PM »
This happened recently. I was called to make a ruling about procedure for a premature turned river card, but after it was sorted there was uproar. Seems there was more to this than just an early dealt river.

Two players involved. Regulars and friends of years I might add....

Bit of pre flop bet and call action.
Flop comes all clubs giving A a set and B the nut flush. a bet and call.
Turn is a brick. So A now takes a big grab of a stack and pushes it across the line thinking it covers B's stack.
B says "we may as well stick them all in they haven't we" and pushes everything across the line.

The dealer cuts down B's stacks and finds he has an extra 20 and passes it back to B behind the line. It's worth noting at this point the pot is now close to 600.....
B says nothing about this 20 and A hasn't seen it and turns his cards believing there is no more action and showing his set. B says nothing at this, the dealer burns and turns the river which pairs the board now giving A the best hand with a full house. B suddenly starts complaining saying A has not called the rest of his all in...making the river a premature card and resulting in them calling me to rule how that is done.

The river newly dealt is now a brick also meaning that B has the best hand as his nut flush stands. Cue uproar from A.......

There are several ways I can see of ruling in this scenario and I would love your thoughts on them...

First off the dealer is of course at fault for not telling A there was a remaining bet. A is at fault for not paying proper attention and asking how much B's stack was. And B is at fault for taking advantage of a technical fault for the sake of 20 to claim a pot otherwise not his.

The ways I feel it could have been ruled is:

1 - The 1st river stands as B should have queried why his extra money was returned and not waiting until the river had paired the board to complain (A had turned his cards before the river was dealt remember) and not mentioning it in effect sanctioned the 20 not being in play. And also it is un-gentlmanly conduct as there was of course no way A would pass the extra 20 for a 600 pot; B was fully exploiting this situation.

2 - A's hand is dead as in our house rules if a playing facing a bet (whether they are aware they are or not) exposes his card(s) it is an instant dead hand.

3 - The river has to be re-dealt as it was turned before all action from the previous betting round was complete.

It complicates things more with them being good friends before this and makes what B did even more cynical and perhaps reprehensible.

As I mentioned I was only called to rule on the procedure for a premature river. Thinking about it afterwards, the above were my thoughts. Trouble is I have no idea which way I would go if I was forced to make a decision as I can see logic and reason in all possible rulings. 


So, what are your thoughts on this? How would you have ruled if you were called over?.......


Dave Lamb

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Re: Tricky one...rule by letter of law or by moral ethics
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2011, 09:02:45 PM »
Your first choice is the correct one. The World Series 2011 will be very strict this year in enforcement about the "action is accepted", therefore all the money plays in the pot. Whether it is a miscount, misunderstanding of the amount of the bet, or an angle to save some chips in a showdown, players will not get to argue the technical issues once they have "accepted the action".

1 - The 1st river stands as B should have queried why his extra money was returned and not waiting until the river had paired the board to complain (A had turned his cards before the river was dealt remember) and not mentioning it in effect sanctioned the 20 not being in play. And also it is un-gentlmanly conduct as there was of course no way A would pass the extra 20 for a 600 pot; B was fully exploiting this situation.

MikeB

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Re: Tricky one...rule by letter of law or by moral ethics
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2011, 11:19:34 PM »
My 2 cents. Because there's a fair amount of non-standard action in this hand, non-standard conditions require a case-by-case ruling, thus my comments apply to this hand only... The ways I feel it could have been ruled is: 1 - The 1st river stands as B should have queried why his extra money was returned and not waiting until the river had paired the board to complain (A had turned his cards before the river was dealt remember) and not mentioning it in effect sanctioned the 20 not being in play. I would rule this, not so much because B should have complained earlier, but because I think A's gesture of turning his cards up in this situation can be construed as an acceptance of the remainder of the bet to put him all-in. IF on the other hand, he had said nothing and not turned his cards when B pushed, then he really hasn't taken action on the remaining bet on the turn and I might rule differently. BTW, from your post it doesn't say how much more the bet to call on A's part is, you just say that when the all-in is measured B has 20 units left...
2 - A's hand is dead as in our house rules if a playing facing a bet (whether they are aware they are or not) exposes his card(s) it is an instant dead hand. This is not a remedy recognized by TDA rules.
3 - The river has to be re-dealt as it was turned before all action from the previous betting round was complete. Well, if I'm going to rule this, I have to believe that A took no action persuant to B's statement "we might as well stick them all in shall we".. but in fact I suspect the preponderance of A's gestures indicate that he tacitly did accept the all-in, he just didn't push his chips in but rather turned his cards up for a showdown. All the while that the dealer was measuring out B's chips, undoubtedly A saw that happeneing and recognized it as an all-in bet to him, or he should have.... Keep in mind this is a non-standard form of betting (just turning your cards up). The standard form is either pushing chips out or "I call". So this is a bit of a stretch but I think it's in the best interest of the game in this case, the guy makes a non-standard move, and HE IS RESPONSIBLE for that per TDA rules, and I then have to make a ruling in the best interest of the game. Had he not done anything, but sat stoically with his hands covering his cards, then you probably could make a case that the river was dealt prematurely. Then we're back to considering how much the raise is... is it one unit or several hundred, your post doesn't exactly say..
« Last Edit: February 23, 2011, 11:25:06 PM by MikeB »

Nick C

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Re: Tricky one...rule by letter of law or by moral ethics
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2011, 01:54:00 AM »
Trackman,
 Number 1 was the only answer. The TDA has no rule that will kill a players hand for exposing it. It was obvious that Player A assumed that there was no more betting because he thought that Player B was all-in. The best thing that could have happened was for the board to pair again...that is, after the incorrect call was made and you told the dealer to burn and turn another card. Player A turning his cards over prematurely had nothing to do with the dealer putting the river card on the board before the bet was corrected. Once again we have a situation that should have been corrected before it happened. I blame the dealer.
 By the way, I think your rule of killing an exposed hand needs to be reconsidered. I wonder if Player B would have complained if his flush help-up on the first river card? I'll bet he would have taken another 20 from his "good friend."
 
That's the way I see it.

Stuart Murray

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Re: Tricky one...rule by letter of law or by moral ethics
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2011, 08:03:13 AM »
Hi Track,

The players comments of "we might as well put the rest in" and agreement by the other party is sufficient for me to treat it as if the players are all-in post turn.  I see no reason for re-issuing the river, as it is not prematurly issued.  With 600 in the middle a player is not holding back on 20 and this is a pure angle shot to change the river.

Players who "know it all" such as your player B know little and I would speak to him sternly about his unethical behaviour at the table.  If he thinks there is a problem he has to call the floor to solve the issue not spout off his interpretation of the rules.

Regards
Stuart

trackman

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Re: Tricky one...rule by letter of law or by moral ethics
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2011, 08:07:26 AM »
Thanks for the replies folks, seems there is a general consensus as to what would have been done in this situation....

I have no doubt here that A would NOT pass the extra 20, so logically it would be easy to say that the river should stand and B was def angle shooting and basically taking outrageous advantage. But BTW the last bet was about 110 I believe. So to play devil's advocate, what if the remainder of B's bet was say 80 (or some equivalent bet where it gives serious pause to player A); how would you rule in that? Player A has turned his cards and seen that he is facing almost another bet of equal size....the river card has already been dealt but this time it's another brick....

...So what do you do now? Do you tell B that sorry you don't get the extra 80 as the river was already dealt (remember most rooms have rules about bringing in a premature turn/river as players don't sometimes have time to protest) or do you allow A's exposed hand to stand, give A the option of calling the 80 and shuffle the river again (which now seems a reasonable thing to do)? Also bearing in mind that A will now have a very good idea about what hand B has.

It's easy to say what the ruling should be in the light of only a 20 all-in back-raise and that he would have won the natural outcome, but where is the line drawn before it becomes advantageous for A to be able to say "i've not called that last bet and I pass"?....do we have to quote in the rules an exact percentage to allow us to rule differently if the sum falls above or below that new standard? You can see how murky things get when we think we should just rule by what we see as the fairest way.

E.G in the original situation it's easy to see that A turning his cards over is an indication he believes the betting is done. But if in the revised situation above - the river is another brick and the bet he is facing is far far greater than 20 - then he could easily say "of course i'm not calling it, why do you think I turned my cards over? I'm passing." And B is now robbed of money perhaps rightfully his.

The reason Grosvenor has the rule about dead hand if exposed facing a bet btw (rightly or wrongly) is the same principle behind string betting which pretty much EVERY room employs...a player can get a solid read from another's reaction. But as we know a lot of the time the string bet rule is used so other players can see a cheaper flop/card as you'd need insanely sharp senses to read reactions across a table over a micro-second difference in dropping a chip after another. So lets be honest, most players at some point have used the rules (unfairly) to gain an advantage of sorts.

I'm not defending B in anyway on this BTW, I think what he did was pretty disgusting but I also think he does have rights afforded him by our (Grosvenor) rulebook unfortunately. I know most players would want a TD to rule in the best interests of the game and not by the letter of the law. I'm 50/50 on it myself as I know that making one decision in the best interests/spirit of the game can set a dangerous precedent but also it can the most sensible solution. But likewise, while ruling by the letter of the law you can end up penalising the innocent party on occasion but you also make players more aware and force them to pay more attention to the game when they have money/chips in a pot and decrease the chances of it being a reoccurring theme.

It will always be a fine balancing act....maybe it is time to try get a standard set of rules across the clubs. Trouble is poker is poker and situations will always come up that require bending the rules in best interest or penalising an innocent party.

JasperToo

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Re: Tricky one...rule by letter of law or by moral ethics
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2011, 08:24:36 AM »

E.G in the original situation it's easy to see that A turning his cards over is an indication he believes the betting is done. But if in the revised situation above - the river is another brick and the bet he is facing is far far greater than 20 - then he could easily say "of course i'm not calling it, why do you think I turned my cards over? I'm passing." And B is now robbed of money perhaps rightfully his.


Let me see if I can complicate this a little further ::)  .  I think in the original version of the scenario it does seem as though Player A believed player B was all in and he was turning his hand over because he thought the action was over.  HOWEVER, the dealer, player B (especially) AND player A all watched the dealer return some chips to player B.  So why doesn't player B say "hey, what's this? I am all in".  Why doesn't player A say "hey why does he get that back? I call" (and of course, what the heck is the dealer doing in the first place).

So, in your second scenario there would be a lot more chips floating around to bring attention to the situation and I don't think it would actually occur.  If there were that many chips pushed back to player B and player A turns his hand then he is actually in trouble for exposing his hand and would be stuck having to decide what he would do when the original river comes out.  He would have to check and see what B does and then decide if he was beat, then get a penalty. 

And if player A does know there are chips behind player B and exposes his hand, not only is exposing but he is technically soft playing player B since player A believes he has the nuts at the turn and IF the river is a brick he is letting player B off the hook for the last 20 chips (or whatever amount).

I guess my point is, the error that caused the problem started with the dealer and compounded by both player B.  And if there where more than 20 some chips I would think Player A would notice (should have anyway) and you wouldn't have the second scenario you ask about.

trackman

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Re: Tricky one...rule by letter of law or by moral ethics
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2011, 08:51:38 AM »
But if the chips handed back were for E.G 4x 25 like the 4x5 handed back they could be equally easy missed...

and I think it's very dangerous waters to try and decide if A did know that B had chips handed back to him at this point when he exposes his hand. I'm trying to push away from that kind of speculation over intentions/reasons for actions to avoid having to make these judgement calls....as we can see it really does get a little tricky if the scenario details are altered slightly.

Like i mentioned, I think we can all agree what the 1st ruling should be, but my issue is that it's not applied with any force of the rules, it's a gut-instinct ruling based on fairness of the game at that point. But if we alter the situation to what I suggested then you can no longer apply that logic, so what do we do?....make a different ruling again based on what we see fair? it can get very complicated.

Again I need to stress that I'm in agreement that the river should stand and 20 not play, but if I were called to make a ruling on it i'm not sure I could rule that way as i can see it opening a whole can of worms if a similar situation (like the other given) comes up and someone then cries I'm being bias as I ruled differently last time.