Author Topic: When does a folded hand become dead?  (Read 16634 times)

Spence

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When does a folded hand become dead?
« on: December 01, 2011, 10:09:14 PM »
This is probably a stupid question but there have been several bad rulings in my room lately about what constitutes folding. When is it binding? When the hand is dead? Under what circumstances can it be retrieved?
Unfortunately we enforce line rules in our room but count it only as a betting line and not as a muck line. Sometimes though it is enforced that way as well. As far as I'm concerned, a fold is binding if when facing a wager, you release your cards face down in a forward motion towards the muck/dealer. Is that not sufficient enough to say that the hand becomes dead and irretrievable(by the player) at that point? As TD's we sometimes need to retrieve hands but the issue is surrounding players who supposedly fold ACROSS our stupid line in a forward motion towards the muck/dealer, then realize they had a hand or whatever and go retrieve their hand open it and win the pot. Does this seem like poor form to anyone else? For Nicks sanity I will first say that yes it is the dealers responsibility to muck that hand IMMEDIATELY but most of these dealers are still very green. Has it just become commonplace in my room that we allow this? I need backup!

Nick C

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Re: When does a folded hand become dead?
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2011, 10:23:03 PM »
Spense,
 I'm probably not the person you want to hear from but...Your bet line should be considered a muck line. I've never heard of such a problem in any room. I agree with you 100%. The dealers might be green but I'd teach them real fast to muck any hand that is tossed forward, or pushed, or released, or unprotected... instantly!
 Poker 101-Protect your own hand. There's no way a hand should be pulled from the muck, unless they are the only two cards in it!

It's not a stupid question but I'm sure we'll get some interesting answers.

Stuart Murray

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Re: When does a folded hand become dead?
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2011, 01:15:09 AM »
I hear you spence, and know what you mean about dealers not killing the hands off quickly, I'm gonna disagree with Nick, I do not like, do not recognise and do not use the betting line (even for betting) as chip release my method employed for betting and raising, which is a lot tidier than forward motion and a line (although I do sub rule that forward motion causing a re-action may be binding).  I would certainly not endorse the use of a betting line as a folding line also, because that opens the door to players throwing their cards over the line face-up, when the player in seat 4 is all in, now wait for the explosion at the table!  looking at RROP cards released in a forward motion face down when facing a bet or raise are dead is a base line for defining your pass or folds, also the verbal announcement of fold, I also endorse forward face down motion, causing a re-action from another player, for example a player moves their cards face down foward, causing player in seat 3 to table his hand as he believes the other player is motioning a fold, I would be satisfied that it is a fold usually.

Regards
Stu

Nick C

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Re: When does a folded hand become dead?
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2011, 08:53:55 AM »
Stuart,
 You say you don't agree with me, yet you do agree that the forward motion of a player's hand could induce a reaction from another player. That improper action, as you explained it, is more of a problem in multi handed pots, compared to the original post with two players.

 I have always had a tough time trying to understand why, so many TD's have a problem with a betting line. I've used betting lines and I think it is better than relying on the judgement of a dealer's call on an imaginary line?

 Did you ever play chess? The game is a game of skill, very similar to poker. Think before you act. Chess tournaments have rule's, too. "Touch move" is the first one that comes to mind. You touch a piece, there's no going back! That piece must be moved, whatever the consiquences.

 You toss your hand forward, or release it and leave it unprotected, it's gone. I don't know about you but, when I play, I don't let go of my cards until I see a better hand, or the pot has been pushed to me.

 

K-Lo

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Re: When does a folded hand become dead?
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2011, 09:19:19 AM »
We do not enforce betting lines primarily because all of our tables have them and some do not, so we want to be consistent.  I personally do not like betting lines, because they are typically enforced using a black-and-white approach - chips over the line - bet - not over the line - not a bet.  I know that that's the whole point of the line, to avoid subjectivity, but I feel that the overriding principle has and always should be what the intention of the bettor is.  There are certainly situations where, butfor, the line, it is clear to everyone that the player's intention was NOT to bet.  Strict compliance with the line in those cases seems unfair - it should only be one factor to consider when assessing the intent of the bettor. (I especially dislike TD-ing at places who insist on using betting lines and all-in chips... Ugh).

Spence, I follow your approach and back you 100%.  If an action to fold is made - releasing your cards in any manner towards the dealer or pot, it is a fold.  This is without regard to whether the dealer has actually brought the cards into the muck or not (and I agree 100% that the dealer's need to be reminded to do this ASAP just to avoid situations like these).  If the player says, "oh I didn't mean to fold", my answer is "by releasing your cards towards the dealer/pot, you indicated your intention to fold.  If you don't want your action to be misinterpreted as a fold, protect your cards."  Whenever cards are no longer under a chip or card protector, and not being physically held, they are orphaned cards and can be ruled as dead.  I like Nick's chess analogy.

I have seen a somewhat similar situation where a player has folded, and the dealer hasn't pulled the cards in yet because he was distracted dealing with all-in action between other players at the table.  Huge pot, and the board gets dealt out, say 6-6-6-A-A.  One of the all-in players wins with AA.  The player who has "folded" reaches for his cards to proudly show everyone that he luckily folded a 6.  Surely, he wouldn't want his hand to now be ruled live and be forced to call the all-in!  :)


MikeB

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Re: When does a folded hand become dead?
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2011, 12:00:56 PM »
This is a great issue to review at the next Summit. The association made progress on the topic at the 2011 Summit by clarifying that (in Rule 35) an out-of-turn fold declaration or gesture is binding. Further "fold" was adopted as a standard binding terminology in Rule 3 "official terminology of tournament poker". So we can say there is 100% agreement that fold is binding at anytime action is underway.

Next, there is 100% agreement that a tabled hand at showdown cannot be killed (Rule 15), even if the player declares or gestures fold in any manner.

This leaves the most interesting question of whether "fold" is binding once all betting action is complete and the showdown starts for non-tabled (non-revealed) hands. This has not been officially clarified by the TDA and there are several schools of thought on the matter. One school wants a verbal or gesture of fold for non-tabled hands to be binding at showdown. The other 3 schools don't recognize "fold" as binding at showdown per se. The second school wants only a muck to be binding (i.e. if you push forward non-tabled cards they are dead at that point). A third school wants the face-down mucked cards dead only when the dealer performs a "killing ritual" such as tapping the muck with the cards. A fourth school wants the non-tabled cards live until they are irretrievably mixed into the muck. I'm personally in this most liberal latter school but won't lobby for it here.

Then there's the further permutation of whether even "dead" cards in schools one, two, or three, will return to life if the winning hand asks to see them. There's near-universal agreement that they do, I'd say, but it's not specifically set forth in the TDA rules. Rule 14 recognizes Asking TSAH as a House Policy.

All of these comments are for a table that doesn't use a "folding or mucking line", which adds another layer of complexity. The Association has considered debating betting/mucking lines vs. no lines but has not brought it up for a vote because there is such a diversity of different uses of lines around the world that finding a common standard may be too challenging. It will probably come up as an issue to re-consider at the next Summit also.

Thanks for bringing up the folded/dead had question, I think it's a really important issue that deserves consideration at the next Summit ! We should be able to reach super-majority agreement as to when non-tabled hands are dead at showdown!
« Last Edit: December 02, 2011, 12:08:46 PM by MikeB »

mooredog

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Re: When does a folded hand become dead?
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2011, 10:06:33 AM »
We encourage our dealers to grab hands thrown forward to get them in to the muck quickly which ends any option for a player to pick them back up. According to Robert's Rules, which we use, a verbal declaration of "fold" is binding. Otherwise it's binding if the next player acts. If nothing is said by the player tossing his cards forward and he picks them back up before the next player acts they stay live according to Robert's Rules.

K-Lo

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Re: When does a folded hand become dead?
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2011, 11:29:22 PM »
If nothing is said by the player tossing his cards forward and he picks them back up before the next player acts they stay live according to Robert's Rules.

Does Robert's Rules actually say that this hand would stay live because he picked them up before the next person has acted?  I think Robert's Rules might say that if the next player acts, your hand is dead, but I don't think that necessarily means that if the next player has NOT acted, then the hand is necessarily live -- especially if there "folding action" is completely voluntarily and not the result of misinformation.  Otherwise, in my view, this might be open to an angle shoot, although it's hard to come up with a concrete example. 

How about this situation?

UTG (Seat 1) and a BB (Seat 9) have huge stacks.
SB (Seat 8) is short stacked.

UTG goes all-in.  Everyone folds to SB who is thinking hard about calling, and who asks for a count.  Dealer starts counting out the UTG's chips (there are a lot), and while he's in the middle of the count, the SB throws his cards forward towards the muck (no verbal), but the dealer doesn't notice right away as he is still counting UTG's chips.  As the dealer is finishing the count, he hears the BB say "I can't do it...".  Now dealer announces the count, and looks up.  Before he has a chance to take in SB's cards that are lying on the table, the SB puts his hand back on them, and says "call".  BB folds.   Would you actually rule that SB can pick back up his hand here?
   

Nick C

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Re: When does a folded hand become dead?
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2011, 05:24:10 AM »
 

How about this situation?

UTG (Seat 1) and a BB (Seat 9) have huge stacks.
SB (Seat 8) is short stacked.

UTG goes all-in.  Everyone folds to SB who is thinking hard about calling, and who asks for a count.  Dealer starts counting out the UTG's chips (there are a lot), and while he's in the middle of the count, the SB throws his cards forward towards the muck (no verbal), but the dealer doesn't notice right away as he is still counting UTG's chips.  As the dealer is finishing the count, he hears the BB say "I can't do it...".  Now dealer announces the count, and looks up.  Before he has a chance to take in SB's cards that are lying on the table, the SB puts his hand back on them, and says "call".  BB folds.   Would you actually rule that SB can pick back up his hand here?


K-lo,
First of all, I don't think the dealer should have counted anything. It was obvious that the UTG's all-in had him covered. The next mistake, by the dealer, was to not kill the SB unprotedcted hand immediately. I seen nothing wrong with the action of the BB because he thought that the SB folded. The dealer is entirely at fault with this one.

 The short answer, even though there were many errors made by the dealer, the hand is still live until it hits the muck.
   
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JasperToo

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Re: When does a folded hand become dead?
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2011, 09:36:57 AM »
I agree that a folded hand, one voluntarily thrown forward face down toward the dealer should be immediately scooped by the dealer and mucked.  But I think that there are a few instances where a player may have some kind of misinformation or some such thing and that last second realize the error and retrieve the cards.  This helps protect the players a little bit.

I think there are fewer arguments about when the cards are dead and gone if it is "dealer puts them in the muck".  Of course this makes it really important for the dealers to be johnny on the spot.  I have seen plenty of "folded" hands get retrieved when they should have been mucked and won or slit a pot because the dealer wasn't on it.

It's for darn sure that there needs to be a consistent rule, method and rhythm.

 

K-Lo

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Re: When does a folded hand become dead?
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2011, 10:23:11 PM »
I would be very much against any blanket rule that says a hand is still live until it hits the muck.  I don't think there is one, and I don't think there should be one. I think that this would just invite angle-shooting, and I've seen it happen.

In my view, if you throw your cards in towards the muck in a folding action, then your intention is clearly to muck, and players should be held to their intentions once physicalized as the general rule.  If the Rules were to permit players to take cards back so long as the cards haven't hit the muck, and the Rules were to explicitly provide that the hand would still be live in those cases, what would stop people from throwing their cards forward in a folding motion, and then taking them back just before the dealer can bring them in, hoping that in the interim, the next player(s) might have given some indication that they intended to fold?   

Yes, all problems would be solved if dealers mucked folded cards right away, but let's be practical, there will always be some delay, especially if a player purposely throws the cards in a spot out of the dealer's immediate reach.  Dealers are human beings, not machines which can instantaneously react to the depression of a "Fold" button in a user interface. 

Consider players A, B & C.  If A is first to act, and B is considering calling but is worried about the player behind him (C) calling or raising, this would be a perfect opportunity for B to see how C might react to a "fake" folding action.  In my mind, being permitted to throw ones cards in and then retrieve them before they are mucked ("Oops I changed my mind", "Oh wait, let me think some more about this"), is no more legal than a string bet would be... In fact, I would call this behaviour a "string fold" and it should not be permitted. 

I can appreciate that there will be times where there is misinformation which was relied upon by a player, and if it was not for that misinformation, the player would not have folded.  For example, it is showdown, all action is complete, and one player has lied about the contents of his/her hand.  OK, the TD can consider the circumstances of that case, and rule that another player should be able to retrieve the cards where possible out of fairness in extreme cases, perhaps under Rule 1.  But that should certainly be the exception, not the Rule.  In general, if a player's actions show a clear intention to fold, or to perform any other action for that matter, you should be held by that intention except in the rare circumstance where it would clearly be unfair.     

Quote
The short answer, even though there were many errors made by the dealer, the hand is still live until it hits the muck.

Nick, I am surprised by your stance on this, considering your earlier post where you use your chess move analogy.  Clearly the SB in that example threw his chips into the muck.  Piece moved, period.  There is nothing that would suggest that he erroneously folded based on misinformation.  Why should the hand be live, dealer error or not?

And I must respectfully disagree with the position that the dealer should not have counted UTG's chips.  It is the SB's turn and he is entitled to a count of UTG's wager.  The dealer should have no discretion in this matter.  While it may be obvious that the UTG had him covered, it is not up to us to judge why he wants a count, especially since the SB is not the last to act.  Perhaps he knew the size of the BB's remaining stack but not UTG's, and wanted to know whether UTG's bet was large enough that BB would seriously consider folding or not.  Who knows.  And if the dealer didn't notice the SB folding mid-count, then he didn't notice it.  He's looking in the other direction, after all.  But when he does notice the SB's cards on the table and then sees him picks it up, the hand should already be dead.

Spence

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Re: When does a folded hand become dead?
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2011, 05:36:43 PM »
There are a few things that I like and dislike in here. First I like the stance that the cards are retrievable until the next player acts. The issue that comes up is usually at the showdown for me. I don't mind when the best hand wins. If it was retrieved before they were in the muck then the best hand should be live.
And I must respectfully disagree with the position that the dealer should not have counted UTG's chips.  It is the SB's turn and he is entitled to a count of UTG's wager.  The dealer should have no discretion in this matter.  While it may be obvious that the UTG had him covered, it is not up to us to judge why he wants a count, especially since the SB is not the last to act.  Perhaps he knew the size of the BB's remaining stack but not UTG's, and wanted to know whether UTG's bet was large enough that BB would seriously consider folding or not.  Who knows.  And if the dealer didn't notice the SB folding mid-count, then he didn't notice it.  He's looking in the other direction, after all.  But when he does notice the SB's cards on the table and then sees him picks it up, the hand should already be dead.
I don't agree that the SB is entitled to a count of the UTG. I think THAT could be construed as an angle shot at trying to read what the BB is intending to do. In that case my answer as the dealer would be "More than you"

Nick C

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Re: When does a folded hand become dead?
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2011, 07:42:56 PM »
K-lo,
 I agree with what you say, but the rules don't agree with us. TDA rules do not allow the dealer to count the amount of a bet, only make the chips visible and easy for the player to count on their own. I don't like it, that's part of the new TDA rule this year #41 Accepted Action. As far as the hand that is not mucked by the dealer, I don't like that either but it's live until it's mucked. There is no reason, that a hand that is released in a forward motion by a player, should be out there for more than a split second. Besides, I've never heard so many stories about players tossing winning hands away! What the hell is that all about?

 One final word of advice for anyone that sits at a table with a live hand and leaves it unprotected; don't sit in a game that I'm dealing because your hand will disapear in a heartbeat!

 

K-Lo

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Re: When does a folded hand become dead?
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2011, 09:16:43 PM »
This is getting a bit off topic, but with respect to the dealer's "job" to count out bets:

I believe that Rule 41 says that it is ultimately the player's responsibility to get the count of a bet right.  In other words, if you "delegate" the task of counting the chips to a dealer, the player is still ultimately responsible.  I don't think it says that the dealer is not to count a bet.  (And I am talking about chips already wagered i.e. in the pot, not chips unwagered still in the player's own stack, which the dealer should never count).   

I'm actually not a big fan of this Rule because I think in many circumstances, the player should be able to rely on a count given by the dealer.  So in a sense, if the recommended procedures actually indicated that the dealer should NEVER count out a bet (only perhaps to stack the chips so that they may be more easily counted), then that would actually offer greater protection for the players because at least they would never be misled by a dealer's count since none would ever be given. 

Anyways, if the dealer is going to count out some bets when asked, shouldn't he do it whenever he is asked by any player, in turn, without discrimination?   Maybe this is old school thinking?   Why make things more complicated by setting guidelines on when to accept or refuse a player's request for a count?

Nick C

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Re: When does a folded hand become dead?
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2011, 09:41:45 PM »
K-lo,
 You will have to better distinguish between the bettor, and the caller, instead of using the word player. TDA #41 will create more problems than it will ever solve. I'm just explaining the rule, not agreeing with it.