Author Topic: Dealing Procedures in Split Pot Games  (Read 17012 times)

K-Lo

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Dealing Procedures in Split Pot Games
« on: April 22, 2013, 02:25:03 PM »
There was a recent post on the 2+2 forums from a WSOP dealer regarding the stacking of pots in split pot games.  Traditionally, most dealers are taught to stack the pot for split pot games (and pot-limit games I assume as well) as the hand progresses.  This speeds things up when it comes time to award the pot at showdown, for example.

Apparently, this procedure was changed last year in response to complaints that the dealer's action of stacking the pot was interfering with the play (i.e. reading opponents, determining who was in the hand, whether or not an opponent bet or checked, etc.).  It was decided to not stack the pot until the play was over.  This dealer observed that it did slow down the game considerably.

I was thinking about this problem, and I do have sympathy for the players.  It is really distracting when you are at one end of the table, and you are looking over at your opponents, only to have the dealer lean forward to stack the chips, and effectively completely block your view.  It reminds me of an etiquette chapter from Tommy Angelo's book where he suggests that players should not have conversations with others if it will cross the 'imaginary line' between any two players still remaining the hand.  I think that players that are contesting the pot should be entitled to have an unimpeded line of sight to any remaining opponent whenever possible.

I feel that one of the reasons why all of this becomes an issue is that the "standard" placement of the pot is beside and to the left of the board cards.  The dealer scoops all of the chips there, deals out the flop, and most of the time, he would then be blocking at least two players in the hand if he has to reach for the pot, since the pot is so close to the middle of the table.  

Why not allow dealers to collect most if not all of the chips somewhere in front of his tray, i.e. anywhere in that rectangular space between the board and the edge of his tray? Most of the time, he may also be able to move the chips slightly to the left or to the right if needed (but closer to the tray) so that it does not impede the eyeline of any of the remaining players.  If necessary, he can leave a few chips beside the board or a disk to put the burn cards under.  

In the instances where the players beside the dealer are in the hand, the dealer should probably still not stack the pot unless one of them folds.  But allowing a little flexibility in the placement of the pot, you can stack the pot most of the time without having to cross the eyelines of remaining players.  I don't see why the procedures must be "all-or-nothing" i.e. always stack or never stack until showdown.  The only downside I see to this may be a security issue.  If the pot is moved closer to the dealer, will there be a worry that the chips may fall into the dealer rack?  Certainly this would not be an issue at least for tournaments though.  A more minor issue would be whether this would interfere with where dealers may collect cards for the muck, or to spread the stub when the deal is done.

Thoughts?
« Last Edit: April 22, 2013, 03:34:00 PM by K-Lo »

Nick C

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Re: Dealing Procedures in Split Pot Games
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2013, 08:36:27 PM »
Ken,

 Come on! What are we trying to do? Change every fundamental dealer procedure that exists!!? Who in the hell comes up with this crap? The dealer is blocking someones view when stacking chips?

 I don't know what to respond to first...why not eliminate dealers altogether and play video poker!!???

 Perhaps that's why so many terrific players are a product of on-line poker...they didn't have the dealer's blocking out the opponents >:(

 I'd like to know what genius came up with that one. Why don't we just toss the chips into a "chip counter" in the center of the table? Then we won't have to worry about the dealer miscounting the split...surely they could divide the pot in half ::)

 Sorry but, I'm having a tough enough time trying to digest the last post I read...goodnight to all :)

Nick C

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Re: Dealing Procedures in Split Pot Games
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2013, 05:47:24 AM »
 Good morning...And furthermore, the pot should remain left center in flop games, and not between the dealer and board cards.
 
Proper Procedure: The burn cards should be properly placed left of the board cards, separate from the muck on the right; this allows ample room to slide the dead cards (from the left side of the table) easily into the muck without; either circling the pot with a long sweeping reach, or lifting the dead cards over the pot.

 I know there are many different methods that are used. I've seen the muck and burn placed practically together...which is incorrect! I see burn cards placed so far from where they belong that we don't even know what they are? Take a look back at the fiasco from 2009 in Barcelona ( Roland DeWolfe vs Tobias Reinkemeier)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mr2agX80ZyE

This is what happens when you try to change the fundamentals. The pot and muck are in front of DeWolfe and the flop, turn and river are ass-backwards!
« Last Edit: April 23, 2013, 05:50:31 AM by Nick C »

K-Lo

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Re: Dealing Procedures in Split Pot Games
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2013, 06:23:27 AM »
I'm not saying that it should be changed officially, or for every game, or for every deal.  I was just thinking about how one might address the issue that the players were complaining about, that might be better than simply telling all dealers not to stack the pot at all during the deal as they appeared to have done at the WSOP (I could be wrong on this if the dealer who posted the article was wrong), or than just telling a whole table of complaining players "too bad and suck it up".  ;-)

To be clear, the issue is not with holdem... only with split pot games where traditionally the dealer would sort all of the chips in the pot into stacks of different denominations during a deal.  

Anyway, it's not a huge issue.  Just thought it was an interesting topic.  No need to get so worked up! ;-)
« Last Edit: April 23, 2013, 06:57:23 AM by K-Lo »

Nick C

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Re: Dealing Procedures in Split Pot Games
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2013, 11:01:57 AM »
Ken,

 I am a certified poker instructor and I still teach dealers, so I do have a reason for getting "worked up." I can not sit back and let anyone change the fundamentals of the game. Poker is bigger than the TDA, WSOP, WPT, or anyone that thinks they have a position that gives them the right to do whatever they want. Save it for your house game, okay?

 

K-Lo

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Re: Dealing Procedures in Split Pot Games
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2013, 01:06:04 PM »
I think at the very least, the dealer can stack the chips after each round in front of him, and then add them to the stacks at the center of the table when the time is right.

Nick C

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Re: Dealing Procedures in Split Pot Games
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2013, 02:23:13 PM »
Ken,
 The priority is always the action at hand. When the dealer has a chance; he should take that time to separate the chips and begin to stack them, this will allow the dealers the chance to get a reasonable amount of hands out per hour. This procedure should never interfere with the game, or obstruct the view of any player.

 I will continue to teach my student dealers to stack and separate chips every time they are dealing a high-low split game. I will also mention that the WSOP has their own way of doing things.

 Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

Brian Vickers

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Re: Dealing Procedures in Split Pot Games
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2013, 10:45:49 AM »
My opinion is that it would be best to stack the chips while waiting on action, but not neccessarliy take the time to split the whole pot in half.  If your chips are stacked up it then becomes very easy to split the pot into how ever many stacks are neccessary.  You'll always have scoops and 3/4 and even 3 way splits.  Keeping the chips stacked lets you then break them down as you need in a quick and effecient manner without the excess time of spllitting a pot needlessly.   (and yes, I was also taught to "always split" but my opinion is "always stack" is the better method)

Nick C

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Re: Dealing Procedures in Split Pot Games
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2013, 11:00:59 AM »
Brian,

 That is exactly the way it should be done. I never suggested splitting every pot down the middle, just stacking the equal denominations for quick and easy distribution to the winners.

K-Lo

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Re: Dealing Procedures in Split Pot Games
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2013, 01:40:19 PM »
I hesitate to jump back into this discussion, but my follow-up was not about when the chips should be stacked but where.  Even if all the stacks will eventually be moved beside the pot, if there is a "standard procedure", does it require that all the chips be shoved into the centre of the table in a random heap first, and then the dealer reaches over when he wishes to construct the stacks? Or can he bring in the chips closer to his rack first, stack them there when there is a break in the action, and then move the chips, already in stacks, to the center of the table?

Nick C

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Re: Dealing Procedures in Split Pot Games
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2013, 08:04:17 PM »
Ken,

 I can only speak for myself and this is what I prefer: Lets say that there are 3 different denominations in the pot, 100's 500's and 1000's. If the pot begins to grow I begin stacking the same denomination chips into a single stack...that is until it gets about 20 high. I will then begin another stack. i.e. twenty-six 500 count chips are in the pot, I will stack one stack about 20 high (a manageable amount) and a second stack 6 high...I will not have two stacks 13 high. Manageable stacks in height will not be separated until all winners are determined.

 I do not like the dealers to bring the chips too close to the rack because they could easily spill into the table tray.

 I also encourage dealers to stack each bet when possible, as opposed to spilling them into the pot, the way we do in one-winner games. Why spill the chips into the pot if we can place them into the pot in nice neat piles?

 We have many issues with dealers having problems counting chips...this is easier for everyone to see that the pot is being split properly.

 I remember one of my students telling me that it made no sense to begin separating chips in a Omaha hi-lo split game after three picture cards came on the flop. Everyone knew that no low was possible. I insisted that he separate the chips, anyway. He reluctantly did as I told him. Three players all had ace high straights and the pot was chopped 3 ways! He learned a good lesson and IMO, that's the way it should be.

 I also can't imagine a dealer obstructing any players view when stacking chips.

 Anyway, that's the way we do it and it works out great. ;)

K-Lo

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Re: Dealing Procedures in Split Pot Games
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2013, 06:38:02 AM »
Good points Nick.

Tristan

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Re: Dealing Procedures in Split Pot Games
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2013, 09:06:06 AM »
I remember one of my students telling me that it made no sense to begin separating chips in a Omaha hi-lo split game after three picture cards came on the flop. Everyone knew that no low was possible. I insisted that he separate the chips, anyway. He reluctantly did as I told him. Three players all had ace high straights and the pot was chopped 3 ways! He learned a good lesson and IMO, that's the way it should be.

Not to mention that the dealer should never draw attention to the fact that there is no low possible! 
Tristan
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Nick C

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Re: Dealing Procedures in Split Pot Games
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2013, 03:32:13 PM »
Tristan,

 That is another excellent reason! ;)

  However, I'm sure one of the players will surely let everyone know before the dealer even thinks about saying anything. ::)

Brian Vickers

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Re: Dealing Procedures in Split Pot Games
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2013, 11:14:19 AM »
I've seen some really ace dealers deal this game (especially some that dealt to me at the Venetian 8-game mix) and they were so good at keeping chips basically stacked as they brought in the chips without slowing the game down at all. The 4/8 Hi-lo at the Orleans has some great split pot dealers too.

Another good point I like to bring up is that if two players get heads up in a split pot game, to then leave all bets in front of the players.  If they split it then they take their bets back.  If one player gets "quartered" you take half his stack and give it to the other player.  This will save you from having to chop anything but the pot in the middle.