Thursday, May 31, 2007

Right Rule, Wrong Ruling.

I was just an observer on this hand. I was in the three seat and had a good view of details.

Here’s the way the dealer described it to the floor.

The six seat bet 24, the four seat called allin for 15, I gave the six seat back $9 and he mucked his hand.

“He mucked”, asked the floor?


“Four seat has a hand”?


“Push the pot to the four seat”.

Sounds straightforward, right?

I don’t think it was.

The six seat can’t clearly see the four seat. There’s a bright yellow betting line on the table, which is only used as a guideline, and the four seat put his $15 call out in front but still back from the line. The five seat had has arms on the table and it’s not clear that the six seat could see the 3 red chips. It is clear that he didn’t see them, whether he could have if he’d tried is something I’m not sure about.

The dealer returned the extra $9 to the six seat by picking up all the $24 worth of chips and dropping $15 on the felt with a flick of the wrist (I think the wrist flick is a significant cue that the six seat saw and interpreted). Then he threw the $9 back with a second flick of the wrist.

I have no doubt that the six seat interpreted that as the dealer returning the last bet as a prelude pushing him the pot). The combination of the body language of the dealer and the failure to push the call chips out to the bet line indicated that the bet had gone uncalled and the six seat thought he’d won without a showdown.

The dealer did something that he should not have done if the bet had been called. He put his fingers in the pot. If the bet had been called he needed to just leave the money along, there’s no need to touch it or make change until the showdown determined who won. The $9 only needed to be returned if the four seat one the showdown.

The floor didn’t really care or even think about the details of what happened. You could tell from her body language her only thought was “What rule can I apply to make this ruling be done with?”. Her thought should be “What are the facts?” But like most floors she doesn’t think in terms of determining facts, then applying the rules. She just thinks in terms of finding facts to match her favorite rule so she can move on to the next job task.

BTW. The mucked hand was sitting on top of the discarded stub, clearly visible as two cards separate from the muck and the stub. There would have been no doubt at all about accurate retrieval.

We need more floor people with the experience to actually apply some judgment to a situation, and fewer nits who would be just as comfortable working for Homeland Security checking socked feet at the airport.



Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Its a shame for the mucker, but each player has a responsibility to protect their cards. Confusion or not, that player shouldn't have mucked until told to do so or until he verified that the pot was coming to him. I've seen some odd things, including a guy throwing his nut flush face up, the cards bouncing and landing facedown in the muck. In the end, if that guy had just put his cards down instead of showboating, he would have been rewarded the hand, but since the dealer was looking at the other player at the time, all he saw were the cards in the muck. Different situation, but same result. Its the player's responsibility first.

6:39 AM  
Blogger StB said...

I agree with protecting a hand but common sense needs to come into play.

Gary, what did the 6 seat say in his defense? I would assume he was quite unhappy. Also, did the dealer announce that a call was made?

8:50 AM  
Blogger WindBreak247 said...

This rule is definitely one of the most painful rulse there is, because 9 times out of 10 everyone is going to know which two cards are the player's who accidentally mucked, but at the same time, there's no great way to go about changing it in order to allow pulling cards from the muck. Just too much potential for angle shooting. It needs to be black and white, and it is.

...and it sucks.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Gary Carson said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:37 PM  
Blogger Gary Carson said...

He didn't say anything. It wouldn't have mattered. The floor just didn't care what had actually happened and that attitude was very clear.

There's no reason for things that aren't black and white to be black and white. Even black and white isn't black and white.

My father was color blind. Even he didn't see things in black and white, he just saw different shades of gray.

9:40 PM  

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