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Neil Johnson
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Neil Johnson

Dealer’s Choice 4

By Neil Johnson (06/12/2006)

Best Wishes from Singapore everyone. I’m over here for the inaugural Betfair Asian Poker Tour Event and loving every minute of it. As a side note I highly recommend you try it out next year. Tony G. just took home first out of 313 players and the entire event has come off flawlessly. Ok then, commercial over and on to my point (and yes I will have one eventually).

For the event the tournament staff (another wonderful job done by Thomas Kremser and his staff at TK Enterprises) chose a fairly unique interpretation of the “See All Called Hands” Rule. For those unfamiliar, that is the rule where after the river betting is complete and we come to a showdown, any player at the table who was dealt in originally can ask to see any or all of the hands that called the final bet. If the player refuses to turn it over, the dealer will kill the hand (tap it facedown on the muck, making it unable to win the pot) and turn it up so everyone can see it. TK chose not to have this rule and I applaud them for it.

You see, I personally hate this rule. I have never in all my years of dealing seen it used even once for the reason it was written. The original purpose of this rule was to prevent collusion in cash games and then was expanded to prevent chip dumping or chip passing in tournaments. What is this rule currently used exclusively for now? To see a players cards so you can know what he raised/called/bet with, or to needle a player you know was bluffing at the pot and force him to show his garbage.

As another side note, my all time favorite interpretation of this rule was by a little club in the Seattle area near my house. If you wanted to see the cards at the end of the hand, the dealer would call the floor over and you would have to explain to the floor exactly how and why you felt the players were cheating.

As a poker room, there are two ways to handle showdown situations. “Last Action” and “Left of the Button”. “Last Action” means that whoever acted aggressively last (i.e. bet or raised), no matter if it was pre flop, flop, turn or river is the one required to show their cards first (or muck and surrender their claim on the pot). “Left of the Button” is used almost exclusively in situations where the river has been checked around. In those situations, whoever is left of the button is required to show their hand first (or muck it and surrender their claim on the pot). Somewhere along the line we have begun to think as players that it is our right to see all the cards on the river, whether we are in the hand or not. Poker players seem to have forgotten (or online players never knew) that it is a player’s right to muck their cards whenever they want to unless required to turn them over to win the pot. Folding, to my knowledge, has, is, and always will be, an available option.

Now I freely admit, I enjoy and take full advantage of being able to pull up hand histories on the internet to see what everyone had, what they raised with or how they played “XXXX” (I’m an Omaha player) from “blank” position. However, we all know live and online are two completely different animals and they are supposed to be that way. This rule should only be enforced at the floor level and for a very valid (i.e. you think someone is cheating) reason. It is probably the most abused rule in poker right now.

However, there are ways to get the best of both worlds. I was on the button in an Omaha Hi-Lo game when the river brought no low and a flush. It messed up everybody’s hand and six of us checked it down. No one wanted to turn their cards over and the dealer, correctly (using “Left of the Button”), pointed at the small blind and said “Flip ‘em or Fold ‘em sir” and the first three players all folded without showing, the next two showed straights and I, getting to go last, won the pot with my three high flush (don’t look at me like that, I had a wheel wrap and if a three high flush will let me stack chips I will take it and so would you…lol). Now, by waiting my turn I was able to get a decent read on what the first three players had and got to see the other two hands. If I had just turned up my flush no one would have shown and I would have missed out on that knowledge.

That is the correct way to see the other hands, or at least as many of them as possible under the circumstances. As an added bonus, three of the other five did fold; I came really close to winning the whole thing without having to show my hand at all.

Ok, sermon over, it’s time for the next dealer now, so thank you very much ladies and gentlemen and good luck.

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