You are the Tournament Director Series 5: Playing The Board - Is This a Split Pot or Not?
This one was sent in by Nikolaos Paparis.
I am in a pot on a A T J flop after calling a raise pre flop from another player.
One player goes All-in and the other calls.
ATJKQ non flush board and is a split pot .
The player who bet all-in show AK and the other player mucks his cards.
Some of the players at the table said ‘it’s a split pot’ but the two players involved in the hand did not say anything before the hand was mucked.
The dealer says that he mucked his and gives the pot to player with AK . The other player says that the pot is split and that’s why he didn’t show his cards.
I protested for 5 minutes saying it was obvious but the other players wanted me eliminated as it was so close to the bubble.
The TD says the same as dealer that the hand is not split the player who mucked his cards has no claim on the pot.
How would you rule?
FIDPA (The International Poker Rules) Ruling (Marcel Luske)
67.5 If a player is 'all in' or any player involved in the 'showdown,' accidentally or intentionally folds/mucks their hand before cards are turned 'face up,' the dealer must immediately bring this to the attention of a Floor Person or Tournament Director. Management reserves the right to retrieve the 'folded/mucked' cards, if the cards are clearly identifiable. Venues/ House Rules that are governed by juridical gaming laws pertaining to a retrievable rule shall apply.
75.1...A player must show both cards when 'playing the board' in order to be awarded any part of the pot.
But because we are playing this event with more players & fairness is guaranteed and this is a showdown situation:
If a pot is rewarded to the wrong player,or even when a player gets to muck with a split pot, all players can object & in this situation Nikolaos Paparis did !
So here the player did call first and then clearly misread the whole situation but would be protected by the fact that he made the call and all players at the table makes him or her both players play the board, that intitles him or her the 50% of the pott. The player that did show A K could only get 50% of the pot, as the board indicated that at the time he was called. So the only complain he could make is about the fact that he wanted to see the other players hand before it was mucked!
How many times we have called back All in Players that lost but still had chips left, these chips didnt go authomaticly to the winner ?
David Flusfeder (IFP – International federation of Poker)
This is a difficult one. It is no surprise that the TDs rule differently on this as there are conflicting principles at stake. As Thomas puts it, 'The cards are the receipt for the pot ...No cards no pot'. And as Jack rightly points out, in a cash game there would simply be no issue, the pot would go to the player holding cards.
But this is a tournament and is therefore different for more than one reason;
Firstly, as several TDs point out, this is a showdown and all hands should have been shown. The fact that this did not happen is described by Thomas as a dealer error, and had the chips gone all in before the river that would be self evidently the case. However the action in this hand continued to the river, when the aggressor showed his hand first the caller then mucked. This often happens in river showdowns and the dealer may not have had much opportunity to prevent it. The error was that of the calling player and it may have occurred for one of two reasons. Either he didn't realise that he had won the pot or he simply forgot that he needed to show cards in order to play the board. Either way the error was his alone and you may say that he clearly has no claim on the pot. You may on the other hand argue that 'playing the board' is a unique situation in that you don't need to see the mucked cards to know the hand. David Lamb however makes a good point when he says that cards need to be shown to confirm that it is a valid two card hand.
The other key reason that this differs from a cash game situation is that the TD needs to consider the interests of those not in the hand. One reason commonly given for turning over all hands at show down is to prevent 'chip dumping'. If that is your main concern then you may say that this is self evidently a case where the chips have not been distributed properly and you may agree with those who would split the pot. We tend to think that the issue of chip dumping is over stated and we feel that show downs have more to do with keeping the game flowing and with the right of players to see all hands at showdown for information purposes.
It is possible to argue that if the TD believes that the player honestly didn't realise that cards needed to be shown to claim a split pot then the fairest thing to do would be to give him a warning and split the pot, but we are not convinced that the distinction between the two possible errors matters here.
The only thing that really matters is wether or not you agree with Matt who is entirely consistent with the line he has taken in previous rulings where it was possible to retrieve or to know a mucked hand which had a claim on the pot. Whether or not you operate the rule that all hands must be tabled at showdown, and notwithstanding David Lamb's point, we like the principle that where possible the winning hand should get the pot. We can very much see both sides here but we think on balance the interests of the game and of all players are better served by splitting the pot. (We would also issue a warning and not split the pot if the player repeated his mistake). However those TDs who do not do this are ruling fairly, and the calling player would have only himself to blame if the TD did not decide to protect him from his mistake.
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