You are the Tournament Director: Opponents Exposing Your Hand
Two players are left in the pot on the river and player one makes a large bet. His opponent reaches over and turns the player’s cards over. How do you rule?
Now say a third player, who has passed, turns over the hand of the player who has bet. How do you rule?
The first of the two scenarios is easier to deal with. All TDs agree that the player who had his cards turned over wins the pot. Matt and Mel would give a time penalty and Marty a verbal warning. We feel that a time penalty is right otherwise the player might do this when ever he is going to fold to gain information. Repeat offences should be more severely penalised.
The second scenario is more difficult. First the offending player, who is out of this particular hand, should get at least a time penalty. What he has done is just not allowed. Again, more severe penalties or even disqualification should be given for further offences.
A player is responsible for his own hand and the player should have protected his cards at all times. Marty sticks by this in his ruling and whilst not necessarily incorrect we feel that a little leniency in this spot wouldn’t go a miss. Matt gives the player that has made the bet the option of taking it back which is interesting and we assume that he means the other player can still bet if he wants to. It would appear that Thomas has not realised that we are already on the river as he would ‘deal to the river without betting’ – (we would assume that if it wasn’t on the river the other player can act normally and has an option to call).
We believe that you have to try to understand what is in the offending player’s head. He is definitely getting a penalty but if the action is deemed to be malicious then an instant disqualification should be considered.
The ‘protecting your own hand’ rule is important but you don’t expect a player at the table to act in this way – by leaning over and exposing your cards. If you think about the different betting scenarios that can follow the player with the unexposed hand has a huge advantage. We feel that it is so unfair for the victim and that he is so disadvantaged that we would return the bet and move immediately on to the showdown. We understand that the player with the unexposed hand has done nothing wrong and he may for instance lose the opportunity to bluff if he wanted but it’s a very difficult situation and we believe that this would be the fairest ruling.
Many things that happen in tournaments are very situational and you can see just how tough it can be to be a tournament director. It is important that the TD fully understands the complete situation and as well as following the rules makes fair and consistent decisions that are in the interest of fair play and the good of the game.
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