You are the Tournament Director Series 3: Busted During the Dinner Break
Players break for dinner and the tournament director clock is set to 45 minutes for the break. The break clock counts to zero but the TD has not yet returned, reset the clock or announced the restart. One of the dealers thinks that play has restarted and deals a hand, a few of the players are not yet back at the table. One player busts out then they realise that the break isn’t officially over and the clock hasn’t restarted. The busted player now approaches you and wants his chips back and the hand voided. How do you rule?
The game remains valid and the player is out of the tournament.
The Mob Verdict
Interesting scenario with the TDs split four to two. Matt, Dave, Jack and Thomas L all say that the hand is valid whilst Thomas K and Jeff rule it void.
It certainly looks like the player has tried to pull a stroke here once he has lost his chips. Something that the TDs haven’t considered is the players that are not yet at the table. They haven’t had the opportunity to play their hands and they may have lost blinds or antes. However the clock has counted all the way down to zero and they knew that the TD should be back and that the action should have restarted.
We think that the hand is clearly valid for that reason.
If the dealer had dealt the hand slightly early it would be a trickier decision, but even then, the hand should probably stand so long as all players were present and had not pointed out the mistake before the hand. If it had started early and any of the players had not returned it should certainly be void.
In this case, the player is simply attempting to freeroll. All players were back from the break and none of them pointed out the dealer's mistake before the hand was played. There was no unfair advantage to any player. The hand stands.
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