You are the Tournament Director Series 3: Should the Floor Change the Dealers Ruling?
This one was sent in by Phil Shaw.
Ok... £300 tournament at the Vic, last 2 tables, 5 getting paid... 300/600 blinds ante 100. Me (utg - 12000) dealt AK but before I can act Neil Channing (to my immediate left - 4000 ish) goes all in. I ask the dealer what the protocol is here regarding Neil's bet and he states that it goes whatever my action (i.e. limp, call or raise). Therefore I go all in to force everyone else out, at which point someone else says Neil should be allowed to take his chips back as I raised more than his bet (i.e. if I limp or call his bet stands). At this point the floor is called and the ultimate ruling is that Neil is allowed to take his chips back as the house rule is that it only stands if I limp or call (despite the dealer's statement to the contrary). Of course I protest this is unfair, but the floor says they have to consider the other players behind us and so I cannot now even change my action and instead call or limp so his bet stands! Therefore I am forced to go all in, Neil takes his bet back, and all fold...
While it is true that his action stands if you just limp or fold, once all of the other action has taken place I would NOT allow him to take his bet back. If he felt the dealers ruling was wrong he should have called the floor straight away. I want to make the rule in the best interest of the rules and players. His bet would have stayed in the pot.
If I am called to the table before anybody else acts I would allow Phil to change his decision because he was given wrong information by the dealer AND he was asking clearly before he acted. If action took place already I would not allow Phil to change his action and would apologize for the dealer. Neil is allowed to take back his chips and fold.
The correct decision was given by the floor, once the action changes to the out of turn player he may now fold, call or raise. In a sense, you restore your opponents’ options by raising in front of his out of turn action. It would have been useful if the “helpers” in this pot would have given the full explanation of your options while the dealer was offering you the rather incomplete version.
I actually made this ruling and although it was our rule at the time I believe it WAS wrong and we have since subsequently changed it to make it simpler. The rule at the time stated that if a player bets out of turn then the bet will stand unless a player in front of him bets in excess of his “offending” bet, in which case he has the option to take his bet back. The problem with the rule was that dealers who were asked as to what the situation was after someone had bet out of turn “never” explained correctly that the “offending” bet would go “unless” a live player in front of him bet “more” than he did. This is why we would get this type of problem . The other thing is that if someone moves all in out of turn then he hasn’t got any more chips to protect anyway or any decision left to make, so in “any” given scenario an all in (out of turn) player should never get their chips back . We have now simplified the rule to say; all out of turn bets will go… regardless, the offending player is then penalised from making further action during the rest of that round of betting.
Players must act in turn at all times. Action out of turn may or may not be binding. If a player acts out of turn and the action does not change by the time it is that player's turn to act, that player's action is binding. Action only changes by a player raising before the action gets back to the person that acted out of turn. Action does not change when the player in front of a player acting out of turn calls or folds. If a player acts out of turn and the action changes, the person who acted out of turn may change their action by calling, raising or folding and may have their chips returned. I issue a warning for the first occurrence of acting out of turn, and penalties every time there after.
The rules say, that if a player acts out of turn, the chips have to stay in the pot, except another player before making a raise.
So in this case, Neil should be allowed to take his chips back.
But in the sense of the game I would decide, if there was no more action behind, that Phil can also take back his chips and is now allowed to react, with the knowledge of the right ruling.
The final decision is always the ruling of the Floorman or Tournament Director and he has to overrule the dealer, if necessary.
The Mob Verdict
This is a tricky one. It is established, and most card rooms have the rule, that a bet out of turn is binding providing the action does not change by the time it is that player's turn to act. In this situation two things make it more difficult:
- Firstly, the fact that the dealer mislead Phil before he acted. If any player didn’t agree with the dealer they should really have spoken up before Phil acted. Neil may have felt that by entering into the conversation before Phil acted he would have given away information, but we feel that once he had acted out of turn he had probably relinquished the right to protect himself in this way. This however would not be enough reason to depart from the normal rule.
- However, it isn’t just a case of acting out of turn by betting or raising - the player moves all in.
Jeff Leigh says;
“The other thing is that if someone moves all in out of turn then he hasn’t got any more chips to protect anyway or any decision left to make, so in “any” given scenario an all in (out of turn) player should never get their chips back .”
We feel that moving all in out of turn is different to any bet or raise out of turn as the player acting out of turn has no further action to make in the hand. For this reason we think a rule should be added, or the acting out of turn rule amended, to say that a player moving all in out of turn is committed to go all in. If he isn’t committed to then there are angles to be shot here. If he is committed every player at the table knows exactly where they stand. If a player repeatedly moves all in out of turn this would not be in the spirits of the game and he may receive warnings or penalties accordingly.
Having said that, we also think that Jeff goes too far by extending the exception to any case where a player in front of the out of turn bettor bets more than the out of turn bet. This could create situations like the following: Player B could raises out of turn to 5k (bb 1k) leaving himself 100,000 behind. Now if player A raises to 3K, player B's bet stands and reopens the action for player A!
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