You are the Tournament Director Series 3: Who Wins The Pot and Does the Winning Hand Have To Show?
This one was posted on the Mob Forum by The Reverend.
£1/ £2 live cash game at the Casino at The Empire in London. Somehow I end up with my opponent all-in on the river with a pot of about £285 and I have 5 high. My opponent, embarrassed at his own high card holding (better than mine, obviously) angrily mutters something including the words "I fold" and throws his cards in face up towards but not touching the muck. This is absolutely irrelevant as far as the rules, but not as far as ignorant floor staff, who are thankfully absent from this story, go.
I decline to show my cards and now my opponent insists I do. Someone else, the dealer I think (self deal game) says I need to show my hand to take the pot. Obviously, if opponent's hand is dead I do not, nevertheless I table my 5 high and now my opponent is claiming the pot is his. I explain he already folded and the pot is mine, and call for a ruling.
Floor comes over, someone else explains what has happened quite accurately, floor rules the pot is mine. Further nonsense ensues but that's what happened to get me the pot.
Am I being the proverbial douchebag here by not just tabling cards in the first place after he turns his face up, and just ignoring the verbal declaration of defeat?
As an interesting aside, opponent is son of a WSOP main event winner.
An opponent who is all-in on the river does not have any more verbalizations to make to change the outcome. Saying, “I fold” is inaccurate and unavailable as an option, the bets and calls are done. Only in a live game, the called player could muck his cards face down and forfeit any claim to the pot, otherwise showdown and give the chips to the winning hand.
The Mob Verdict
An interesting situation that really happened with a few differences of opinion. Matt and Thomas K both award the pot to the other player declaring the hand of the player that said ‘I fold’ dead. David and Jack both award the pot to the player with the best hand saying that his hand isn’t dead and Thomas L appears to side with Matt and Thomas K.
It all boils down to two things. We know that verbal action in turn is binding but is it binding on the river when there is no more betting because players are all in? The second situation to consider is whether the hand is dead or not.
In a cash game a player is entitled to muck his hand face down and concede the pot and in this situation the other player would win the pot. However in this situation he ‘…throws his cards in face up, towards but not touching the muck.’ In the absence of saying anything his hand is 100% live and can win the pot. Jeff explains the situation very well and likens the situation to saying ‘you win’ but the important thing here is that there is no action. Calling or folding are not real options (verbally speaking). The hand has been exposed face up on the river and all action is complete. We agree with David and Jeff and would award the pot to the player who tried to ‘fold’.
It is worth pointing out that the Reverend doesn't appear to know exactly what happened. He says that the pot 'somehow ended up all-in on the river' and that his opponent 'muttered' something that included the words 'I fold'. He speculates that the player was both embarrassed and angry but cannot even be sure of what he said much less know his state of mind. But even if we were sure that a clear statement had been made, cards still speak in this case.
With regards to showing the winning hand had the other player mucked his hand face down and the winner then mucked his hand without anyone asking to see it then the hand doesn’t have to be shown. However should any player ask to see the winning hand or a house rule be in place that states that the winning hand must be shown in order to get the pot then the winning hand must be shown.