You are the Tournament Director Series 5: Can player on Small Blind still go all-in?
This one was posted on the Blondepoker forum by George2Loose
Action passes around to the Cut-off who limps in; Button folds; Small blind taps the table to check. Dealer points out him he has to make up to call. He says "ok then I'm all in"
Should he be allowed to? What are his options? Ruling was called, how would you rule?
Player in the SB should only be allowed to call. In this situation, the player in the SB was tapping the table as though he/she was in the BB, which could be construed as an angle to get a reaction/information from another player. I wouldn’t allow the SB to raise or fold, but would definitely force them to call.
Tapping the table means “check” or “don’t want to raise” (Big blind when the pot hasn’t been raised). In this situation the Small Blind has to make up an amount to match the Big Blind but checks instead of adding chips or announcing raise. This way the player has only 2 options: fold or call. Raise “All-in“ is not possible.
He has already acted in turn-he checked. He cannot raise but may call or fold.
The SB makes a clear non verbal gesture of just completing the blind and not raising the limper, so he is just committed to do so. In general without a verbal declaration, hitting the table two consecutive times is just check and the player is not able to raise the pot.
In this situation since it was clear that he checked I am only going to allow him to call the bet.
The player on the SB made his action, when it was his turn and tapped to check! So I can’t give him the option to raise, he has to call the bet or to muck his hand! Player has to pay attention by himself.
The SB cannot go all-in, by attempting to check he has limited his action to either call or fold. After signalling a check, he should not be allowed aggressive action at this time. If the BB raises, the SB would be allowed to reraise.
FIDPA (The International Poker Rules) Ruling (Marcel Luske)
5.1 Poker is an individual game. Actions, statements and/or behaviors that compromise the fairness of the game, whether knowingly or unknowingly, are considered unethical play and unsportsmanlike behavior.
5.2 Tournament Directors and Floor People will penalize any player who acts in an unethical manner.
52.1 A 'declaration of action' may be an obvious physical motion or verbal statement: a fold, check, bet, call, raise, re-raise or 'all-in.'
1 / That this player should NOT be allowed to do anything else or act again !
2 / The player should be penalised for unethical behaviour with the minimum of a friendly official warning, up to the maximum depending on if he or she is repeating this and be warned and informed already about intentionally or not intentionally taking shots (angle shoothing )like this!
In some cases the Bif Blind might already act as well and so we state this;
3.2 A player shall not benefit from an error caused by their action.
David Flusfeder (IFP – International federation of Poker)
He has to call. (And he could be warned for angle-shooting.) Tapping the table is an unambiguous gesture signifying check: he may not then raise, because his first declaration, of non-aggressive action, is binding. (IFP rule #31: Making a Bet.) Had he not tried to go all-in, he would have had the options of folding or calling; but having made the attempt to commit chips, he now has to call.
The Mob Verdict
This is one of the simplest ruling we've ever dealt with in this series. We agree with all the TD's who say that the player cannot change his action to all in. This is for two reasons. Firstly, as Thomas Kremsner and others point out the meaning of the action is perfectly clear. Tapping the table is an accepted action which means check or 'no raise' from the bb. Secondly as David lamb quite rightly says, the action was out of turn and a player who acts out of turn can never chose a new action if the action before them doesn't change.
If the player knew he was on the sb this could only mean 'call' and if the player genuinely thought he was on the bb, then his intention was to check, so we think it is OK to take his action as a call. The only remaining issue is whether he should also be allowed to fold. Jack Effel is clear on this point. He points out that this could be an angle leading to a cheap fold if the bb should choose to raise. Bearing this valid point in mind, and given that it is the player's responsibility to know where the action is, we agree with those TDs who would only allow a call.
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