You are the Tournament Director Series 5: Is This Verbal Action Enforceable?
First hand of the WSOP main event and action passes around to the small blind who says ‘raise’. Before he can announce how much or put chips in the pot the big blind says ‘call’.
The small blind now announces all-in. Must the big blind call for all his chips?
FIDPA (The International Poker Rules) Ruling (Marcel Luske)
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.'
So in this case the player that called was ready for any amount that was raised as he or she was well aware of the fact that a raise was clearly announced! Not willing to call the all in would indicate clearly that the direct call was a try to get the raiser betting less! So the player that called should be hold to his statement and be obligated to call. Before the hand is played out that player should be getting an official warning/penalty for unethical play aswell!
David Flusfeder (IFP – International federation of Poker)
Firstly, let's be clear. As most of our TDs acknowledge, the small blind has done nothing wrong by announcing his intention to raise and there is no reason to penalise him or restrict his actions as David Luzago suggests or to suspect a possible angle on his part as Matt Savage implies.
What is most interesting here is that there are two different ways to view the BBs call. Is it as Matt characterises it a ‘conditional statement‘ or as David Lamb describes it an ‘action out of turn’? Or indeed does the fact that it is the latter necessarily make it the former as well.
It does seem logical to see it as an action out of turn since the SB had not completed his action. However the normal rule for action out of turn is to make the action stand unless prior action changes the available options, and obviously that doesn't quite make sense in this particular case. There is nothing the SB can do to ‘change the action’ he can only clarify or complete it. Therefore it makes no sense to give the BB back his range of options, specifically he can never be allowed to raise. You can of course view the minimum raise as the default action to which the BB is committed and give him the option to call or leave the minimum in the pot and fold if the rase is bigger. Though we know of nothing in the rules that would bind the TD to this.
In exactly the same way, when viewed as a conditional statement the option is there as Matt says to make the call binding or not.
We believe that the TDs would be within their rights to force a call for the full amount, but that whichever way you define the BBs action the option is there to penalise the player in what may seem in the particular circumstances to be a more proportional way.
Most of the TDs have used their experience to arrive at the solution that feels right. And we agree with all those who would make him call the minimum raise and give him the option to call the rest or fold. If there were action on subsequent streets both players would of course have all normal options.
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