Interesting Rule Dilemma
The following hand happened to a friend of mine in a 2-7 satellite for the $10K 2-7 event at this past summers’ WSOP
. I’d like to see what the community has to say on this subject – myself and all of our poker friends and have weighed in – but this is a curious one.
The details of bet sizes and stacks are not available, but are also not very prudent.
My friend, Sam, is on the draw with 2345kr. His opponent drew 3 cards, naturally, he drew a single card since he was drawing to the nuts.
Sam, hadn’t even looked at his 5th card, it was still face down on table, when his opponent showed him 2 black Jacks and said “Can you beat Jacks?” in a half-serious way. Sam replied, “Ummmm – yeah” and watched his opponent turn all 5 of his cards face down and throw them at the muck pile.
Just for grins, Sam looked at his 5th card, found a 6 and said “Wow – well, I guess I couldn’t beat Jacks!” He turned his hand face-up while throwing them towards the muck pile as well. His opponent immediately scrambled and tried to pull his hand back and table it.
The first floor man came over and ruled that his opponents’ cards were “easily identifiable” from the muck pile. The second floor ruled the same way. Finally, the TD was called over (the satellite clock was even paused) who subsequently ruled the same way; the Jacks win the pot.
Now, as I’ve told Sam many times, this all could have been avoided if he didn’t even look at his 5th card – or, even if he did, has just mucked them face down. However, in light of the table talk, it’s easy to see why he flipped them over – I may have done the same thing.
I am of the opinion that this was the wrong ruling – in fact so wrong that it’s almost unbelievable.
That said, there may be some logic to the ruling based on TDA rules:
Rule 13: Tabling Cards & Killing Winning Hand
A: Proper tabling is both 1) turning all cards face up on the table and 2) allowing the dealer and players to read the hand clearly. “All cards” means both hole cards in hold’em, all 4 hole cards in Omaha, all 7 cards in 7-stud, etc.
B: At showdown a player must protect his hand while waiting for it to be read (See also Rule 60). If a player does not fully table his cards, then mucks thinking he has won, he does so at his risk. If the cards are not 100% identifiable and the TD rules the hand was not clearly read, the player has no claim to the pot. The TDs decision on whether a hand was sufficiently tabled is final.
C: Dealers cannot kill a hand that was properly tabled and obviously the winner.
Based on item B – the mucking player could still potentially, win the hand, then again, he didn’t muck “thinking he had won”, but rather thought he had lost – plus, he didn’t table his hand – in fact, he actually violated a rule by showing cards with action pending. However, there is also:
Rule -14: Live Cards at Showdown
Discarding non-tabled cards face down does not automatically kill them; a player may change his mind and table his cards if they remain 100% identifiable. Cards are killed by the dealer when pushed into the muck.
To support my side of the argument, I can’t find much in the TDA rule book – which is kind of the problem, it seems common sense has escaped the TDA. Things would have been different if the dealer had partially mucked the hand, or some other similar type scenario, but this player intentionally mucked his hand and then tried to pull it back, same as if he had said “Fold – oh no, wait, I call!”
It’s like when I play poker with my nieces at nephews every Christmas. They routinely discard a card, and then pull it back after the draw, in addition to various other gaffs. It’s funny in that context and I have a good time every Christmas, but in a WSOP $1K satellite – yikes!
It appears it was the correct ruling, as much as it pains me to admit it – but, even still that doesn’t make it right. Does anyone have any thoughts on this one? How can you intentionally muck, with cards actually touching the muck pile, and still win the pot after your opponent shows a hand you can beat, but didn’t think you could beat when it was your turn to act?
Personally, I think the TDA bureaucracy has run amuck - That’s not how we play poker – is it?