Monday, July 9, 2012

Who gets the pot?

When playing in a poker tournament last Wednesday, I entered the pot for a small raise holding 10 9. Both blinds called.

The flop was A-K-10, sorry I don't remember the suits anymore. It was checked to me and I checked. The turn was a 7, and we all checked. The river was a 4 and the board was A-K-10-7-4 rainbow.

Both players checked and I stated, "I have a ten," and turned one card over, the 10. The other two players mucked.

The dealer, instead of pushing me the pot, said "You have to turn both of them over."

Now, that's ridiculous. The other two mucked and no player asked to see my cards.

"I have a live hand, they don't," I said. "Who gets the pot if I don't?"

"You have to show both," she repeated.

I showed both cards, and collected the pot. No use making a stink about it.

At the break, I found Dale Carden, an excellent Tournament Director.

I explained what happened and asked if I, indeed, had to show both cards.

He told me no I didn't. He said if I stated I had a 10, he would make me show the 10. As long as I did that, I didn't have to show the other card. "Of course it's different if somebody's all in," he said. Of course.

I believe the Poker Grump posted on this topic before. (I'm too lazy to try and look it up. Maybe he could refer to it in a comment if he reads this.). He feels the same way I do.

I knew my hand was likely good on the river, so showed my 10. The other guys didn't show their hands, even though (because there was no river bet) the small blind would have to show first. I was just speeding up the game. The dealer penalized me (having to show both cards is a small penalty, yes, but something I would have rather not done) for doing so. My hand was good, my pot, end of story.


  1. I agree, if both fold, what is the dealer gonna do, carry it over to the next hand? Hey, a poker Nassau.

  2. When you enter a room, they should have a copy of their rules available. Usually it is a dog eared set of sheet by the check in. The one you describe isn't all that unusual. When we disagree, our option is to play somewhere else.

    Poker rules have and based on history will remain in a state of flux. I remember Linda (Table Tango blog) bemoaning one she had to enforce one at the Bellagio that caused no end of trouble. (Moving a chip beyond the line on the table constituted a bet even if unreleased.) It a reasonable rule looking at it potential for abuse. And, it is one that bit many players who weren't angle shooting. The fact that it constituted a bet and not the raise one might be planning added to the mix.

    It takes five cards to win a hand. The others wanted info and got the results they wanted. Nothing to see here...move on.

    Wonder what the rule is for Stud where there are three downs and you can make a five card hand without revealing one of those cards. There is one for you to assault the floor with on your next visit. :)

  3. It might just be house rules but every place I've ever played says you have to show both to win whether the other guys have mucked or not and have been called on it a couple of times. once I really remember because it drove the other guy wild. He had been jitterbugging and bluffing like hell and I finally called a preflop raise with 4-4. Board sucked and was very draw heavy but he checked early so I was betting out. On the river a possible Broadway hit and he suddenly bet about $50-60 representing the straight. Given his earlier play I thought for awhile before calling. When I did he mucked his cards saying that if I called I had him beat. Dealer tells me I have to show since it was an active pot so I show the 4s. He went ballistic saying he mucked a pair of jacks and couldn't believe i called with 4s in that bioard. Tend to believe him because he stopped all the Hollywooding and went on tilt before he finally racked up and left.

  4. Very interesting. How does this happen in a 'live' event like this? There is no recourse in a game? No time out? hahaha

  5. That's essentially the same question I had when I was watching the Big One tourney on ESPN last week. On one hand, Esfandiari folded on the river first to act (so as not to show his hand perhaps?), but Einhorn still had to show his hand, and the commentators mentioned that according to their rules you must show both to collect the pot.

    I don't know if this is a rule that can be set tournament to tournament and I wonder what the "default" is.

  6. Not sure if I've seen this in a tournament before, but I've seen pots awarded to the last guy not mucking in cash games without anyone showing any part of their hand. I don't see how they can not give you the pot there.

  7. I'm pretty sure that cash games are different than tournaments. It will come down to house rules most of the time but generally speaking, hands are turned over from the dealer around the table until there is a best hand, the only way to avoid this is to fold the river before showdown. Kinda how when someone is all-in in a cash game, you don't turn over cards until the showdown but tournaments the hands are flipped over when the all-in happens. Personally I agree with you, if you show a winning hand, even if it's just one hole card, the pot is yours; however, I wouldn't say they were in the wrong to make you flip both either.

  8. I'm wondering if they made them turn over both cards in the Big One because it was on TV without a hole card cam.

  9. They had hold card cam for the Big One on TV. They just waited until after the hand and they were on a 15 minute delay. So that's not the reason...