If you’re at the poker table and see that the dealer has misread the board and subsequently shipped the pot to the wrong player. Would you:
- Speak up and feel better that poker justice has been served.
- Keep quiet — you’re not in the hand so it’s not your problem.
- If no one else has mentioned it, why should you stick your neck out?
I would hope that everyone would choose the first option. However, a recent bad experience of mine at the poker table, where I pointed out a dealer error — only to subsequently get abused, has made me think twice as to whether I should go with option 2 or 3.
The Error at WSOP Rozvadov
Recently there was an interesting incident at the WSOP Circuit Event in Rozvadov where a player was eliminated on the final table despite the fact it should have been declared a chopped pot.
The bizarre part was that no one picked up on it.
Hand from the @WSOPC FT @PokerroomKings just 45 mins ago (+ stream delay). JTo player busts, no one including the dealer notices(?????), game and stream move on 🤯🤯🤯@PokerNews @ChadAHolloway pic.twitter.com/Geudu01fHP
— EyDu🍞 (@EyDuBrot) January 24, 2023
Pierre Kauert was all-in with his Js10h against Lupo with KsJh. The board ran out AsQc6hJd6d for a chop. It was a double-paired board with an Ace kicker.
If you watch the clip, as soon as the 6d dropped, Kauert stood up and gave his opponent and other players a fist bump as he made his way to the exit in 5th place for 58,350 euros. It obviously didn’t register with anyone that it was indeed a split. The dealer missed it, as did the commentators and other players at the table.
Given the fact that first place was 182,050 euros, this was potentially a massive mistake. There’s no guarantee that if Kauert still had chips he would’ve progressed further, but poker is a funny game. There’s no suggestion that the other players knew that it was a split, and chose not to speak, but at the same time a player had been eliminated and everyone received a 13,000 euro pay jump.
The incident was acknowledged by Frederico Brunato, the King’s Resort poker director, who provided a statement on his Facebook page, noting the fact that while the dealer misread the hand, so did everyone else at the table, including the eliminated player, Pierre Kauert:
I would like to refer to one of the most important rules of poker – always read your hand. At the end of the day we are all humans and we all can make mistakes, Sona is no exception. Even though she has dealt thousands of successful hands in her life, this hand unfortunately she misread.
Nonetheless alongside with Sona, Mr. Pierre Kauert and all other competitors at the table misread the hand as well which of course is very unfortunate. The hand was supposed to be a split and we can now only guess how it would turn out in the Main Event path of Pierre Kauert, perhaps he would now be crowned a champion with a Golden Ring, perhaps he would be eliminated in the next hand.
At the end of the day I would like to refer to rule number 76. Of WSOP which states: The right to dispute a hand end when a new hand begins. This applies not only to WSOP, but also to nearly all regular poker games that are played.
To take from this I strongly advise the poker community to not criticise other people’s mistake and not to try and find guilty, instead learn from this, know your rights and follow your game as every single occasion is individual in its own way.
Full statement here:
When Dara O’Kearney Spoke Up
Speaking to poker pro and author Dara O’Kearney, he recalled a time he spoke up at a tournament. Unfortunately, the player had already left and officials couldn’t track him down.
“This was at the Irish Open about 10 years ago. It was early Day 2. Two players got all in on A-J-J flop with K-Q and K-J. Once I saw they were all in, I wasn’t paying close attention anymore and as the dealer ran out the board, I was checking my phone. Turn was an Ace and thinking he was dead the K-Q walked away. I looked up as the dealer pushed the pot, then glanced at the board to see A-J-J-A-A. It took me a few seconds to confirm it was a chop in my own mind and as the dealer went to retrieve the board cards I said: ‘Stop it’s a Chop’.
It took another minute or so for me to convince everyone, with other players arguing it wasn’t a chop. The floor was then called, and they confirmed the chop and reinstated the K-Q player but by now they were long gone, nobody knew them personally. The organizers tried unsuccessfully to find them, and their stack blinded out.”
The situation is most likely to arise where one player is drawing dead but can chop in some unusual way, and it made me wonder how many unnoticed examples must happen every year.
Abused for Speaking Out
I was recently playing a Pot Limit Omaha game at my local casino. If there’s one game where you can misread your hand, it’s PLO. You have four cards, and you can only use two. Players who river a straight might not realize that one of the other cards gives them a flush.
If I had a dollar for the number of times a player said, “I didn’t realize I had the winning hand”, I’d be playing a $100,000 high-roller event.
More often than not, the group I play with will call out the winning hand if no one has spotted it in the first five seconds. In fact, one lady is so enthusiastic that she once told the dealer he didn’t take enough rake from a pot I won. That thrilled me no end.
The hand in question saw both players with the same full house; however, as the dealer was about to split the pot and send the chips in two different directions, I pointed out that if you used a different card, one player had a better full house.
I was the only one who had picked up on it. The winning player missed it; and the dealer missed it, too. I don’t know if the losing player knew, but didn’t say anything, or whether other people at the table didn’t see it, or just didn’t want to speak up.
As the hand finished, the friend of the player who had lost the pot looked at me and said that I was a ‘very bad person’. He was quite a grumpy guy at the best of times.
I defended myself, responding “how can you sit there and not say anything and cheat the rightful winner out of the pot? There might come a time when you’re in the exact same situation and you lose because no one spoke up. If that makes me a bad person, then so be it.”
The annoying part was that nobody else at the table was speaking up to say that I had done the right thing. It was almost like seven cats had wandered into the casino and got their tongues. It started to make me question if I had, in fact, done the right thing.
Things escalated quickly when Mr. Grumpy told me that if I did that to him, he’d take me out the back where I’d experience pain I’ve never felt before. He wasn’t even in the bloody hand! I’d probably feel a bit nervous if this was back in 1876. It certainly had a Wild Bill Hickock vibe to it .
The player wouldn’t let go of the hand either. He kept ranting and raving, saying it had nothing to do with me, because I wasn’t in the hand.
Meanwhile, the player who had lost the pot just sat there in a dejected stony silence. I got along well with this player. As much as it hurt, he probably realized it was the right decision. The dealer even thanked me for pointing it out.
Further Reflection on the Incident
Dealers are human and make mistakes. I once had a dealer cost me $700 because they flipped a river card before another player acted. If I can help the dealer get a hand right, then why shouldn’t I?
Eventually, I reached the end with Mr. Grumpy and swore at him. I called over the supervisor to try and get him kicked out for threats of physical violence, only to be told that I’d also be ejected because I used a profanity.
I played for a little while longer before I got up and left. A few players came up to me privately and said I did the right thing. That was a small consolation.
It did make me think twice, though. If I’m in this situation again and I’m not in the hand, do I say something or just shut up because it’s too much hassle? I think I’ll continue to speak out, not only because it’s the right thing to do but because I believe in poker karma.
Accidents do happen even to the best
Remember that time Phil Ivey folded a flush?