The Poker Floorman

A Floorman's perspective of the poker world

Poker Card Hits the Floor

What happens when a card hits the floor?

If a card is dealt off of the table by the dealer, it is treated like any other exposed or flashed card.  The dealer will continue to deal the entire table their down cards, then replace the card dealt off of the table with the next card on the deck.  The  card dealt off of the table is shown to the entire table and used as the burn card.  In other words, the card that would have been the burn card is used to replace the card dealt off of the table and the card that was dealt off of the table is now used as the burn card.

It’s a different story if a player drops his own cards onto the floor.  Roberts Rules of Poker states, “If you drop any cards out of your hand onto the floor, you must still play them.” However, some poker rooms have a house rule that renders the hand dead.  Be sure to know the house rules if plan on dropping your cards. 🙂

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April 18, 2011 Posted by | For Beginner Poker Players, Poker Rules | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Oversized Poker Chip Rule

Placing an Oversized Chip in the Pot

If a poker player places a single chip or bill that is larger than the bet (or the blind) into the pot and he doesn’t state an amount for his bet, it is considered a call only.  This applies to both limit and no limit poker games.

For example:
In a $5-$10 Limit game a player faces a $10 bet.  He tosses out a $25 chip without saying anything.  His action is considered a call.
In a $1-$2 No Limit game a player faces a $10 bet.  He tosses out a $25 chip without saying anything.  This is still considered a call.

However, if the betting isn’t structured (like in a no limit game) and the player who is first to act after the flop throws out a single chip, the value of that single chip is considered his bet.  No declaration of bet size is necessary.  Preflop, an oversized chip put into the pot by the first player to act is considered a call if no declaration of raise has been announced.

It gets a bit trickier when more than one chip is involved, and this is a good example of why it’s important for poker players to state their intentions clearly.

If a player does not clearly state his bet and he puts more chips in the pot than is required to call, he is considered to have just called if the amount he put in the pot is less than one and a half bets.

If a player puts more than one and a half bets into the pot, his action is considered a raise.  At this point, the player may complete the raise or fold and forfeit any chips that he has already committed to the pot.

One more curve ball.  If a player doesn’t realize that there has been a raise and he only placed enough chips in the pot to call the unraised bet, the dealer should stop the action and inform the player that there has been a raise.  At this point, the player may reconsider his action if nobody has acted after him, and he can withdraw his chips from the pot.  If someone did act after him, he may call the raise or fold and relinquish the chips that he already committed to the pot.

The moral of the story is that poker players should always be aware of what the action is and state their intended action clearly and precisely.

As always, be sure that you know the specific house rules for the poker room that you are playing in, as their rules may vary from the “standard” rules used in most card rooms.

April 3, 2011 Posted by | For Beginner Poker Players, Going from Online to B&M Poker, Poker Rules | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Poker Chips in Full View and Asking for a Chip Count

Keep your poker chips in full view; players can ask for a chip count

Poker players have a right to know how exactly how much money other players have in play on the poker table and they may ask the other players or dealer to count down their chip stack for an accurate count. (This is very different than asking how much is in the pot).  In general, larger chip denominations should be stacked in front of smaller chips so players can easily see them and they aren’t hidden behind smaller chips.   When you’re playing poker online each players chip total is displayed at all times and easily visible.  Not so in Brick & Mortar casinos.

I had to make a floor call in the poker room one day that ended up in a heated argument.  Player A (I’ll call her Jill) was heads up against Player B (I’ll call him Mike).  Jill was in Seat 3 and Mike was in Seat 8 and they were playing a 1/2 100 spread limit game.

Jill couldn’t see Mike’s chip stack from her seat so she asked Mike how much he had left when she was contemplating her bet size.  Mike took his right hand and held up the three $5 chips he was holding.  Jill then said, “OK, I’ll bet $15”.  Then Mike lifted his left arm, which was resting on the table, and he had another $50 or so in chips hidden behind his arm.  He was pretty proud of himself for fooling Jill, but Jill was not amused and asked for the Floorman to make a ruling.

After hearing the details, I ruled that Jill can take back her $15 bet and adjust her bet size if she wished to do so based on the fact that Mike was not honest about how much money he had on the table and Jill had the RIGHT to know exactly how much he had.  Jill then pushed out a $100 bet which was more than Mike had on the table.  Mike was furious with me, but he wasn’t honest and I feel that I made a ruling that was fair and in the best interest of the game.

February 26, 2011 Posted by | For Beginner Poker Players, Going from Online to B&M Poker, Poker Rules, The WTF Files | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Poker Betting Lines

Poker Betting Lines:  What do they mean?

More and more poker tables these days have a “betting line” (aka: racetrack, betting circle, action line or courtesy line) drawn on them.  It’s an oval drawn on the felt maybe 8-12 inches in from the rail or outer edge of the table.  It’s important for new poker players to realize what these betting lines mean since they can mean very different things in different poker rooms.

A typical “betting line”

In some poker rooms the betting line is a definite boundary that will have concrete consequences if chips or cards cross the line.  In these rooms, if you place chips or even hold chips out in the air beyond the betting line, every chip that crosses that line is committed to the pot.  Similarly, if your cards cross that line they are considered dead and your hand is gone.  There is no room for error here.  If you accidentally toss your cards beyond the line for any reason, you cannot get them back and your hand is dead.

In other poker rooms the line is merely a “courtesy line” where chips and folded cards are to be placed beyond the line so that dealers can reach them.  The line does not kill a hand or commit chips to the pot.  For example, a player could bring out a stack of 20 chips beyond the line and cut off 5 chips to make a bet, then bring the rest of his chips back.  Obviously this is very different from the “concrete” betting line where all 20 chips would be committed to the pot.  Also, if a player mistakenly thinks that all other players have folded and he tosses his cards forward, he can get those cards back if they aren’t buried in the muck first.  Again, this is very different from the “concrete” betting line where those cards would be considered dead.

So the moral of the story here is that new poker players or even experienced players playing in an unfamiliar poker room should ask the Floor Supervisor what the betting lines mean in that room to protect himself before sitting down in a game.

What about poker rooms that have no betting line drawn on the table at all.  How do you know when a bet has been made, a hand folded, etc.?

In many of these rooms the area beyond your hole cards is considered the “betting area” and any chips that go beyond your hole cards are in the pot, just as if they were brought out past an actual “betting  line” drawn on the table.  In other poker rooms, simply a “forward motion” with chips in your hand is considered a bet and is a judgment call.  The same goes for hole cards that are discarded.  Tossing them in a forward motion toward the dealer or the muck pile may be considered a fold.

It’s important to know the specific house rules of the poker room that you are playing in.  Don’t feel intimidated about asking questions about these things when you are in an unfamiliar poker room.  A good Poker Floorman will welcome these questions and be glad to answer them.  It’s better for him and you if he educates you about their specific house rules before you sit down to play than having to render a decision later that may not go your way because you didn’t know the house rule.

February 20, 2011 Posted by | For Beginner Poker Players, Going from Online to B&M Poker, Poker Rules | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Poker Floorman Decisions Made “In the Best Interest of the Game”

Poker floor calls should be made “in the best interest of the game”

This may be hard for some poker players to swallow.  Sometimes, following the “letter of the law” rule is not the correct decision if an unfair outcome is the result.  That’s right, sometimes a good Floorman will “bend” the rules to promote what’s “in the best interest of the game” and to ensure a fair outcome.  Some poker players feel that being “fair” is nonsense and that a rule is a rule and should be enforced regardless of the circumstances.  This view itself is nonsense, especially when a player intentionally uses a rule as a weapon for his own disingenuous advantage.

There are times when common sense comes into play and, to be fair, the Poker Floorman needs to make a decision that may not completely conform exactly to a specific poker rule.  There’s usually a sign on the wall of a poker room that has something written on it like “The Floormans decision is final”.  This is one of the reasons for that sign.

Here’s a simple example (in my opinion):
It’s heads up on the river and Player A bets $100.
Player B deliberately counts out $100 in chips, holds them out at arms length as if to call and says “OK man…show me your flush.”
Player A then tables his hand, and he has a flush.
Player B then says, “I thought so.  But I didn’t call – I never released my chips into the pot”, then he withdraws his chips and folds.

So, should Player B be made to call the bet?  If I was called to the poker table my answer would be firm “YES” and here’s why.

I’ve written about “protecting your hand” and “protecting your action” and they are very important concepts for a poker player.  Player A really should have waited for Player B to release his chips into the pot to protect himself.  However, what Player B did is what we call an “angle shot” or “shooting an angle”.  He was deliberately trying to deceive Player A for his own advantage in an unethical and unfair way.  He induced Player A into showing his hand by implying that he called.   If Player B saw that he actually beat Player A, he would certainly have made the call, but he saw that he lost and claimed that he didn’t call.  It’s obvious to everyone involved that he shot and angle here.  Angle shots should not be tolerated or encouraged.

Some poker players feel that all is fair at the poker table and if a player doesn’t know the rules, that’s too bad for him.  To a certain extent this is true, but deliberately deceiving someone and manipulating the rules to your own advantage is unethical.

Sometimes deceiving your opponent is just fine – we’ve all bluffed a time or two.  But “angle shooting” and trying to get an opponent to fold or reveal his cards prematurely is despicable and should be discouraged.  The best hand should win at a legitimate showdown, or if all other players fold their hand.  In the case of the example above, I would do what is in the “best interest of the game” and insist that Player B call.

There are countless examples of “angle shooting”.  Poker players who follow the principles of protecting your hand and protecting your action will avoid most angle shots.  Protect yourself and good luck!

February 18, 2011 Posted by | For Beginner Poker Players, Going from Online to B&M Poker, Poker Rules | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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