Get It Quietly

Football, bollocks and a bit of poker if you're lucky.

Location: Enfield, London, United Kingdom

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Cards Speak - Or Do They ?

Apparently there was an incident in a recent televised poker tournament where a player walked off without realising he had the winning hand, and the chips went instead to the player with the losing hand, Marty Wilson.

Now I didn't see the programme (God knows I have better things to do than watch yet more televised poker) so it's hard to comment directly. It does sound to me like someone should have stepped in and sorted it out. I mean what does the "Tournament Director" actually do if he can't sort this out ? Is his job description just to stand there and look dignified ?

It's not for me to comment on Marty either - what he did is between him and his conscience.

I have been in three vaguely similar situations so I thought I would relate what happened. Quite a few years ago, when I hadn't been playing Hold-Em very long, I mis-read my hand and just couldn't see that I had won. My opponent, Gary Bush, said "No, you've got the winning hand" and actually pushed the pot to me. Since then I have always given Gary the benefit of the doubt when he has occasionally been criticised on-line over ethics, preferring to make my judgement on what I've seen with my own eyes.

On another occasion in Russell Square, in a round of each comp, we were in the final about 7-handed (4 or 5 paid), all the hands went on their backs in an Omaha pot and just as the pot was being pushed in the wrong direction I pointed out, without even thinking about it, that someone else (Pedro if I remember correctly) had a straight which won. I was then given considerable grief by a player who wasn't in the pot, on the grounds that Pedro was all in and would have been knocked out if I had kept quiet. This was well out of order, although I did come to know the player better after that, and am prepared to accept that it was out of character given that he was very drunk at the time.

And earlier this year in the US, I tried to throw away the winning hand, salvaging it just in time when I realised it was good. My opponent tried to claim it was dead, but it hadn't touched the muck, so I got away with it.

The moral ? I'm not sure. Maybe just do as you would be done by. There is such a thing as karma, and I interpret it to mean that you can angle-shoot or con or even cheat someone out of a few quid, but the cost in terms of guilt and loss of self-respect is worth a lot more than the money. Have a think about that before you choose your path, in poker and life.


Blogger Felicia :) said...

I read this, and wasn't sure what to think either, so I just stayed silent. I don't know enough about European play to comment.

I agree with you 100% though, it is our moral responsibility to point out mistakes which cost the winning player the hand, even to the detriment of our own stack.

I remember one time my mom went all-in with four aces in Stud. Her opponent was inexperienced and said, "Wow! I only have a flush." My mom said, "No, you have a straight flush" and everyone was incredulous that she pointed it out. The dealer and the whole table was going to let it go, since she dealt at that cardroom. She was the only player with high enough ethics to point out the winning hand.

5:51 PM  

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