This incident occurred last month in Vegas. It was one of those strange things that you see every now and then (or, at least I do), in a brick and mortar poker room.
One thing for sure, something like this couldn’t happen playing online. And that might be just one more good reason to play online. If you’re thinking about playing online, be sure to check out pokerwebsites.com to find your state law.
Anyway, I was playing my usual 1/2 game and my buddy Brent pushed in to deal. I had been there awhile, in seat 1, right next to the dealer. A new player had taken a seat across from Brent in seat 5, he had only been there for a hand or two before Brent arrived and had barely played a hand yet.
On this particular hand, he was the small blind and he had $200 behind, pretty much what he had bought in for not long before. The guy in seat 7 had $4 in front of him for the UTG straddle. He had regularly straddled in that position since I’d been there.
One or two players called the $4 (not me; I folded my garbage hand). Seat 5 put in another $3 to call. I don’t recall if the big blind called or not, but then the straddler put out $12 more to raise, which of course, is his right as the straddler.
I believe the other limpers folded and then Brent told Seat 5 the action was back on him.
Seat 5 was not happy. “That was a raise to $4, not a straddle. He can’t do that.”
Brent informed him that no, it was indeed a straddle, not a raise.. Seat 5 said, “Well, the straddle wasn’t announced.”
Now, I can’t say for sure that Brent had announced the straddle. I assume he did; he’s very good about that. However, he is human and he could have forgotten to. He didn’t even argue with the guy.
“Do you want me to get the floor? I’ll get the floor.”
Seat 5 said yes, he’d like to get the floor.
The floor came over, and Brent told the floor what the issue was and said, “I don’t think I announced the straddle.”
Seat 5 chimed in, “It wasn’t announced, so it wasn’t a straddle.”
The floor asked Brent if the straddler’s $4 was out before the cards were dealt, and Brent assured him that it was. The floor told seat 5, “The bet was out before the cards were dealt, so it’s a straddle.”
Seat 5 complained. “But it wasn’t announced.”
The floor responded, “It’s a visual game. You have to pay attention.”
Seat 5 was really upset. “It’s a visual game?” He said this with incredulity, and with a slight laugh. But it wasn’t a laugh indicating he was amused, it was a rather nasty laugh. “A visual game huh? Well you have a good night.” And with that, he folded his cards, picked up the rest of chips, and left the table.
Brent was a bit perturbed, to say the least. As soon as the floor had left and the disgruntled player was gone, Brent went off. “You see that? You see that guy? What happened with that guy is the trouble with the world today. Right there, that’s the problem. No one takes responsibility. It’s always somebody else’s fault. Nobody ever takes responsibility. It’s always somebody else’s fault.” He probably repeated that a few more times, as upset as he was. Then he added, “He’s supposed to watch the game.” Now, he was probably just talking to me, but the whole table heard him.
So I said to Brent, “You know what? If I see that $4 out in front of the UTG player, and I don’t know for sure, I’ll ask if it’s a straddle or a raise to $4 even if I have no intention of calling. I want that information—I want to know if the player was straddling or is stupid enough to raise to $4.” Brent nodded and forced a little laugh at my joke.
A few hands later, the guy directly to my right straddled. Brent of course announced it, and so I asked, in my sarcastic sounding voice, “Is that a straddle?”
“Yes, it’s a live straddle. A live four-dollar straddle. Live straddle!” I’m pretty sure Brent said this loud enough for them to hear it at The Bike. We had both made our points, but I decided to take it one more step. Again, with my voice dripping with sarcasm, I said, “So that means, when the action gets back to him, he still has an option, right?” Brent returned the sarcasm, “Yes, that’s right, he has an option.” By now he was laughing. I think my sarcasm had eased the tension.
The inattentive player never returned; I never saw him again. He either learned a valuable lesson (that cost him a whole three bucks), or he found a poker room where players aren’t responsible for their own inability to pay attention.
But remember….poker is a visual game.