Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The Premature Ace of Diamonds

This is just one hand from a poker session up in Vegas last week.  It has to do with a dealer error and a player going on tilt as a result.  I was, arguably at least, the beneficiary of the dealer error.

I won't mention the room this took place, although it really doesn't matter.  This error could have taken place in any poker room in the world; dealers are, after all, human and there is not a one who hasn't made a mistake, or for that matter, this particular mistake.  That's why there's a rule for handling such errors, and as far as I know, it’s the same rule in every poker room.

The game was 1/3 and it was a fairly new table, both the other player and myself had been in the game since it opened.  In the cut-off, I limped in with Ace-7 of clubs.  At least one player had limped in already, maybe two.  No one raised and four or five of us saw the flop, which was 9-8-6.  There was one club, but more importantly, there were two diamonds.

Someone bet $10, and I called with my open ended straight draw, plus the back-door flush draw.  Two other players called and there were four of us left to see the turn.  The turn card was nice for me, it was a 5.  I didn't remember the suit afterwards, but it was neither a club nor a diamond.  I had the second nuts with my straight; only 10-7 could beat me.  The big blind, who is the other key player in this hand, checked.  So did the player who bet $10 on the flop, as did the other player. I was last to act, and I wanted to chose my bet carefully, so I was thinking for a bit.

Obviously there were two diamonds on there and it was very likely at least one of the players who thought the hand was worth $10 on the flop had the diamond draw.  And of course any time you have a straight with four on the board you are very vulnerable to getting counterfeited.  I ended up deciding to bet $40, which was just a bit under the size of the pot.

After placing my chips in front of me, I looked up and saw the big blind was upset, and motioning to me.  Now I was in seat 2 and he was in seat 6.  He was an older fellow and had seemed like a pretty friendly, pretty happy guy up until that point.  But he was motioning to me and said something indicating that I had bet out of turn and it was actually his turn to act.  Huh?  Hadn't he already checked, as had the two players behind him?

I started to say something like, "You checked," when I looked at the board and noticed that there were actually three, not two, diamonds on it.  And that one of the diamonds was in fact the Ace of diamonds.  But it was the last card out there, in the fifth spot.  The five of whatever was no longer the last card on the board. Somehow the river card had been dealt while I was making my turn bet.  I did not see the dealer put out the river card, but the evidence that she had was quite obvious.


I said to the guy, "This is my turn bet." The dealer immediately realized her error.  She said, "I thought you had checked."  I didn't have to insist I had not, she knew immediately that I hadn't.  So she called the floor, while the older gent in the big blind started to stew. I don't think he said anything at this point, but he was visibly shaken.

Fortunately the floor came over right away and the dealer explained the situation.  The floor ruled, as I knew he would, that the river card, the Ace of diamonds, was coming back, coming off the board.  Now I suppose he was going to explain that, after the action on the turn was complete, if the hand was still alive, the Ace of diamonds would be returned to the remaining deck, the deck would be reshuffled, and then a new river card would be put out, which of course, could conceivably have been the Ace of diamonds again.

But he never got that far.  Once he said the Ace was coming off the board, the big blind was just livid.  He flipped over his hand and you could understand why.  It was King-4 of diamonds.  In other words, the Ace of diamonds was absolutely the perfect card for him, giving him the stone cold nuts.  It was exactly the card he was hoping for.  It was the ultimate tease for him, out there for a second and now pulled back.

Anyway, he took the King-4 of diamonds, and threw them away.  I don't mean he mucked, I mean he threw them toward the dealer.  Not hard enough to hit the dealer, they just more or less hit the muck, just hard enough to let you know how pissed he was.

The other players in the hand folded in much calmer fashion, so I was awarded the pot.  I did feel bad for the guy, but his over-the-top anger made me feel less bad for him than I might otherwise have.  After all, he still could have called me.

The guy was expressing his anger toward the dealer.  I think he was just grumbling incoherently, I didn't hear him curse out the dealer or anything like that.  Maybe he said something about how the dealer should have been more careful.  Someone said to him, "Well everyone makes mistakes, she's human."  He said something like, "Yeah….but I've been losing constantly.  I haven't won a pot in two days." 

Meanwhile a couple of the players around me were talking about it too, quietly.  I said, "He could have called, he still could have gotten a diamond on the river, possibly even the Ace.  He didn't have to fold."  Another player, "he wouldn't have called your bet," meaning if the dealer had not put the turn out prematurely, he would have folded to my big bet anyway.  Well yes, I did bet big to deny equity to flush draws, that was my intention.  But here's the thing…I think if play had occurred normally, he would have at least taken time and thought about it.  He would have processed it.  In this case, his anger caused him to react without thinking. 

Despite the bad odds I was giving him, he might have considered implied odds.  If I was betting that big with a straight, perhaps if he hit his flush he could squeeze some money out of me anyway, it's not easy to fold a straight.  Also, he might have considered the possibility that someone else had a weaker flush draw and would call him if he hit his flush.

The thing is, he was never gonna see that Ace of diamonds on the river without having to call a bet on the turn.  It was a cruel tease, but he was not going to get to see it for free.  If there had been no dealer error, he'd have to consider my bet and then make a decision.  Again, I think he might have reasonably considered calling, especially because there would have been two players behind him, either one of whom might have called giving him better odds. Of course, one of them could have raised too, but that seems unlikely.

In fact, if you think about it, since I was always going to bet the turn, that prematurely exposed Ace of diamonds gave him additional information that he shouldn't have had.  Had things happened properly, he would have to take into account that even if he hit is flush, it would only be the second nut flush, and conceivably someone could have had the Ace-high flush.

But with the exposed card, he knew that no one had the Ace of diamonds in their hand.  It was in the deck.  So if any diamond hit the river now, it was as good as the Ace of diamonds.  Because either the Ace of diamonds shows up on the river (again) or it is in the stub.  A deuce of diamonds on the river is just as good for him as the Ace.  If he had had any concern that he could make a flush and lose to a higher flush, he now knew that was impossible.  And he shouldn't have known that and you could argue that the dealer's error hurt me more than it hurt him.

But the poor guy just flew off the handle right away, and didn't take any time at all to consider the situation.  As I said, he was an older guy and seemed to be a fairly knowledgeable player.  So I assume he knew that the Ace would be put back in the deck and could come out again on the river (however unlikely that would be).  Perhaps he thought it was now out of play and that he'd have one less diamond available to him to make his flush, making calling my bet even less EV.  But honestly, it didn't seem like he had time to even think about it.  He just mucked his cards too fast.

Well, it was unfortunate for him the dealer made the error, but he sure didn't help his own cause by flying off the handle and reacting without thinking it through.  So I guess he got what he deserved.

I feel a little bad, but of course we'll never know for sure if he would have called me if the hand had played out as it should have.

In any case, I am suffering no guilt for taking that pot.

22 comments:

  1. Wow huge overreaction considering the pot was under $100 at the time. I can see someone getting a little upset if the pot was $500 plus. I guess some people are not meant to play poker. Like you said every dealer makes a mistake now and then and this is part of the game.

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    1. Thanks, CB. Yes, not a huge pot, but I understand being upset, but if he had taken a few seconds to think about it he might have realized he had extra information that he could use.

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    2. size of the pot means NOTHING. for some people $500 isnt nearly as big to them (or even $5000 pot) as $100 is to others. it all depends on how much u have in your bank account. the real issue is how stupid it is for someone to get upset that u bet out of turn. this only benefits them immensely because now they can check and raise u. opening your mouth and insisting on acting first is dumb as fuck.

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    3. Well yes Tony, it was odd that he was upset thinking I had bet out of turn, not that you mention it. But it didn't really affect anything because I hadn't bet out of turn He was pointing out that something was awry, just not in the way he initially thought.

      But yeah, if I had bet out of turn, it would have been to his advantage to check, let my bet stand, then check raise me.....except that at some point we would have all figured out that the river card had been put out too fast.

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  2. In the games I play in, NOBODY folds the nut flush draw. Nobody, even if it means calling off your stack. Just had it happen the day before yesterday.

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    1. Oh yeah I've seen plenty of players like that. I wouldn't say NOBODY folds a flush draw but if I had a nickel for everytime I've seen a player call on a draw where he was getting lousy odds, I could retire to a life of luxury.

      The irony would have been if he would have called my bet had the dealer not goofed up. He actually had a better reason to call because of the error.

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    2. If he called and one or both of the other players called his king high flush draw could have won a monster pot if either of the two players tagging along had Queen or Jack of diamonds. Hilarity would have ensued!!!

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    3. I supposed, but for sure it wouldn't have been so funny to me!

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  3. I agree with you. He had more reason to call your big bet after knowing he was drawing to the nuts. Hitting your King high flush on the river and losing your stack is a real gut punch. The other is when your set is busted by a bigger set. There are plenty of heartaches in Poker. That is just one of the reasons I love the game so much.

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    1. Indeed, Makarschuk, thanks for the comment. Yes, had a better reason to call after seeing that Ace of diamonds. He just lost it.

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  4. Hi Rob It pretty standard when a dealer makes that kind of mistake someone is gonna get a bad break and be upset. Normally a seasoned player understands dealer errors even if it affects there hand. How many times have you been dealt pocket AA and the dealer calls misdeal. It happens. Slightly different subject. We have a new dealer at our casino that wants to be to friendly with the patrons. He joins in on the conversations of the players and makes comments while he is in the box. The problem is he loses track of the stub and has many misdeals per session. I have tried to bring this to his attention but he is young. He does not understand that while he is the box he is working and not having fun with the customers. The misdeals continue to rise because he not paying attention to his job. I know everybody has to learn but this is causing me to not want to play in my local casino. Its hard for me to go to Vegas anymore. Suggestions. I have spoken to him privately but he falls back into his old ways.

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    1. Thanks, Ed, interesting story about the new dealer. He needs a talking to from the room manager if you ask me. I think if you see this again you have to talk to the shift boss on duty. Sorry I don't think there is any other way.

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  5. Dealers make the worst players. I asked one why and he said it is because they see idiots win big every day and think they can do the same. Consequently, I don't pay attention to what dealers say. As far as your situation, I think you should just move to a different table when he is dealing. He will get bored and jaded like the rest of the dealers over time. For now, everything is new and exciting. Be patient.

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    1. Well I dunno where Ed plays but in the rooms I play you can't just change tables when a new dealer pushes in. Of course he could sit out and take a break during his down but that cuts into his poker time.

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  6. Let's assume that the dealer didn't make an error and the ace of diamonds was dealt properly. You check the river? If he bets $40, do you call?

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    1. Well, assuming he called my $40 turn bet and then we were heads up, and that Ace of D's shows up on the river? Well he'd be first to act, not me. He would likely bet more than $40. If he only bet $40 it might be small enough for me to make the crying call. More than that, I would probably fold.

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  7. My argument is that you took a shot at the guy, stalling to see if the dealer would screw up the river card and seeing it you were able to make the huge bet after seeing his obvious reaction to making the nuts. We all know you would have made your typical $25 bet just to see what came on the river so you could fold the straight. But I guess you have just started playing poker and I have to accept that you need 45 seconds to decide on your action. Tell me how you did not notice the dealer burning the burn card??? (You are the most oblivious guy I know or you tell stories very unbalanced).

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    1. LOL. Very amusing piece of fiction, Dianne. Good one.

      I'm no angle shooter and your suggestion is actually too ludicrous for me to get offended over.

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  8. The comments is about to get as long as the post . Time for a new story rob.

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    1. Yeah, nice amount of comments. I guess maybe people missed me? New posts will be coming "soon."

      But I do love it when you beg me for posts!

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    2. Well I am from Borneo, and rumours had it that most of us still live on top of a tree, but we managed to get internet .
      Your post is of great entertainment value to me where gambling is illegal here.

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    3. Borneo, huh? You're not the famous "Wild Man" of said place, are you, perhaps?

      Well I have a new post up buy it may not be what you are looking for, because it is my latest Ante Up column.

      But I do have a new regular post completed, all I have to do is proof read it and then find an appropriate graphic for it, as well as a title. Should be a few days, no more.

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