Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Why the TDA Should Adopt My New Rule Proposal

This is the second and final part of the post from last time (here) regarding my experience with the MGM Invitational.  You should read the previous part to have a clue about what I’m going to be talking about.

Going into this tournament, I fully expected to recognize at least 2/3’s of the players in it, if not more.  I mean, they’d all be MGM regs, right?  How could I not know them?  But to my surprise, there were probably 10 people—or less—that I totally a recognized and a few more that kinda/sorta looked familiar. 

One of the regs I recognized was a lady I’m going to call “Jan.”  Jan and her husband are a, um, middle-aged couple who have homes in Vegas and also somewhere in the Midwest.  They are in Vegas often enough so that I almost always see them every visit. Whenever they’re in Vegas, they apparently spend all of the evenings in the MGM poker room. They really, really like poker. When I arrived, they were both playing in a cash game at that ungodly hour, waiting for the freeroll to start.

Jan is not a particularly aggressive player, a calling station perhaps, and somewhat of a luckbox. You know those promos I’m always talking about—the cash drawing tickets?  If she’s in the room, I can pretty much be certain she will be called for at least one of them.  I think it on my last night in town her ticket was pulled twice in a row.

Another reg was DDB, the boyfriend of the Didi (see here). He came to the table as an alternate, not long before registration closed.  Didi and her big ones were nowhere to be seen, btw.  However, as soon as he took his seat, the dealer asked him, “Are you still seeing your crazy girlfriend?” and he said that indeed he was. One of his first hands, he three-bet/shoved his pocket Queens into someone’s pocket Kings. The first four cards were all meaningless and he stood up to leave, as he had the shorter stack. Of course, the river card was a Queen and he had a double up.

I wanted to be aggressive.  I had heard that most freerolls are chopped at some point, but I didn’t expect to happen right at the point where we all cashed. I figured a min-cash ($75) was almost not worth showing up for, I wanted a big stack to get as close to that $2K first place prize as possible.  But if we got down to a few players and were able to negotiate a chop, that was fine with me too.  Since it was a freeroll I was fine with getting it all in when I thought I had an edge and taking my chances. I rarely limped in.  I called some raises, but mostly when I entered a pot preflop, it was with a raise.

As it was, I was ready to take chances to build my stack.  Unfortunately, to some degree the other players and of course the cards have to cooperate somewhat.  And mostly, they didn’t.

The very first hand (starting blinds 25/50), I called a raise to $225 with pocket 3’s and missed.  Same level, I called a raise to $125 with Ace-Queen. I called his c-bet of $150 on the flop thinking he might have missed.  There was no more betting.  I thought Ace-high might have been good, but he showed Ace-3 and the three gave him bottom pair on the flop. 

In early position, I raised to $125 with 8-7 spades, two callers.  Flop was 9-7-x, two clubs, I bet $200, one caller.  Eight on the turn gave me two pair. I bet $500, no call.  My first pot.

I called a raise with pocket deuces and even called a c-bet on the flop, but when he kept betting I had to let it go.

Second level (50/100), I started with $4,400 in chips.  I called a raise to $300 with King-Queen of clubs.  Three of us saw a King-high flop and the raiser checked.  I bet $600 and no one called. The next hand I raised to $250 with Ace-9 of clubs, no one called.  I raised to $250 with Ace-Queen off, no call.  I raised with Ace-7 off, no call. 

Back to my starting stack of $5K at level 3 (100/200), the last level before antes.   I raised to $525 with pocket 8’s, no call. Later, same level, first in. I raised to $525 with with Jack-3 offsuit (what, that’s not a raising hand?).  But someone behind me shoved and I had to fold.

I had around $4K at the start of level 4.  With the blinds 25/200/400 that’s pretty close to be desperate (and it was only 36 minutes into the tournament!). A guy in front of me, similar stack to mine, raised to $1K and I looked down at the dreaded pocket Kings. In this situation, I was quite happy to see them.  I shoved and my opponent snap-called.  He flipped over pocket 9’s.  He didn’t suck out on me and I had a much-needed double-up (I ended up having $300 more than he did so he was gone). 

First in, I raised with pocket deuces (monster hand) and no one called.  That took me to level 5 (50/300/600) with $9,200 in chips.  I raised first in with Ace-10 diamonds, no call.  Last hand of that level, I raised to $2,000 with Ace-7 off on the button (first in).  But the big blind shoved for only $1,375 more, so I had to call.  He had Ace-Queen. I didn’t get lucky.

After the break, we were at 100/400/800.  I stopped making note of chip counts or raise sizes because from here on out, I was pretty much always in shove or fold mode.  This next key hand came when we were very close to the bubble, I think it was right before OTD erroneously announced we were down to 32 players (paying 30).  So first in, I risked my $75 payout by shoving with pocket 5’s.  I was called by two players, one a short stack with Ace-Queen, and one a bigger stack with King-Queen.  The only face card on the board at the end of the hand was a Jack and I had gotten almost a triple up. 

But even with that, the blinds were increasing so rapidly that it didn’t really take me out of shove or fold mode. Seriously. Then there was the confusion about the bubble that I described in the last post.  At that point, when we thought we were down to 30, but were really down to 31, this old guy at my table said that the OTD was going to come around and ask us if we all wanted to chop.  “Thirty-ways?” I asked  Yes he said that’s what’s happened before. “If we chop now, we all get $333.  Not bad.”  Even with the hand I had just won, I was still short stacked and didn’t have a lot of confidence that, in this crap-shoot, I’d be able to get past the $75 payout level.  Over $300 sounded pretty good to me.

What I found odd was the guy was saying that they would ask us if we wanted to chop without any of the players bringing it up.  Really?  I don’t think the house is supposed to do that.  I’ve never seen it.  Of course, this was a freeroll, so maybe it’s possible.  Certainly the house had an interest in closing down the tournament as soon as possible.

But OTD did no such thing.  Of course, she was so busy with the confusion I previously described; she couldn’t have even if she wanted to.  Then, once we were actually down to 30, players who busted out—and it seemed to happen every other minute—had to be taken to the table where the shift supervisor was paying them.  She still had her hands full. 

But as she wandered close to me, I decided to ask her.  “Is there going to be a proposal to chop?  This gentleman here says you would suggest it automatically.”  Well, she said that wasn’t the case, as I suspected, a player had to propose it.  But someone overheard my question and shouted, “Shall we do a chop?” and suddenly there was a proposal on the table.

So she stopped the clock and told all the players that a proposal for a 30-way (or maybe 29, 28 by now) chop had been made.  Now, I’ve never seen this before, but they didn’t go around the tables and ask if each player was ok with the chop.  No, they did it by secret ballot.  The dealers at each of the three tables gave everyone a red card and a black card (didn’t matter the rank). We were all going to turn either a black card or a red card. A black card meant we approved the chop, and a red card meant no chop.  If they got even one red card, we’d play on.  But before we even had a chance to turn in our cards at our table, someone from another table had already either turned in a red card or had just verbally stated that he wasn’t going to chop.

We played on.  Now, at this point, the old guy who said they usually chop at 30 had totally changed his tuned and said, “Well, they do a chop when they get to 20 or so.”  Huh?  Make up your mind, sir.

I wasn’t sure whether to believe this joker or not, but I felt I was now incentivized to try and hold on a little longer.  If that was true, chopping at 20 might get me a considerable bit more money.  And if I could hang on past the first five to bust, I’d go up to the next level, $100.  And by this time, a few had already busted and had gotten the $75 min-cash.

So between that and the fact that I didn’t get any playable cards, I just didn’t play any hands for awhile.  This time, if I had gotten Jack-3 (and honestly, I don’t think I got a hand that good), I would have mucked, not raised or shoved with it.

And then…..I looked down at Ace-King of diamonds and of course I shoved (I had around $3K but I don’t recall the blind levels, but it was a very short stack).  The big blind, who had the biggest stack at the table, called and flipped over 9-5 of diamonds (obviously my shove wasn’t much more than the big blind).  He missed and I doubled up.

This gave me enough to survive until they broke our table.  Now down to 20, I would take home at least $150.  And as I moved to my new table, I asked if that chop had been vetoed for all time or if it was possible that it could be considered again.  OTD said that she was pretty sure that at least one person had no interest in any kind of chop, so I didn’t pursue it.

The new table was 9-handed to start and then a player busted.  So they moved a player from the other table, which had been 10-handed.  It was Jan.  Now, at my previous table, Jan was there and had a hand which demonstrated her luckbox abilities.  She shoved with pocket 10’s and had two callers.  One had pocket 9’s and the other had Ace-King or Ace-Queen.  She had the shortest stack so would have busted (this was just before the bubble).  An Ace hit the flop so she was on life-support.  Of course, a 10 hit the turn and she tripled up.

I was down to less than $4K in chips and I think the big blind was $2K.  So I was short. The last time I had been the blinds, I had had two incredibly bad hands and it had been shoved in front of me.  I could have called I suppose, but I knew I had enough chips to survive one more orbit and honestly, players were busting so fast I felt if I could survive that one orbit I might at least make it up a bit higher on the pay scale to $200—I just needed two or three more players at the most to bust first. Or, even better, maybe I’d get a hand to play.

Now there I was, two away from the big blind.  I knew that this time, I was all-in on the big blind no matter how bad the hand was.  I had gotten nothing to play and now I looked down at King-Queen of spaces. Under-the-gun folded.  Pretty easy decision to shove, so I did.  It folded to Jan, now sitting on a (relatively) big stack.  And she called (she may have shoved, I’m not sure, but no one behind her called so it didn’t matter).

As soon as I saw it was Jan calling, I knew this was going to be my last hand. I knew I couldn’t beat her.  I even said aloud, “Oh, I’m dead.”  Someone asked me why.  “Because it’s her.  I can’t beat her.”  I didn’t explain why.

She flipped over pocket Jacks, so I had two overcards.  That was as good as I could have hope for.

I liked the flop.  No spades but Q-10-8 put me ahead.  The turn was another Queen.  Jan acted resigned to losing the hand.  The amount of chips she was going to lose was actually fairly insignificant considering her stack, although obviously it doesn’t take long for a big stack to become short with this structure.

And then, right before the dealer put the river card out, the player next to me, seeing Jan acting resigned to losing the pot said, “Nine.” He was calling for a card, the 9.  Of course, a 9 would give her the straight.  A Jack would give her a boat.  Any other card in the deck and I’ve got my double up.

I don’t know how many times I’ve seen it in a tournament situation.  I’m sure you all have.  Someone not in the hand suddenly opens his (it’s always a guy) big fat mouth and calls for a card that will be a suckout for the player that’s behind.  And then that card magically appears.  You’ve all seen it, right?

And that’s exactly what happened this time.  This putz next to me said “Nine!” right before the dealer turned over the river card and there it is….a friggin’ 9 on the river, giving Jan the straight.  My trip Queens were worthless. 

I just wanted to strangle the guy next to me.  Honest, I did. Logically, I know there is no way anything he said could have changed that card, could have made the dealer put the 9 out there.  It was going to be a 9.  It was always going to be a 9.  It was a certainty as soon as the dealer had cut the deck that the river card was going to be a 9.  I know that.

But still, in that moment, as I saw the 9 on the board and the dealer pushing Jan the pot, I knew, deep down, that this loudmouth had caused the 9 to be dealt on the river by calling for it before the dealer put it on the river.

And yes, I was genuinely pissed.  Not so much at the cards.  And certainly not at Jan.  She had played her hand correctly. She was gracious in victory.  No, she didn’t say “I’m sorry,” which she certainly wouldn’t have meant.  But she shrugged in a sympathetic manner. I said “nice hand,” and honest, I didn’t mean it like “f-you,” which is what it usually means.

At least to Jan.  But to the guy next to me, who called for the 9, I definitely meant f-you.  I meant it a very big way.

Maybe this doesn’t make any sense, but somehow, I wouldn’t have been as mad if he had said “9” and a Jack had come.  Or he had said “Jack” instead and that “9” had come.  No, it was because it was the exact card that he was calling for—that was what really pissed me off. He called for a card and there it was.

I went over to get my money and honestly, I had never been so pissed in my life being given $150.  Never.  I was really, really mad. 

I’m not sure why it bothered me so much.  I think it may have been partially due to lack of sleep.  Remember, I was functioning on less than four hours.

There was just something about it.  I wanted to scream at the guy, “Why don’t you shut the f up, you asshole?  You’re not in the hand, mind your own damn business.”  Sure, he wants players to bust out so he climbs higher on the payout scale, I get that.  But can’t he keep his big mouth shut when he’s not in the damn hand and just let the hand play out?  Note: If it had been Jan calling for a 9 and getting it, I wouldn’t have been upset at all.  I have no problem with a player calling for a card they need to win a pot.  Of course, that almost never works.

But no, Jan was politely watching the hand play out, saying nothing, ready to watch me double up, and loud-mouth next to me has to call for one of the two cards that can beat me, and then, that very card hits and beats me.


It was as I was taking my chips to the cashier’s window that I formulated my new proposed TDA rule.  I was originally going to tweet it out, but it’s too long for a tweet.  So I added it to the beginning of the post I was about upload on the blog (here).  It was sort of a non-sequitor, but I had to get it off my chest.  If you don’t want to click that link, I’ll reprint my proposed rule for you:

A player not in the hand may not verbally predict, request, or suggest a card to come when there is an all-in situation.  A player involved who needs a card can of course request a card, that's fine. But a player not in the hand needs to mind his/her own f-ing business and keep his or her big freaking mouth shut or face severe penalities.

If the card the non-participating player suggests hits, the player who uttered that card should be assessed the following penalty:

He/She is immediately eliminated from the tournament, and all his or her chips shall be turned over to the player who just got sucked out on, which only happened because this asshole uttered the deadly card that hit.

In addition, he/she should be banned from all poker rooms on Earth on the spot.  Further, if he/she has a hot wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, or significant other, the person on the receiving of the suckout may have his/her way with him/her after the tournament, or if not the preferred gender, may offer him/her for sale to the highest bidder.

I assure you, when I first came up with it, the punishment was a lot more severe.  And bloody.

(Note: the picture below helps illustrate the wisdom of my suggestion.  Suppose this is a picture of the loudmouth’s girlfriend. If my proposed TDA rule had been in effect, I would not only have gotten his chips, but I would have had a playdate with the woman below.  See how great this rule is?)

Anyway, I took my chips over to the cashier window, where Angela, one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met in a poker room, was working.  Angela has known me since I started playing at MGM (and was first mentioned in the post here).  As I put my chips down, without giving her any context, I started babbling on, “Why did that guy call for a 9 when I was all in against Jan and ahead?  Why did he have to open his big fat mouth and call for the card that could beat me?  He wasn’t even in the damn hand.  You know it was only because he called for a 9 that it came.  If he hadn’t said anything, the river card would have been a King and given me a full house.  You know it.  You just know it.”

Now, I’m guessing that Angela has heard something like that before.  Multiple times.  But she never heard me say anything like that. Nothing even close.  And I’m sure I surprised her.  She just laughed and showed sympathy.  “You’re right, that was it.”  “Of course I am,” I replied.

I took my money and headed to my car.  I guess I should be lucky Angela knows me, or she might have called for someone to take me to the nearest looney bin.  But then, she’s used to being around poker players, so maybe not. 

I was cursing and muttering to myself all the way back to my room.  It was the worst $150 I’d ever won in my life.

And btw, I later learned that when they got down to 7, they did indeed chop (I think it was a chip chop, not sure), so the holdout finally relented (or maybe busted).

And that was my first (and last?) experience with the MGM Invitational.  Now, I’m going to go email the TDA and formally suggest my new rule.  Do I have your support?


  1. great pic/post. 30 person chop??? WTF. y even shuffle up and deal

    1. Thanks, anger.

      Now, as for the 30 way chop, well...Last year CET properties were running a property-wide freeroll. When it got down to 20 players, the tournament ended and every got paid the same amount (I think $500 but not sure). So this would be similar to that. I think most freerolls chop long before regular tournaments do.

      But again, as I indicated in the post....there was so little time to play actual poker, it would have been almost as fair to just have us pick prizes out of a drum as to actually play, so it isn't as crazy as it sounds.

    2. well 4 future reference ,if we ever play in a freeroll. i aint chopping nothing.

    3. OK....but you will be hated for it.

      The looks and comments you would get would make a good blog post.

  2. I would certainly hate the 9 guy too. I wasn't sure about the rule you proposed until I saw the picture of 9's girlfriend. I now understand your reasoning and agree that the rule should be adopted as written.

    The only thing I hate more than the situation you described is when the winner of a hand is stacking his chips and he is rude to the loser. This could be a variety of things - openly asking about or speculating what hand the loser had, criticizing how the loser played the hand, complaining about not winning more chips, or anything else other than shutting up and enjoying the victory while allowing the loser to sulk in misery. Have I been the victim of this recently? Maybe.

    1. Thanks, Dave. You understand, I was just speculating on what the guy's girlfriend looks like. It's much more likely he doesn't have a girlfriend--and that even his cat hates him. Seriously, the odds of a guy who's playing a $10K freeroll having a girlfriend that looks like that are one in a gazillion.

      I agree with all your little gripes. In fact, my blog is littered with stories like that. Here's a link to one of my more recent stories about a really bad winner, one of my favorites, if you haven't already read it:


  3. Brits in the pic's. Nice. Win for the empire.

    1. Indeed, much needed since you may be about to lose your only recent Wimbledon champ. :)

      The incomparable Lucy Pinder....one of a kind. Or I guess, two of a kind.

  4. I'm very laid back but that player calling for a 9 would bother me too. I don't know if he thought it was funny, or if he thought he could increase the chances of a 9 coming, but either way I'd be upset.

    1. Thanks, Anony....He may have just figured that was a card that could still beat me and just blurted it out. But he's still a jerk.

  5. u better hope no one shows Jan ur blog, as much as u bad mouthed her play and implied she is the table fish. "calling station, not aggressive, etc".

    all tourneys should be double or nothing sng format. id be quite rich if they were, and we would never worry about chops then, or arguements about chops.

    1. I don't think I implied she was a fish at all. She usually has more chips than most of the others at the table. Her less aggressive style works for her

    2. A friend of mine once spend a weekend with her and Michelle Marsh (and others - more the pity for him). Not all it was cracked up to be. I'll leave that there.

    3. oops, looks like your comment ended up under the wrong comment,I assume this is in reference to Lucy Pinder.

      Anyway, interesting TEAZE.....you should probably do a blog post about that get together! :)

  6. this is a record for ur longest blog post ever, and dont u remember MY blog post about Laughlin in which i talked about how they too did the chop or not chop using the secret ballot one card method?

    1. I admit, I totally misjudged how long this post was going to be. I really thought it was going to be shorter than part one.

      However it was by no means my longest post, many have been longer. Here's a link to my longest post:


      You're right, obviously I didn't recall you talking about the red/blue card thing. Sorry.

    2. We have the same problem at our local tournaments. There is a lady who I hate to play with. I will call M. Everyone knows if you are not in a hand you should not comment on the Board. Any way when she is out of a pot and she sees all of one suit say spades she always comments looks like a flush is out there. Everyone tells her to shut the F up. M's favorite comment is " I know that sorry" then two hands later if the board pairs out comes look out for the boat. The reason they will not kick her out is because everyone we play with is senior citizens and she plays bad so everyone puts up with this shit. That is why poker is so frustrating. Not only do your hands have to hold up but you have to put up with a lot of jerks.

    3. Yeah, Ed, it's frustrating. Sounds like your lady could actually affection the action, which sucks. My jerk just had the mysterious power of changing the river card. :)