The Good, Bad and Absurd

I have written some stories where I have given examples of terrible floor rulings that have for the most part put me on tilt. With an eye on humor I will cover some other rulings that stand out for various reasons.

The first classic ruling I remember is a case of being slow rolled from the floor. Proving to the world a hand is never dead until the floor man says it is dead. The hand came down with three way action with the flush hitting on the river to beat my set. Because I was not a very good player I paid the hand off knowing I was beat only to be overcalled by the third player. As expected the young man who bet the river turned over his hand quite exuberantly proclaiming nut flush and throwing it over with some gusto. The hand is skittering across the felt toward the middle of the table and the board from the eight seat. The hand is definitely not going toward the muck but could do some damage to the neatly arranged board. At the same exact moment the third player in the six seat mucks his hand face down with some serious speed on it. While it was a finger flick it was a fast one and the dealer was going to need to play goalie to keep it on the table. Well this is where things get interesting; the face down cards catch one of the face up cards and carry it off the table. So the player with the nut flush now only has a six of hearts and his ace is on the floor with two other cards. While I knew it was an ace I was not sure it was identified by the dealer. The dealer called for the floor and I turned my hand face up hoping to get the pot. The floor ruled the hand recoverable and I lost the pot.

A real mind bender of a hand came down and the floor man had to make a number of rulings in the same hand. A brand new set up was put on the game and the cards were broken out of the cellophane right in front of me. Five hands later the following happened on the river. A player playing 57s made a straight and had what appeared to be the winning hand and when spreading it for all to see the five of spades had the six of spades stuck to it. The player revealed the five, six and seven of spades. The opponent turned his hand over looking for the pot claiming the player had too many cards and an illegal hand. The innocent and yet guilty party claimed no knowledge of the stuck together cards. The hand was killed and before the pot could be pushed to the remaining player a third party with money in the pot asked that the deck be counted down. Of course the deck was fouled and contained (2) six of spades. Chaos ensued and the floor man made a ruling the deck was bad and all money was to be returned. A shrewd gentleman at the table asked if the player with three cards was entitled to money back from the pot. The floor man did not know the ruling or the concept. After explaining that players who have too many cards are not entitled to recover bets they put into the pot to prevent them from trying to work and angle. Once the floor figured out he was not returning money to the player with too many cards he had no idea how to split the pot up. The dealer was really no help. At this point things went from ridiculous to absurd when the floor man seized the entire pot and held onto it until the gaming commission could make a ruling. To make the story a real gem there was no tape of the hand and no written statements were recorded of the hand. The money was divided evenly among the players seated in the game; a real injustice for those who had played the hand and a windfall for those that mucked pre-flop. Yes the player with three cards got a share of the money. No less than four rulings in one hand and in the end everyone at the table was wronged.

The next is a classic hand where the turn card was the jack of spades and so was the river card. The floor man arrived at the table to announce that, “The second jack of spades is going to have to come back”. He treated the card like a premature burn and turn even having it shuffled back in before the new river card was put up. I took a walk to keep the top of my head from blowing off. On the positive side they did pull the deck off the table after the hand.

This takes me to another half-dozen hands that put me on tilt. A young and quite talented dealer was in the box when he lost a card from his game. He counted the stub on his first hand and all 52 cards were accounted for. On his sixth hand a long pause at the river lead to him counting the stub down again. I could tell from his reaction something was wrong. He intently surveyed the felt and tried to act normal. The next hand he counted the stub again and had the same reaction. The third time I counted the stub with him and we were short a card. He continued to deal the rest of his down and when he left the table he put the other deck on the game. I was expecting a fresh set up and of course it never came. After a half hour on the brown deck a new dealer came in and the green deck was about to go on the table again. I went crazy. I just lost it. I called for a floor man and explained that we needed a new set up. I could not get the floor to run the cards up. I asked them to just count the deck we are short a card. He graciously asked that the brown deck be put back on the game. Still he did not take the green deck off the table. In total desperation I decided to leave the table and as I got up from the table I noticed an ace under the table; an ace from the green deck.

All of these issues go to the fundamental core of the game and the dealers and floor men need to remember that the game must be a fair game dealt from a standard deck of cards that were randomly shuffled. Anything less is simply unacceptable.


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