Give poker dealers more power to be in charge

November 22, 2011 3:00 AM


Folks today is 11/22/11. We will not be able to use these numbers again for about 100 years!

On 11/11/11 lots of folks went to the crap table and placed their bets on 11. I do not have any reports of the results, but am sure the casinos were happy to see all those 11 bets. Today 11x2 should be twice as lucky for gamblers.

But, today the folks will have to move to the keno board or the roulette table to bet on 22 or make it their number for the powerball in the lottery.

I am over 4 x 21 or 84 years old, who loves poker and wants to continue to bring it out of the back of the pool hall and into the living rooms of the world!

I have been playing 75 years and I must tell you that a little authority is a dangerous thing – even at the poker table. We should give the dealer’s more authority to be in charge of the playing of poker.

When a rule is thought to have been broken the dealer should be in charge and give a decision! That decision should stand and the game could continue.

Unless of course a player objects before the next hand is dealt.

Then the dealer could take the problem to a higher court and call a floor person, whose decision is final. Then an instant replay as in football or an appeal is made.

The following procedures should be followed:

• Only the dealer would state the problem to the floor person.

• The player appealing should be allowed to state why he considered the dealer’s ruling to be incorrect.

• All others should keep silent unless the floor person requests the players to give more information.

• The floor person should then give the final decision so the game can move forward.

• The offended player can appeal this decision later to the card room manager or the gaming commission.

When a floor person is called to make a decision, many of the players begin to talk at the same time and demand to be heard. The floor person only hears a lot of noise!

Only Solomon with all his wisdom could hear much less understand the problem. In most cases it is very difficult to first understand the problem and second to give a correct decision.

So the squeaking wheel rule comes into play and the players who holler the loudest get the grease.

I was one of the founding directors of the original PPA (Poker Players Association) about 30 years ago and we wrote a good set of rules to outline how the game of poker should be played.

We had the same problem the present PPA has! The card rooms and the casinos would not recognize the original PPA and it therefore had no power to enforce the rules!

The same is true today. The card room has its own set of rules and it is their casino. Their rules must be followed!

The TDA (Tournament Directors Association) could do some good by suggesting methods of procedure that would be helpful to the game.

To save time the usual problems such as a card turning over during the dealing of the personal cards to the players should be given a number – say No.1.

Then when the dealers ruling is appealed to the floor person all the dealer needs to do is report that a No. 1 has occurred!

A problem that happens often is that the betting has not been completed and all the players have not had their turn to act! The dealer makes a mistake and burns the turn card before the action has been completed.

This could be known as a No. 2 and the burn and turn rule should be used. Then there is the worst rule in all of poker – the string bet rule or No. 3.

The dealer knows what has happened and whether any harm has been done to another player in the action.

The dealer should know and understand this rule or should not be a dealer!

Only the persons in the hand and of the opinion that they have been harmed should be allowed to call for the string bet rule to be enforced.

Many times the offended player wants more chips to come into the pot. Calling the rule into force is a bad thing for the offended player. Other players who are not in the action should be silent!

A little authority is a dangerous thing. The dealer could handle these situations very easy!

Here’s what happened to me.

I am playing in the $10,000 Final Event of the WSOP a few years ago. It is bubble time when only three or four more players will not be in the money if knocked out at this point.

I had a problem two days before with a decision of this tournament director, who was socializing with a couple of well known and important players at my table.

Well, I had raised a player all in and the bet was on the table. The other player was considering whether to call or not. These two well known players stood up leaning over the table and begin to discuss what cards that they had thrown away and if the player should call or not!

I did not object and won the pot, but the dealer did call the Tournament Director over and told him the problem.

The TD said to me: No harm no foul – you won the pot. That was totally wrong because I wanted a call!

I told the TD that I did not agree. Now fast forward three days when a TD cost me one of my chances to win the $10,000 final event of the WSOP!

I had made an all in bet against a friend from France and was called! The dealer burned and turned. I had turned my cards face up. I had AK and it was a good flop for me. The dealer pushed me the pot.

The TD came over to me and said. "I am going to knock you right out of your saddle! You have a 20 minute penalty away from the table."

The TD was very happy with what he thought was a cute remark to me and again begins socializing with his buddies! The blinds were very large and the table was short handed so during this 20 minutes that I could not play most of my chips were blinded off!

After five days of play and paying my $10,000 I was eliminated from the tournament on the bubble by the action of a TD who did not like me. A little authority is a dangerous thing!

If the PPA and the TDA is ever going to be respected by the players, they must first be strong enough to sanction all the poker tournaments they have anything to do with.

This means that the casino where the poker tournament is being held must agree with all (and only) the rules of the PPA, the TDA or members of those organizations will not be permitted to have any authority regarding that tournament.

The TDA who has a member who is acting as the tournament director must not be allowed to control the dealer’s tips.

OK Tip of the Week

When in Rome, you must be a Roman. When playing poker, you must agree with the rules. Remember that the only thing required for evil to exist is for good honest poker players to do nothing!

Remember until next time to Stay Lucky.