Is it time to cut the string bet rule?

Jan 11, 2005 4:43 AM

In this column I am going to try to write a little bit about one of the things that I think is wrong with poker and how the rules of poker are not always in the best interest of the game.

But first let me tell you what I think is the worst thing that has happened to the United States of America since the revolutionary war.

I think we have the best system of government that has ever been conceived by the minds of men. Sadly, sometimes it seems that we have very bad administrators of our government, but the system is the best in the world today and in the history of mankind.

At the age of seventeen I did volunteer to fight in World War II and later in the Korean War to protect and defend the USA and our democratic form of government.

Will Rogers, you may have heard of another of our Oklahoma boys who once said, "Neither man nor beast is safe when the legislature is in secession."

Will went on to say, "We have enough laws on the books to last us for quite a spell so it would just be better if they would shut up and come on home for a while."

Now, I said all of that to tell you that the worst thing that has happened in the United States since the Revolutionary War is air conditioning!

Years ago when it got hot in Washington D.C., the old boys and girls in the congress would get too hot to stay there and talk, change the laws or whatever.

So they would shut up and come home and sit under a Magnolia tree, cool off and drink a Mint Julep. But with the advent of air conditioning, they just stayed up in Washington and legislated the year round.

Think about it. Would President Clinton have been interested in Monica if his office had not been air conditioned? It would have been too hot for those carryings on!

Here in my opinion is one of the worst rules in poker: The String Bet Rule.

In over seventy years of playing poker, I have never seen this rule help the game of poker. I have only seen it hurt the game and it always hurts the novice or unskilled poker player and causes arguments delays and confusion.

Sure, I understand the defense of the rule — that the poker player is trying to get a read on his opponent and pick up a tell as to how much he should bet.

But this is a carload of nonsense. Only the novice gets called on this rule — he cuts his chips to make the raise, everyone knows he is going to raise, and he is not studying the other players. Most of the time he just picks up half of his chips and then reaches back to get the other chips to make the raise. The dealer knows he is trying to raise, the players know that he is going to raise, only the novice does not know the rule.

If you watch poker on television, you will see how the expert players get their reads — tells or information — they will study, select their bets, arrange their chips, count their chips and the opponents chips, then they will say raise and put the chips in.

Or they will drop the chips a few at a time because they are permitted to put in a few or a lot of the chips to try to get all the information they can from their opponent.

Years ago Billie O (now playing in the big game upstairs), who was the card room manager of many card rooms, drew a line on the table in front of all the players.

All the chips that the player had in his hand when he crossed that line had to be his bet.

Let’s fix the string bet rule to read: when the player is betting in continuous action, if the next player to act has not thrown his hand away that the novice may complete his bet. (Or warn him once and explain the rule to him, but let him complete the bet the first time he makes two moves to his chips.) Add that the string bet may only be called by the next player to act.

Oklahoma Johnny poker tip of the week

When you are playing poker in Rome, you must be a Roman.

When you are playing poker in a poker room anywhere you must learn the rules of the poker room that you are playing in.

Then when you know all the rules, they cannot call a string bet rule on you!

Until next time remember to stay lucky.