You put your red chips in.
You put your red chips out.
You put your red chips in,
And you shake them all about.
You do the Hokey Poker-y and you change your bet around.
That's called an angle shot!
This weekend I played a 1/3 NLHE cash game session at the Horseshoe in Council Bluffs. After seven or eight years of playing live poker, I thought I had seen just about every possible poker rules issue. I was wrong. There truly is something new under the sun.
To provide the appropriate context, the Horseshoe has two rules which factor into this situation. First, the 'Shoe uses a betting line, with any money put in the pot while action is pending being required to stay in the pot, even if the player made a mistake (e.g., player puts out a call, not seeing a raise; the call money must stay in the pot if the player folds). Unlike some poker rooms, however, the 'Shoe does not enforce any rule about chips crossing the line in the air; it's only chips in the pot that must stay in the pot. Second, there is this ridiculous house rule:
On called all-in bets, once all action is complete, all live hands must be tabled. If the all-in action occurs prior to the river, all live hands must be tabled before the remaining board cards are dealt.
During the hand in question, there was a multi-way pot with a small preflop raise. On the flop (J-9-7 with two to a flush), Yahoo #1 bet, Yahoo #2 raised, and Yahoo #1 was the only caller. Now the Two Yahoos were two younger guys who had been jousting with each other and a couple of the other young guys at the table in fairly typical aggressive internet hoodie style. The Two Yahoos clearly had some history and seemed to be gunning for each other. Also, an important factor in the events was that the two Yahoos were across the table from each other, occupying Seats 3 and 8.
The drama occurred on the turn. The turn card was a Jack, giving the board two Yaks to go with a variety of straight and flush draws. Yahoo #1 checked. Yahoo #2 thought, then grabbed roughly half a stack of red chips and crossed the betting line, started to cut off three red chips as if to bet $45-$60 (three or four stacks of $15 each), then stopped, took back his chips to his stack, and then pushed his entire stack of roughly $175 across the line while saying, "All-in" (he actually cut three chips, then picked up all his chips, put them on top of his stack, and pushed all of his chips into the pot). Yahoo #1 immediately says, "Call" and triumphantly stands up and slaps down Ace-Jack. The dealer was still looking at Yahoo #2's bet and says, "I can't let you make that bet." Yahoo #2 pulls back his stack, and the dealer reaches out and grabs $45 in red chips from Yahoo #2's stack and says, "I'm going to hold you to this amount as your bet." Honestly, I think Yahoo #1 acted so quickly in calling, while the dealer was focused on Yahoo #2's strange action, that the dealer was oblivious to Yahoo #1's "call". In any event, Yahoo #2 looked at Yahoo #1's hand, laughed, and mucked, taking back his remaining stack.
So, this is a fine kettle of fish. Yahoo #2's action seems to be a pretty clear string bet. But, it seems possible that he was angle-shooting, using the betting line rules to gain an advantage. On the other hand, although Yahoo #2 said "all-in" and pushed his stack across the table, Yahoo #1 did act a bit precipitously in tabling his hand, even though it was required by house rule, prior to the dealer indicating action was on him or clarifying whether the all-in was a legal bet. On the third hand, the dealer was slow to issue a ruling on a string bet and correct Yahoo #2's action prior to Yahoo #1's "call".
So, dear readers, what do you think?
- Should Yahoo #2's "all-in" stand?
- Should the dealer have handled things differently?
- Is Yahoo #1 at fault for tabling his cards?
- How should a floor rule if he is called to the table by Yahoo #1?