Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Cash Game madness

We had a cash game yesterday that ran from 2:00PM to 11:40PM and for the life of me, I can only remember two hands from the whole thing. First, some background on how the day went:

Outstanding, of course! Duh! What else can you say to describe an entire Sunday of poker, with bagels and lox and football on the telly? Now, back to the action...

Dustin suffered THE bad beat when he put Paul all in with a board of AT33, with only the river to come. Dustin turned over AA at the showdown and Paul had J3 after limping in and catching his third 3. Dustin was practically raking the pot into his chip stack when the river came down....a 3! Paul caught his ONE-OUTER to beat Dustin's monster Aces full. A small conversation ensued as to whether this would qualify in a casino for a "bad beat" jackpot. It wouldn't. For the clarification of everyone reading this, I will explain what a "bad beat" jackpot is:

In many casinos and cardrooms (but not all of them), an extra dollar rake is taken out of every cash pot for a "bad beat" jackpot. Because of the difficulty of qualifying for this prize, the jackpot's tend to grow very large. At the Seminole Casino, in Hollywood, FL, I saw the jackpot at $160,000 once. The jackpot is awarded when the following situation occurs at a raked cash game (not in tournament play); a Full house of Aces full of Jacks, or better, beaten by a four of a kind or better. In both hands (the winning and losing hands), both players must use BOTH of their hole cards to make their hands. For instance, if Player 1 has AA and Player 2 has JJ and the flop comes down as AJJ, then a bad beat has occurred. Player 1's Aces full of Jacks lose to Player 2's quad Jack's. Another example, Player 1 has 4c5c and Player 2 has KcKs. The board turns up as 6c7c8cKdKh. Another bad beat has occured with Player 1's straight flush beating Player 2's quad kings. Last example, Player 1 has 4c5c and Player 2 has TcJc. The board comes as 6c7c8c9cAh. Both players have a straight flush. In this case, a bad beat has NOT occurred because Player 1 has NOT used both cards in his hand to make the straight flush (he can only use the 5, not the 4). This exact situation, by the by, happened at a table that one of the dealers on my poker cruise was sitting at when he was in Vegas. The cardroom manager and the security staff missed the subtlety of the hand and awarded the jackpot. Subsequently, the cardroom manager was fired the next day. When a "bad beat" jackpot is awarded, 50% of the jackpot goes to the LOSING hand (hence the term "bad beat" jackpot), 30% of the jackpot goes to the winning hand and the remaining 20% gets split up by the players at the table who had been dealt cards in that hand. This means that if you get up to go to the bathroom and a bad beat jackpot occurs at your table, you get NOTHING even if you have chips at the table. You must be IN that hand to be eligible.

Ok, enough education. Now you can see why Paul and Dustin's hand didn't qualify for a bad beat. Dustin didn't have Aces full of Jacks or better and Paul didn't use both his hole cards to make quad 3's.

The OTHER interesting hand occurred when a flop came down for John and Dustin as Q83. A seemingly innocent hand but both players were betting very very strong and Dustin finally moved all in on John. John seemed prepared to call but he was understandably nervous. He probed Dustin multiple times for information trying to see if Dustin wanted him to call or not. He surmised, out loud, that Dustin had either AQ or QQ and couldn't decide if his hand was good enough to call. Finally, he asked for a coin and told Dustin to flip it. He said if the coin came up heads, he'd call but if it didn't, he'd fold. Dustin flipped the coin, which came up heads. Dustin let out a yelp of excitement which John immediately recognized as happiness that he was now 'obligated' to call. John, armed with this new information, nearly folded his hand but eventually did call, showing 88. Dustin did indeed have QQ and took down the pot.

Now the debate here is whether or not John is actually obligated to call. I maintain that a cardroom might hold John to the call as verbal declarations are binding. Some cardroom managers might interpret this to mean John must call. Daniel surmised, rightly so, that John's declaration was based on the outcome of an external event, which the cardroom couldn't possibly enforce as it is not in their best interest. In all liklihood, if anyone in a cardroom ever pulled out a coin and tried this same maneuver (clever though it may be), the dealer will likely be upset that so much time was being wasted. But we are not in a casino here, we are at my table, and I have to make a ruling on these kind of things. So here is my ruling (now official):

In tournament play, proposition betting will NOT be allowed under any circumstances. Players doing so will immediately have a thirty second clock called on them. The results of any such proposition betting CANNOT be adhered to and shall be considered null and void.

In cash play, proposition betting WILL be allowed so long as the bet in question does not take an unreasonable amount of time to complete (ex. "I'll call if you can run a mile faster than me"). Such proposition bets can be called ONLY between 2 players (3 or 4 way prop bets are not allowed). Furthermore, the outcome of such prop bets made at the table will be BINDING and the players involved must adhere to terms of the bet. Terms of the proposition bets can ONLY involve action for THAT hand. Terms involving future bets or plays is NOT allowed and will not be enforced. Proposition bets that are not made verbally at the table shall be considered side bets that the house will NOT enforce. For the purposes of moving the game along, the house reserves the right to force the players to get the hell on with it and cancel any proposition betting that is occurring.

If you have any comments, that's what the reply button is for!

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