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I was playing in a live LV tournament. Blinds were $50 and $100. The hold cards were dealt but the player in the big blind position had yet to put in his blind. The small blind had put in $100 as he had no $25 to make $50.

When the big blind acted, he put in $200, double the amount of what should have been in the big blind. UTG folded. I called $200.

Play was stopped and the Floor was called.

What should the ruling have been?

  • What exactly did you do? Did you say Call and then put in 200. Or just put the chips in? – WW. Oct 18 '14 at 11:37
  • This is common in tournaments. Even with dealers on the ball, you know they announce to the table a reminder what the blinds are, this still happens. It is the player responsibility to understand what the action is, just like in law, nobody told me, or I did not know will not get you off the hook. – Jon Oct 19 '14 at 20:02
  • WW asks about the action, the question would be a little easier to answer with it. I am wondering if you called two hundred cold in turn, or called 100 then the BB in turn put out two hundred. Whomever though put out two hundred in chips first, has made a raise. The floor person will rightly rule this as a raise. If you said call before the big blind in turn put out two hundred, you called a hundred. If you said call after the big blind had put 200 in, you called two hundred. – Jon Oct 19 '14 at 20:19
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    Who stopped the action and called for a floorman? – ch-pub Oct 20 '14 at 1:07
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    Jon is almost right, except in the case where you said "call" after the big blind put in 200. In that case, you have called 100, period, because the big blind was 100 regardless of what the player in that position did. If you said call, it's a call, and the amount facing you is 100, even if the player put 10,000 in the pot. If you just put in 200 chips, that's a raise to 200, because that's a legal raise and you should have known the blind was 100 even if that player did not. When it's the big blind player's turn, his chips will be corrected to the proper blind amount before he acts. – Lee Daniel Crocker Nov 7 '14 at 1:15
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I'd say it's the players' responsibility to know the blinds. I think you were the one who raised here. I think a good dealer should help prevent these kinds of things, but ultimately it's you who should know the blinds. If in doubt, you should ask the dealer. You acted in turn, so I think your action should be binding. In theory, the BB hadn't actually acted yet, so the chips in front of him were not yet relevant.

IMO it seems unlikely to be angle shooting by the BB, since his potential advantage was predicated on the SB simply not having change for a 100. I think this is just a couple players not paying enough attention, and inattention is not enough reason to excuse in-turn action.

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  • I don't think the accusation would be on the BB, the accusation would be on the "raiser". The BB and even the SB could argue that they unfairly lost extra money because the raiser shouldn't be at $200, but $100 instead. It's a solid argument if you think the raiser noticed the mistake and is trying to exploit it. – Unknown Coder Oct 22 '14 at 16:17
  • I meant to imply that the "raiser" may have thought that the BB was trying to coerce everyone into putting extra money into the pot. I really don't think this is a big deal, though. Similar things happen all the time in cash games where someone calls out a raise amount and then pushes in some chips that exceed that amount while waiting for change. Then a player to the left wasn't paying attention and acts as if the raise is to the amount represented by the chips. It happens, and it's just a reminder to pay attention. Either way, the raiser is allowed to put in $200, no matter his motivation. – Chris Farmer Oct 22 '14 at 17:29
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This is confusing. The action isn't clear nor what might have been said. Your position and your initial action would also be helpful. If this all happened silently, which it appears, then the action must have been as follows:

  • Cards are dealt

  • UTG Calls 100

  • Jim Calls 100

  • Everyone else, except the SB and BB has folded.

  • SB Calls

  • BB, having not yet placed the big blind, throws in $200.

  • Before now, the action should have been stopped by the dealer to make sure the blinds were placed. If not, it absolutely should have been stopped here to clarify verbally BB intentions. "Is this your big blind or is it a raise?"

  • In absence of that communication, the implication is that it's a min raise since it's not a single chip.

  • UTG Folds

  • Jim Calls

  • The floor is called.

If this is the case, the ruling should be that, since nothing has been said to this point, the BB raised and Jim called. UTG hand is dead and action is on SB to fold, call or re-raise. Since two players acted after the BB raise (a fold and a call) the action has to stand and play continues. Dealer error. Play should never have occurred all the way to the BB before the blinds were placed.

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  • I think this is not the correct sequence of action. My interpretation is that it went like this: SB puts in a 100 chip. Some time passes, perhaps while the deal is happening. BB eventually puts in two 100 chips. UTG sees the 200 and "calls" it with his own 200. That's it. – Chris Farmer Nov 6 '14 at 16:43
  • I also think it's inappropriate for the dealer to give the BB the option as in your scenario of declaring whether his chips to represent a call or a raise. This gives the BB power that he shouldn't have here. If it was in-turn action, his chips should be binding. – Chris Farmer Nov 6 '14 at 16:45
  • @ChrisFarmer your scenario may have been the case. If so, Jim's play still completes the action. The OP states, "when the big blind acted..." Placing your blind is not action, so that statement is what confuses the question. UTG, first to act, may or may not be confused. It doesn't matter. He folds and Jim puts in $200. If he does so silently, it's a raise to $200. If he says, "call" and throws in the $200, it's a call and the dealer returns $100 in chips. Either way, UTG is out and play resumes behind Jim. The issue is if Jim gets $100 back, which depends on whether or not he acted silently. – Tungus Grumpf Nov 6 '14 at 17:19
  • @ChrisFarmer I would agree with your second statement 100% – Tungus Grumpf Nov 6 '14 at 17:21
  • I agree with your comment. In the absence of the "call" statement, I think Jim raised here. – Chris Farmer Nov 6 '14 at 22:00
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One of the nice things about online poker is that the blinds always get posted, so this situation never happens.

But in brick and mortar the general situation described happens often. It happens for a lot of reasons, players are ordering drinks, talking about the last hand, watching the game on TV, falling asleep etc.

Chris said that "I would think it is the players responsibility to know the blinds". This is correct, 100% correct, absolutely correct. It is so correct that rather or not the blind is posted has no bearing whatsoever on anything. It is a tournament, the blind must be paid by the player, must be the proper amount so the fact that the player has yet to get the blind out has no bearing on the other player not being aware of what the blinds are.

Although the OP's description of the action is a little vague, it would be easier to understand if he said that when he put two hundred in he was calling another hundred or put two hundred in cold, IE he saw no big blind, and the hundred dollar chip in the small blind and assumed it was two hundred to call. However, those facts are not relevant to what the correct decision should be.

If he called one hundred than called one hundred more, that says to me that the OP knew it was one hundred to call, and that when the BB put in two hundred it was a raise. The OP got it right. In this case I am wondering why the floor person was called for a decision. I am also wondering if it was the OP or another player that prompted the floor person to be called and what their contention was. If this was the case the floor person likely would of had a confused look on his face as he struggled to find a problem where there was no problem. When he came to make a ruling the correct ruling would be that it is what is as though the big blind was posted and the small blind was posted with the correct chips size.

If it was that OP threw in two hundred cold. I don't wonder so much why the floor person was called. At some point here the dealer and a player were in disagreement, and this is a point that a floor person should always be called. The dealer saw two hundred, maybe said raise, the OP said wait, or maybe another player said hey wait its only a hundred, the OP said wait I thought I was calling two hundred, or maybe it was a little further on that the OP realized that the two hundred he threw in was a raise then the issues was in contention between him and the dealer, or between other players who might of called if it was still one hundred, or players that would of rather called one hundred then two hundred. At any rate, the floor person is called because there is disagreement between the dealer and a player or players. The floor person would come over not quite so confused this time as in the last, and rule that it is what it is as though the big blind was posted and the small blind was posted with the correct chips size.

I can't really think of any variation on the OP's post that the ruling would not be that it is what it is as though the big blind was posted and the small blind was posted with the correct chips size. I know that there are confusing things here, like is that a raise when the BB just throws out two chips. But it is indeed a raise, because the fact of the matter is that he is posting a one hundred dollar blind, and the confusion comes from bad assumptions and have nothing to do with the reality that rather or not the blinds are posted or not, the blinds are 50 and 100. If one is not clear on that, plays hands on bad assumptions, one may play incorrectly and that is ones burden.

Tungus said "Before now, the action should have been stopped by the dealer to make sure the blinds were placed. If not, it absolutely should have been stopped here to clarify verbally BB intentions. "Is this your big blind or is it a raise?"

I am going to talk about good and bad dealing practice a little further down. This statement is incorrect. When the big blind threw in two chips, this is raise. It is at that point a raise and rather or not the BB intended to raise has no bearing on the fact that this is a raise. At no point should the dealer have stopped the action to clarify what anybody's intention is. From what the OP said all the action was clear, the confusion being that the players were not clear that the BB was one hundred or two hundred. It really does not matter what the players thought the blinds were, the blinds were what they were, and any action taking place is in the context of what those blinds are. It would of been smart of the players to stop and ask for clarification, but they did not, and that is not particularly the dealers problem, or fault. I get from the OP,s post that the point that the BB threw in two hundred is the point in this hand were the fact that there was confusion became clear. This is the point that the floor person was called and was the proper point.

It is not clear what the dealer did or did not do, accept to call the floor person when the question about the big blind came up. Technically speaking there was no dealer error. The dealer did not make a mistake, the players did. No matter what the dealer did or did not do, the facts of the matter are that the blinds were 50 and 100, and anything that happened with bets and raises happened in the context of the blinds. There is no dealer error when the players get this wrong, and there is no recourse for the players when they get this wrong. This is just a fact that one needs to be aware of as a player, when one screws up, one owns it.

Having said that, I will say again that this situation is very common. This is one of those decisions that you are never called over to from a good dealer, and far to often have to make with a crappy dealer. While it is important to note that this is player error, not dealer error, a good experienced dealer whom is on top of the game will not have this happen at the table. A good dealer will say loudly and repeatedly "blinds please", "blinds are 50 and 100" and attempt to get blinds posted. Sometimes this is just impossible, the player is so preoccupied with something else they just tune the dealer out. In this case you make sure that the players know as the action goes around that they know that the blind is 100, "One Hundred to call" etc. The fact that there was a hundred dollar chip in the small blind and no big blind posted as yet; an experienced dealer on the ball knows that this is a common point of confusion with players and will take extra effort to make sure the CF bomb does not detonate. A good dealer will not stop the game, they will just make sure that players understand the context on which they are acting on there hands. But no matter what the dealer does or does not do, it is the player that makes the mistake if they act without understanding, and it is the player who suffers for it. It is not a dealers job to read a players mind and extrapolate intent. It is a players burden to do what they intend and understand the reality of the situation they are in. Good dealers understand when players are confused and fix it. The player owns this when they fail to understand, nobody else can or should.

If at the time the BB threw in the two chips, and the dealer stopped the action and asked for a clarification from the BB, or the floor was called and asked for a clarification from the BB, and it came down that since the BB thought he was just calling so it is one hundred, and not a raise. How would of this played out? You will note that the player UTG, called one hundred and then when the BB threw in the chips he threw his hand away. The player under the gun understood the blind size and that the player threw in two chips was making a raise. The guy who understood what the blinds where, and what the raise was, would of suffered downside due to other peoples failure to understand what was going on. If his hand was retrievable, other players in the hand would of had useful information about his hand they would of not had if those other players were on the ball, IE the fact that his hand was not strong enough to call a raise. If his hand was deep in the muck and not retrievable the question arises about rather or not he gets his call back. He has no upside in this case, while it makes common sense to give him his call back, that is not particularly supported in the rules and is a judgment call on the part of the floor person, and he is simply not going to get his call back always, so he suffers a lose for other people incorrect actions. Someone in this thread said they were not sure if the BB was taking a shot or not. If the ruling goes down in the way I have eluded to, that point becomes mute. You can't take a shot if you in turn throw in 200 on a 100 blind, if that is always considered a raise because it is indeed a 100 blind your adding another 100 to. When one rules on intend, in this as with most rulings, one is opening the door to angles, one is opening the door to having other people pay for their mistake. It would be a horrible ruling to rule anything but, the blinds are fifty and one hundred, and the hand plays accordingly, your bad, your fault players if you do not understand what the blinds are. I would also add in my ruling, dealer I would like to see you in office on your break.

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  • I'm sorry, but I think you're off base here as to the so-called "action" of the BB. It's not his turn, so "raise" is not something he can do. If he put in 200, or 2000, that's just a mistake. It's 100 to go for UTG. When the action gets to the BB, his bet should be corrected to 100, and then he should act. The only exception might be if the big blind were all in, that might be considered an out-of-turn raise to which he would be held if no action intervenes, in which case it's still 100 to go for UTG. – Lee Daniel Crocker Nov 7 '14 at 1:28
  • The OP was not clear, I am assuming he posted the two hundred in turn, especially since it caused the guy under the gun to fold. If I was ruling it, since UTG folded, it would be ruled a raise, as action out of turn. since BB misunderstanding was the root cause of the action. – Jon Nov 7 '14 at 1:42
  • I read it more, the BB seems to be acting in turn. "When the big blind acted, he put in $200", although I will give you that it is not clear that the action was in turn. – Jon Nov 7 '14 at 2:19
  • The OP is also not clear if he met the small blind was UTG or that the player on the left of BB is UNDER the gun. I assumed by UTG he meant player to the left of the BB. – Jon Nov 7 '14 at 2:28

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