# What ruling should be made when a verbal declaration is not heard by the dealer?

Playing against a novice opponent in a $1-$2 game in Las Vegas, I'm wearing headphones and flop bottom set. I bet the flop, bet the turn and then bet all in on the river. My opponent in the hand tanks. Finally he shows one pair and throws his cards towards the dealer face up on the table. The dealer scoops his cards and pushes me the pot. I pass my cards to the dealer face down and start stacking the pot. Before the cards are dealt for the next hand, the players next to my opponent declare "he said call!".

You're the floorperson, what do you do?

• Let's assume he did say call, and other players heard him.
• The dealer didn't hear him, I didn't hear him. I had the winner, I
would have waited for the call.
• I didn't show anyone my hand.
• I handed in my cards when: I was the only one holding cards,
including the dealer, after I was pushed the pot and physically had
the chips.
• Only one player had cards at one point [me].
• Player did say "call", verbal is binding. Only he showed his cards in the showdown.
• Players should protect their hands.
• I physically have the chips. They were pushed to me, and I started
stacking them, but the next hand has not started.

I think one way of looking at it is that he said call and was the only one who tabled his hand, therefore should be awarded the pot. Another way of looking at is that he didn't say call loud enough for the dealer to hear it, and he didn't protect his hand, so should not be awarded the pot. However, he did speak up before the next action (dealing the next hand) took place and it's my responsibility to protect my hand as well.

• You wrote player next to the player. What did the player say? – paparazzo Jan 18 '18 at 13:37
• Did the villain in this case actually say they called themselves or just the other players? – Grinch91 Jan 18 '18 at 13:40
• Grinch, the villian was a first timer. A thrid party chimed in and said that the player said call. The villian confirmed he said call, but had a galzed look in his eyes. The dealer did not hear the player say anything. I beleive the third party, but am not 100% sure he's not just shooting an angle. The third party said something after the pot was pushed, but before the next hand was started. – John Dee Jan 18 '18 at 14:38
• If you award me the pot, you're probably taking it away from a newbie who said call and tabled his cards. If you award him the pot, you give it to a player who didn't have cards over an active better who kept his cards until the dealer pushed him the pot and was the only player left with a hand. – John Dee Jan 18 '18 at 14:40
• It's a tricky situation, and this is one of the reasons other players aren't meant to comment on hands they're not in. But given your comment I think the pot should have been awarded to the villain, as technically you did not table your hand. I'm not a floor staff and never was but I'd imagine the floor would rule in favour of the player who has tabled. If I'm understanding correctly the next hand hasn't begun but your hand has been mucked? If you can confirm I can write up an answer. – Grinch91 Jan 18 '18 at 14:57

I think "protect your hand" is the most salient issue here, both for the villian and for you. Dealers are there to assist the players, but it's ultimately their responsibility to protect their interests.

Villian apparently tossed his cards toward the dealer and made no attempt to protect them. The fact that they were face up doesn't change the fact that this looks like a folding action, and since he didn't say "call" loudly enough for the dealer to hear, didn't move any chips (even tossing one chip would have been enough to clarify his intent), and didn't immediately object when the dealer grabbed his cards, I'd say that's a fold. It's also possible that the dealer made the judgment based on the weakness of the hand shown; they shouldn't do that, but dealers are human.

Sucks for you, not getting his money, but that's your fault too. If you had been listening to the game and heard him call, and protected your hand rather than releasing it as the chips were pushed to you, you would be entitled to call the floor and plead your case that you are entitled to a call, but you blew that opportunity as well. Take your small pot and be happy.

• That's about right. I was a dope. – John Dee Jan 22 '18 at 9:45

Verbal is not binding here. It does not matter if other players heard it. Until the dealer acknowledges a verbal it is not binding.

If you place a chip (or more) in front of your cards against an all in (or even just a bet on the river) that means call. I assume villain did not throw out a chip. The player released their hand to the dealer by throwing it out. As soon as that hand hit the muck it is dead. It does not matter the villain released face up - that does not mean call.

The argument is the cards can be recovered since they are face up. Dealer / house is not required to recover in all situations.

Hero mucked because the dealer mucked the villains cards and pushed the chips his way. Hand is over.

If villain had immediately said "I called" when the dealer mucked the cards that is different. It took time to push the chips to hero and for hero to muck.

Villain should have protected their cards. Dealer did not make an error here and even if he did too bad villain.

Protect Your Hand: participants must protect their own hands at all times. A protected hand is defined as a hand sitting on the table surface with a card cap (see Rule 110) placed on top of the hand. If a dealer or participant kills or fouls an unprotected hand, the participant will have no redress and will not be entitled to his or her chips back that were wagered in the hand.

Villain could be turning up the cards to get a reaction from the hero. They don't get the benefit of the doubt here.

In many rooms show your cards before betting is complete is a penalty.

• Great points, however why does villian need to protect his hand? Villian claims he said call verbally BEFORE he tabled his cards, and is backed up by a third party. Although the dealer cannot confirm this. He says "call" verbally and puts his cards face up. Everyone at the table confirms his hand, even the hero. – John Dee Jan 18 '18 at 17:19
• @JohnDee Because the rule is protect your hand at all times. So villain claimed he said call and other players (not hero) confirm - they could be colluding. Table confirm villain hand means nothing. Villain did not put out a chip, did not confirm dealer heard the verbal, did not protest as soon as his cards were mucked, and did not protect his hand. If he had done any of those he might have a case. – paparazzo Jan 18 '18 at 17:32
• Upvoted and deleted my answer as this one is better. – 3N1GM4 Jan 19 '18 at 12:58
• Certainly the floor can consider the other player's opinions of what they heard. That is standard. Now in this case, you might say he shouldn't because the hand is over. But "because they might be colluding" isn't a reason. In EVERY case a person speaks up they might be colluding. The dealer isn't saying he heard the player say "fold" and another player is contradicting him. The dealer is saying he didn't hear anything one way or another, and now at least two players are positvely confirming it, and no player is contradicting them. – John Dee Jan 19 '18 at 15:14
• @JohnDee Not going to argue with you. Your mind was made up before you posted. Give the guy the pot if it makes you feel better. – paparazzo Jan 19 '18 at 15:21

Clearly John Dee this is your pot!

Two very important points. One is that the pot was pushed and the hands were mucked, that is the end of the hand, done deal before anything was said. Two is that your opponent did not say anything, another player did.

At any rate the most important point is that your opponent, for whatever reason, (he was drunk stupid, inattentive or angling does not matter we can't tell) let your hand get in the muck and let the dealer muck his hand before anything was said by himself or anybody else. Your opponent did not protect his hand by not being clear what he was doing.

Those are the points I would consider if I was making a ruling here. You get the pot.

And I second Lees answer with an upvote.

As soon as the pot was being raked, the guy who said "call" should have immediately objected. But if his cards were already pulled into the muck, then his hand is dead no matter what because he didn't protect his cards.

I'll tell you guys what happened, and then I'll tell you what I would have done. FYI, This is an alias account. I have been in the poker industry for 25 years in every role, from chip runner to professional player to casino manager. I am a world expert on the rules and history of poker. Anyway here's what happened:

The dealer pushed me the pot. I always hold my cards until I have the pot. I tossed my cards in with a tip, and he squared them ready for the next hand. Then the player sitting next to the villain chimed in that he had said "call". The whole story was related to the floor, who took it to the shift manager while the game idled. While this was happening, we negotiated a gentlemen's agreement that he would't be obligated to call and I would keep the pot. Next hand.

Now one of my thoughts as I was sitting there, having had too many scotch rocks.... Was that the chips were, in fact, in my possession. I was seriously thinking of keeping them no matter what the f**k the shift said. The shift could easily have come back and told me to cough up. In Nevada, I would be within my rights to stroll out the front door with the chips in my possession, and I know that security wouldn't lay hands on me first. Yes, I'd be barred for life from that casino but not arrested. I am super glad it didn't come to that, because I would have seriously regretted it, even though I would have kept the chips. In a sober state I would pay that ammount not to be barred even if I was 100% being cheated. Whew. +1 drunk idiot dodge.

There are several issues here as a floor, who remember wasn't there and is hearing the story 2nd hand.

The most important issue here is WHEN the action was stopped, which in this case was after the pot was co-mingled with the hero's chips. As the floor, there is nothing to be done about it now. The hand's over and there is no way to count the chips out of the guys stack. It is a myth that security could reconstruct the hand 100% of the time with the camera. The shift in this case would get reprimanded for even requesting it. Anyway that's the answer: the chips are co-mingled, and sorry buddy, you should have spoken up sooner. The dealer should apologize. It is HIS fault for not hearing the customer. Even if the customer said it softly, or is actually lying and never said call - it's still the dealer's fault, the customer is always right.

Now what if the chips weren't mixed in with the hero's chips? In this case, I would have awarded the pot to the villain. From the point of view of the floorperson, there was a bet, the villain claims he said call, another player backs him up, the dealer doesn't disprove him, he just didn't hear anything, the villain tabled his cards, the hero didn't table his cards. The floor can't possibly award the pot to a player who didn't show his cards over a player who did show his cards, when other players confirm he said call. It sucks for the hero. I don't know how to prevent this except to not wear headphones ever [which is a solid idea]. This was one of the weirder things I've seen as a player: everyone folding, the dealer pushing you the pot, and then after the hands seams over there is some question as to who wins... and they have a really good point! The villain, who is a novice player, might have the serious impression he just got bushwhacked here! It's a mess. He said 'call' - or thinks he said call, or whispered the word call, or telekenised the word call to the guy next to him, whatever - but he DID show his cards. Really he's lucky because I would have stacked him! I'm glad I had started stacking the chips quickly, or it could have gone the other way. Don't drink and gamble!