Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What Happens In Vegas Stays In Vegas (Part III)

Who can forget the time the Venetian poker room forced me to show my hole cards to take down a pot even though everyone else at the table had folded? My left brain still regrets (and my right brain still resents) that I followed their ruling. I was the last man standing. Who were they going to award the pot to if I had refused to turn over my hand? The guy who folded and didn't show before me?

Well the comedy writers who script my poker sessions at the Venetian must be running out of ideas. Because I was back in their poker room this week and had another glorious experience where my cards were shown to the table in a spot where I thought I had the right to muck.

My opponent and I were all in on the flop but neither of us revealed our hands. My opponent then hits the runner runner boat on the turn and river and shows down his cards joyfully. I can't beat him, so I throw my cards into the muck. Sounds normal right? The hand is over and the dealer pushes him the pot. This sequence happens all the time in poker.

However at this point something strange happens. My opponent asks the dealer what I had and without any hesitation whatsoever, the dealer reaches into the muck turns over my cards and shows them to the table.

This really happened.

What right does this guy have to see my hand? What right does the dealer have to show it? This isn't a tournament. This isn't a hand history on the internet. This is a live cash poker game. Since when can a dealer go reaching into the muck and turn over dead hands?

If the Venetian is going to make us show our cards at showdown, then why not do it on the flop when we initially got all in? (Like in a tournament.) It's silly to make me show at the end after I've given up on the hand. By mucking I'm giving up my right to win the pot but in exchange I'm gaining the right to privacy. That's how it works in poker. That's how it had worked in every single live cash hand I've played over the past 18 months. Except at the Venetian.

Lets even pretend for a moment that at showdown he's gonna slow roll me. So lets say he's still hits the full house but asks me to show my cards first. Now imagine if I do the thing where I just muck and concede the pot. In this circumstance no one would dare turn over my mucked cards. It would be accepted that I had given up on the pot. He'd be the winner. I'd be the loser.
Just because he showed his cards first, doesn't mean he's suddenly earned the right to see my cards.

In fact the only concern (specific to the Venetian) is over whether the winner has to show. I believe the answer should still be a resounding "no" but as per my previous Venetian post, this is exactly the kind of situation where the Venetian made me show. The only reason I could see for demanding to see cards here would be if I was concerned regarding collusion. But since the guy asking to see my cards is the same guy I lost the pot to, I don't think collusion applies here.)

Now I can admit that my anger here was mostly tilt from having just lost the big pot but I definitely felt violated. The winning player asking to see my cards disturbed me, but the dealer immediately turning them over disturbed me even more.

Can this really be the way poker is played at the Venetian?

It makes me wanna go sign up for some 2/5 with Andy Kaufman this weekend and ask to see my opponent's mucked cards every single time someone folds at showdown. It's gonna be awesome. Hope you get stuck at my table.

Meanwhile the way life works, as I was walking out of the casino I noticed the woman pictured below. She must have been really sickened by what had happened to me.

Why else would she be puking into this garbage by the escalators?

She must be a poker purist! She knows they'd never pull my cards out of the muck after I've lost a hand at the Bellagio so that a guy who has won the same pot could see them.

In fact this woman's dedication to the way the game should be played makes me think she'd make a good poker wife for some of you single poker guys out there who are reading this.

If only there was a way to get in touch with her.

Maybe a Craigslist personal ad?

YOU: puking into the garbage the other night at the Venetian.

ME: Watching you puke and in awe of how much you respect the game.

Savvy readers might also notice that I stood far enough back to give her some space. That's because I have manners.

- I don't ask to see other players cards in the muck.

- And I stand at least 15 feet back when people are puking into garbage cans.

I think we call these qualities being raised right.


dave said...

i really hoped you called the floor.

i know the situation is over, but this dealer needs to be reprimanded. and if the floor agrees with him, you need to never play there again.

the venetian needs to learn how to manage poker tables. seems like they don't understand the game. and if so they dont deserve your business.

Mr Subliminal said...

Please publish the name of the dealer here in the comments section. This will then be my next "Poker Hall of Shame" entry.

Check Raise Chin said...

This has always confused me Rob.

What are the official rules to this?

I always thought the person who was the aggressor or had initated the original action has to show if the other player requests it (even if he won and you mucked).

Again I'm not sure but I think those are the rules.

In any event it shows bad taste and no class to request that your cards be shown.

Tarpie said...

In Atlantic City (and I thought Vegas), a player in the hand can always request to see a folded/mucked hand at showdown. It is considered bad form to make this request, and something I have never done. If it is done to you a good response is to retaliate by doing it to the requester every time you get involved in a hand with him.

On a similar topic, I was in a heads up pot and the other guy mucked before I announced by hand and the dealer said I must show my cards. I had no problem showing them, but he could not tell me what would happen if I threw them into the muck in a way that they could not be retrieved. Just kept saying "you must show." I guess the floor would have to come up with a remedy.

Anonymous said...

Actually it's standard procedure in almost every casino that if two players are HU and all-in any player at the table can request to see both hands.

Now in the opinion of most its a douche bag move requesting to the see the mucked hand but it's a rule nonetheless.

The dealer was right on this one.

Otis said...

This post touched me, but not for obvious reasons.

In the past seven days, I've seen two peopole throw up in public. The most recent was a few hours ago outside the Amazon Room.

Word about your situation must have made its way down the street. My guy had four good upchucks before going back in to play.

zym said...

I haven't read the gaming regulations in Vegas, but in AC a hand isn't dead as long as it's retrievable. The muck is more symbolic than functional, and in this case your cards must have been retrievable since the dealer could grab them. A good way to get around this is to try to muck your hand in such a way that it blends into the muck.