Archive for May 2005

Re: Stupid Nick

by , May 25, 2005 | 1:01 pm

Here is the link to the DMN article about Pokerati’s own Nick Orenstein. Yeesh … fetal heart monitors? That sounds like important and stuff.

But “hearts” are related to poker, so … very well done, Nick. Seriously, you’re gonna do great saving babies. We look forward to your future bankroll.

The Houseman’s Bible

by , May 9, 2005 | 6:27 pm

At Pokerati, we want you to play good poker. But beyond math and skills and all that aggression jazz, sometimes it simply comes down to a difficult ruling and/or attempt at fairness when the cards and chips don’t fly as usual. I can’t begin to tell you as a guy who runs tournaments how many times I’ve had to make a ruling at the table, then look up the real rule afterwards. (Can you straddle in a tournament, for example? The answer, I was relieved to learn, is no. You can raise in the dark, but you don’t get the option as you would in a cash game.)

With that sorta thing in mind — in an effort to clarify and codify some of the finest nuances of poker — is please to introduce our latest contribution to “the beautiful game”:

The Houseman’s Bible
by Bruce

Before we start this let me go on record as stating that my typing and diction suck. I am what I am and that’s a house man, not a writer. The name is Bruce (in the interest of Texas poker law I will leave the last name out) and almost never a day goes by that someone doesn’t call me and ask how I would handle a table ruling.

My primary qualification as a house man is longevity, having run games for 30 years. I used to be a “damned ol’ gambler;” now I find that I can be a television star and an Olympic hopeful. Keep in mind that poker is a game with NO firm house rules except those set by the “house.” However, there exist many rules and situations that are common to most poker games. The important thing is consistency. No one wants to be faced with a ruling one day and have it changed the next because it’s the houseman’s best friend or the big loser in the group.

So rule #1 is: BE CONSISTENT.

“No player is allowed to put chips in the pot
knowing any of the cards to come”

In the near future I will endeavor to outline some of the more awkward situations I’ve faced and rulings I’ve had to make, and the sometimes hilarious, sometimes violent results thereafter. Almost always one player will be pissed off, but only a truly great houseman can make a ruling that is not only correct but pisses off everyone equally.

Basic rule #2: All rules should be for the good of the game.

Now let’s start out with the most common dealer error and see how these houseman’s axioms apply:

Bruce, we were playing a small cash game the other night [no-limit hold-em] and the dealer burned and turned before one player had a chance to bet. How should this be handled? — Tom in Dallas

Tom, great question. First off, no player is allowed to put chips in the pot knowing any of the cards to come. Also, no player can control whether the up-cards remain or not. This means the card or cards come back no matter what. Then have the players make their action.

On the flop: bring back all cards but the BURN CARD, shuffle and proceed, but do not burn before flop. Got that? Re-shuffle all the cards except for what has been dealt to the players and the first burn card … and then flop without burning. The burn card, after all, has already been properly removed from play.

If the error happens on the turn: set aside the up card and finish the flop-betting action. Then burn and turn normally. Thus, the card that would’ve been the river card still comes up … only it happens on 4th Street instead of 5th. Then, after the 4th Street betting action is over, replace the prematurely exposed card back into the remainder of the deck–but not the burn card!–and shuffle. Then turn without burning.

If it’s the river that gets shown early: simply replace the exposed card (but again, not the burn card) and finish the action … then shuffle and turn over a new river — again, without burning.

Never make exceptions. Do the same thing at all times and most people will accept the fact that errors sometimes happen. The person that would have flopped the nuts will always be pissed off. Just get over it. After all it’s just a game. (He-he-he.)

If you have a question about quirky game situations, tough “house calls,” or sundry poker minutiae, send Bruce an email at Then stop crying.