You Make the Call

Correcting an overchipped table after the start of play

by , Jun 23, 2008 | 9:53 am

There haven’t been too many difficult floor decisions this year. There was supposedly a confusing situation during the heads-up tourney where two players took the wrong seats after the break and played out a few hands before the mistake was realized … but other than that, the most difficult theoretical situation was handled rather quickly and decisively without much alteration to tournament purity:

The event was one of last week’s big-field $1,500 NLHs … and the problem began with a single table in which every player started with an extra 1k in chips. Conclude what you will about donkament ethics and how the “prisoner’s dilemma” applies to poker … but no one said a word, and cards went in the air with every player at one table given a 33 percent starting-stack advantage.

It was supposedly about 20 minutes into play when a dealer recognized the problem. Floor supervisor Jimmy Sommerfield made the quick decision to rectify things by removing 1,000 chips from each player’s stack. Sounds simple enough, and in this situation it really was — very few chips had moved around, and not many decisions affected by falsified stack sizes. And besides, every one of them at the table was technically a dishonest bastard, so what are they gonna say?

But what if a few more hands had passed, and one of the players had only 900 chips remaining?

Every floor person I spoke with said, yeah, yeow, that’s a tough one … and ultimately would defer as high up as possible, to top-dog TD Jack Effel, for a ruling. But if they had to make the decision themselves, it was a 50-50 split on whether that short-stacked player would simply be eliminated, or allowed to continue play with the same 900 chips, thus leaving an extra 1,000 chips in the tournament.

10 Comments to “You Make the Call ”

  1. Poker Shrink

    They could do a bizarre application of the “you can’t be chip-raced out of a tournament” rule and leave the guy with one chip of the smallest denomination.

  2. DanM

    Hmm, interesting …

    I was thinking take 1,100 from each player, and 200 from the shortest stack. Really, that probably does the best job of “righting” the tournament. But the philosophical notion of a floorman coming up with a sliding tax scale right there on the spot makes me a little queasy.

  3. Uncle Ray

    I was going to say that there are a couple of ways it could be (and could have been) done, but I keep thinking of more ways.

    The biggest things in my mind are 1) No one should be eliminated because of that kind of mistake, and 2) No one at any other table should be disadvantaged because of the mistake.

    If those two things are adhered to, I don’t care how they solve the dilemma.

    Personally, I would have made them start over. Or, if they truly had a 33% increase in chips to start, I would take 25% of each players chips away to square everything. (Don’t worry, the math is right).

    The example is if you start with 3K in chips but the extra 1K (33%) starts you with 4K in chips. If you still have your starting stack of 4K, take away 25% (1K) to get you back to even. If you only have 3K left, 750 is taken from you. if you have 5K, 1250 is taken, etc.

    Or they could play until the first time tables are broken and square up then…or…or…the possibilities are endless.

  4. Karridy

    Is it a stupid question to ask how the extra $1K came to be, and if anybody has cared to investigate?

  5. son of sue

    I agree with Uncle. Punish all the players at the table and make them start over with 3000TC.

  6. 85nutz

    I know I count my stack at the start of EVERY tourny. I find it hard to believe that everyone at that table thought they were getting the correct amount to start (seriously… who buys into a tourny of any kind and DOES NOT KNOW the size of starting stacks??!!). All I can think of is KARMA IS A BITCH… good luck to any of them on making the money!

  7. donkey

    House mistake, not players. I would have given every one at the table an option to give up 1000 chips or get their money back. Then fire the dealer.

  8. Karridy

    My bad… I had assumed for some reason that it was after a break, which is why I mentioned investigating. I am sofa king we todd did.

  9. Poker Shrink

    I certainly agree that the option of a complete refund should always be on the table, however, poker players never take that offer, so you gotta have another angle. The dealer and/or the floor, whomever put out the chips should sit down for at least a day.

  10. Sieger

    Take the 25% from each stack that was over applied at the start, rounding if needed to ensure the proper total amount is removed.