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Sun, Mar. 21st, 2010, 02:34 pm
buckeyebrain: A couple of home game snags

Hi, folks. Long time no see. I haven't been playing much lately, but have been dipping my toe back into home games, but they present their own set of problems. I had a couple of big ones yesterday...

1) First hand of the tournament, I pick up Q-Q in the SB, with 25-50 blinds. A couple of limpers so I popped it to 250. Got two callers and we saw a 9-7-3 flop. I immediately fired a 600 bet only to discover that the dealer didn't burn a card before dealing the flop. After much arguing ensued, everybody decided to muck everybody's hands and start the hand over again. I was suggesting that the 9-7-3 be replaced in the deck and a new flop be dealt, but what's the official ruling on such a thing?

2) When it got down to two tables, I was in a hand with a couple of people, including this old woman that clearly did not know what she was doing. I led out for 1000 chips, and she raised me to 1500 (and not an all-in). I told her that the minimum raise would be 2000, but everybody else at the table was adamant that "This is no limit, it doesn't matter". I tried to illustrate with an example of a high stakes cash game where if someone bet $100,000, would it be legal to raise to $100,001? This went on with the clock running, so instead of pressing my point, I just went ahead and called the 500 (and eventually gained a split pot with a lucky turn). Does anybody have an official ruling, or explanation that a raise must be at least the amount of the original bet (except all-in situations)?

Thanks in advance.

Sun, Mar. 21st, 2010 09:53 pm (UTC)

In case 1, since there was no action after your bet, you take the bet back, the 9 (assuming it was the 1st card of the flop) is removed to the side, the proper card placed in the flop (the top card on the deck), and the 9 is placed in the burns as an exposed burn. You can then act as normal.

If there was significant action after your bet (ie, someone called, raised, or folded), there's no takebacks -- the flop plays as it lies.

In case 2, you are correct. Minimum raise is the amount of the prior raise. If you bet $A, the raise is to a minimum of $2A (or $2A+1, or any amount $B > $2A really). If someone bets $A into you, and you raise by B (to $[A+B]) the next raise must be by B (to a minimum of $[A+2B]). However, many home games have differing rules on that; sometimes, the minimum raise will be different (in some cases, and the easiest one to understand, the minimum raise is to twice the current bet -- if it's $A to you, your minimum raise is $2A, whether or not its a raise or re-raise). "No limit" only refers to the maximum amount you may bet.

Wed, Mar. 24th, 2010 05:25 pm (UTC)

Actually, the way you ruled case 1 is not the way you would rule it.

I think it should be ruled:

- Take bets back, return flop to deck, reshuffle, burn, deal flop.


- Play as is, burn for turn and deal turn card as usual.

Also, now that I think about it, this has happened a lot to me in home games and we usually just play it and then I explain to them the reason you burn a card. And then sometimes they get it.

Wed, Mar. 24th, 2010 11:52 pm (UTC)

The idea is that 2/3 of the flop is what the flop "should" have been. You keep that. Since there's no significant action (2 actions -- a bet and a call, a bet and a raise, or a bet and a fold. Checking doesn't count as action in this case) after the flop was put out, you can simply treat the "wrong" part of the flop as a burn -- albeit an exposed one -- correct the board, return the bet, and move on as if the error didn't happen.

The only other possible ruling would be play as it lays -- you really don't want to have to return and reshuffle unless you absolutely have to, which in this case you don't (since there's not significant action).

Thu, Mar. 25th, 2010 02:31 am (UTC)

I realized after posting that I'd consider a 600 chip bet a significant action, so I would err on playing as is.

I would not rule your way for this reason: what the "flop" should of been has no bearing on what cards actually show up. Yes, they are 3 of the 4 cards off the deck, but they just happen to be those 3. It's all random. Shuffle the deck, burn a card appropriately and reflop.

The reason for burning a card, and THE only reason for burning a card, is because it's possible the top card off the deck is marked.

Thu, Mar. 25th, 2010 03:09 am (UTC)

Yes, that's why the card that should have been the burn would be treated as an exposed burn. The idea is that once the deck is shuffled, you don't want to have to reshuffle anything if you can avoid it. Since there's a simple way to keep things in the order that the shuffle placed them, and you've not added any information available to the other players (as you would by prematurely burning and turning, for example -- in that case, you'd eventually wind up reshuffling the stub with the proper, albeit exposed, card, and having an extra burn card). Since you can simply fix the flop, you do so by taking the incorrect card off the flop as an exposed burn, and correcting the flop with the top card from the deck (which should have been on the flop). Voila, play continues as it should.

Yes, it would be easier if it was caught before any bets were laid, but "significant action" doesn't refer to the size of the bet. It refers to the number of actions taken (with checks being considered no action). An all-in bet isn't considered significant action, but a minimum bet and a call is considered such -- two actions is significant, while one is not. After significant action occurs, there's a lot less you can do to fix a flop problem -- it's generally "play it as it lays," at that point (and, in the OP's case, if there was a fold to their bet, that would be the ruling. Two burns for this hand, not three, and be more careful, Dealer!).

Oh, and you're right on the the reason for burning a card. However, having an exposed burn (in my solution) makes it moot as you give the information of the value of the burn card to everyone -- one player who is aware of the markings on the cards would get no advantage, as everyone knows that the 9h is not in play any more.