Call the floor: Poker rulings analyzed



At the final table of a live tournament, Player 1 moves all-in preflop, and Players 2 and 3 call. On the flop and turn, Players 2 and 3 check. On the river, Player 2 moves all-in. Player 3 calls and has Player 2 covered.
The dealer asks Players 2 and 3 to turn over their cards for showdown. Player 2 turns over ace-high and Player 3 mucks his cards facedown into the side pot. The dealer pushes Player 2 the sidepot. The dealer then asks Player 1 to turn his cards over (small pair), and at the same time, the dealer picks up the mucked cards from Player 3 and turns them over. Player 3 misread Player 2’s cards and Player 3 actually had the best hand with two pair. The floor’s ruling was, to prevent collusion, all hands at showdown will be evaluated and a losing hand is not eligible to collect any chips. Player 3 was not awarded the main pot since the hand was mucked before the dealer could evaluate the hand. Player 2 was beat by Player 1, so Player 2 would not get the main pot. Player 1 was beat by the mucked hand of Player 3, so Player 1 would not get the main pot. The chips were taken out of play and Player 1 was eliminated from the tournament. But using the logic, why did Player 2 get the side pot? — Marty Grinstead, via e-mail

JODY: It seems to me the floor person didn’t realize the chips had been pushed to Player 2. He seems to have a handle on the ruling, which explains why he didn’t let Player 1 have the main pot. Perhaps he was preoccupied with that situation and forgot about the other chips. Player 2 definitely should not have been awarded those chips. If the decision is to take the chips out of play they should all be taken out of play.

— Jody Russell is a veteran poker room manager in Nevada who also runs the Ante Up Poker Room. Email him at

TDA Rules

Each month Jody Russell will interpret one rule from the TDA.

CHIP RACE: When it is time to color-up chips, they will be raced off with a maximum of one chip going to any player. The chip race will always start in the No. 1 seat. A player cannot be raced out of a tournament: a player who loses his or her remaining chip(s) in a chip race will be given one chip of the smallest denomination still in play. Players are encouraged to witness the chip race.

JODY’S TAKE: Chip races tend to confuse people at first, but quickly become old news. It’s important to know a player who only has a few chips left in his stack that are all going to be raced off cannot be knocked out of the tournament via the race. If the player in jeopardy of being “raced out” of the tournament does not win a chip the tournament director will add a chip to the tournament and award it to that player. This way the player is not raced out of the tournament and the rightful winners of the race each receive their chip as well. This is a very rare occurrence. I think I’ve had to add the extra chip into action fewer than five times in 10 years.

MORE ON TDA RULES: Go to to see all 44 TDA rules.

Ante Up Magazine

Ante Up Magazine