Are you entitled to know how much is in somebody else’s stack?

upNdown

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This is related to the “I put you all in” and “I bet the amount of chips in your stack” questions.
Players’ stacks have to be visible. Players big chips have to be out front.
You get to approximate what they have, from your seat.
But you’re never entitled to know exactly how much they have, right?
The “how much do you have behind” questions don’t have to be answered, and the dealer will only give you a count if THEY go all in, right?
 

MrCatPants

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In just reading the language, that's what I gathered, yes. You are "entitled to a reasonable estimation" which means the person has to keep their chips in an order that can be reasonably estimated as you mentioned - and they suggest stacks of 20 in TDA but don't mandate it.
 

Poker Zombie

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I thought you were entitled to know, but I have been corrected. The official rule is that it is the player's responsibility to know. Not really a fan, but it prevents the dealer from making a counting error that results in an bad bet/call.

That said, asking for a count and getting nothing from the opponent is also a dick move. Even if I don't want to talk, I will give an approximation. "60,000-ish" (or whatever) is usually enough, you don't need to count every last chip. 59,600 or 62,100 isn't going to change someone's mind on an all-in.
 

upNdown

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That said, asking for a count and getting nothing from the opponent is also a dick move. Even if I don't want to talk, I will give an approximation. "60,000-ish" (or whatever) is usually enough, you don't need to count every last chip. 59,600 or 62,100 isn't going to change someone's mind on an all-in.
I agree; I'll give an answer. That said, on multiple occasions, I've seen Doyle Brunson announce to a table that he doesn't answer those questions. For whatever that's worth.
 

Coyote

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Indeed, Uncle Doyle wrote and said (including on camera) that it's rude to ask, provided that players' stacks are neat and countable.
He always stood for refusing to answer.
 

Poker Zombie

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Stacks that are neat and countable are fine, no answer may be needed. However, if a player has a mountain of chips, it takes much longer to count chips that are 8' away. Answering the question speeds up the game.
 

trigs

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I'll give an approximation when asked and appreciate that in return but I have had people refuse to answer me. I usually only ask those that tend to have their hands in front of their stack.

I've also had people count out every chip while I've been saying "okay, okay, close enough".
 

Kain8

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If all my chips are in nice neat stacks of 20, large chips out in front (don't be a Torelli!) , then the question shouldn't need to be asked. I can understand why Doyle wouldn't answer if your chips are arranged in such a way. You do it so that both yourself AND your opponents can arrive at a reasonable degree of certainty of what your stack is.

Personally, I suffer from SSS (Short Stack Syndrome) so this doesn't occur all too often for me. Useful stuff if your name is @Rhodeman77 @Bmeister51 or @Anthony Martino though!
 

Mr Winberg

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Given the number of inexperienced players we have, we have a house rule to cover it. If asked, you have to provide a count. If you refuse, a player not in the hand will count on your behalf.
We don't have a rule, but this is what happens at our games. The player asks another player about his chip count, and all of a sudden you have half the table fondling the poor guys chips and all arriving at different totals.
I am slowly and steadily educating them... but this one is a bit further down the list.
 

Josh Kifer

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Player should know what's in everyone else's stack. At our game, if you request a count, I will give you one, but the player does not need to respond. It's on the dealer to make an official count.

But it's on the player to know.
 

CdnBeerLover

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We don't have a rule, but this is what happens at our games. The player asks another player about his chip count, and all of a sudden you have half the table fondling the poor guys chips and all arriving at different totals.
I am slowly and steadily educating them... but this one is a bit further down the list.

I agree, which is why we have the rule. The dealer will choose someone not in the hand to do the count. We have a number of players who choose to use non-standard stack sizes (8, 11, etc), so it's not always easy to guess. Why? If they have 24 chips, they will make 3 stacks of 8.
 

MaxB

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Wait a min .... so a player when asked for a count does not have to tell them (assuming neat stacks)? I thought that was a tourney rule in casinos
 

Bmeister51

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This is related to the “I put you all in” and “I bet the amount of chips in your stack” questions.
Players’ stacks have to be visible. Players big chips have to be out front.
You get to approximate what they have, from your seat.
But you’re never entitled to know exactly how much they have, right?
The “how much do you have behind” questions don’t have to be answered, and the dealer will only give you a count if THEY go all in, right?

While it is true a player is not compelled to answer and the dealer is under no obligation to count down a players stack unless they have committed it to the pot this is more of an etiquette thing than anything else. If you are asked it's usually in good form to respond with an approximation or even an exact count if you like. When asked this question I always think of two big things: First, is this player using this as an intimidation factor or are they posturing? If they ask it very lazily or casually its usually just to know where they stack up against you but as I've found in tournament play it can be a useful tool to not only intimidate but also gauge a persons response as telling if they are strong or weak. Whenever I'm asked this question I give an authoritative exact count as quickly as possible to project strength for just that reason. Sometimes I'll ask the same question right back too.
 

Poker Zombie

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Wait a min .... so a player when asked for a count does not have to tell them (assuming neat stacks)? I thought that was a tourney rule in casinos
It is not. In fact, asking for a count is the most reliable tells to gather on an opponent. If his hands are shaking from adrenaline, he has a very good hand.

The problem is, that player may think bottom set is a very good hand against your weak flush.
 

upNdown

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While it is true a player is not compelled to answer and the dealer is under no obligation to count down a players stack unless they have committed it to the pot this is more of an etiquette thing than anything else.
Now that I think about it, When I’m genuinely interested in how many chips an opponent has, I’ll just ask to see their stack. Or more often, I’ll just motion with my head - people know what that means. I’ll usually only try to get a verbal response when I’m looking for some kind of read.
So the more I think about it, the more I think that giving a verbal response is totally discretionary and not a matter of etiquette at all.
 

DoubleEagle

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Wait a min .... so a player when asked for a count does not have to tell them (assuming neat stacks)? I thought that was a tourney rule in casinos

TDA Rule 25: Cards & Chips Kept Visible, Countable, & Manageable. Discretionary Color-Ups

A: Players are entitled to a reasonable estimation of their opponents’ chip counts; thus chips should be kept in countable stacks. The TDA recommends clean stacks of 20 chips each as a standard. Higher denomination chips must be visible and identifiable at all times.
 

AWenger

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I think it's technically correct that you're never entitled to an exact count (edit: of chips behind, not yet committed to the pot), you're entitled to enough information that you should be able to get by your opponent allowing you to see all chip stacks and high denom chips. If your opponent won't verbally answer the question, they should not be allowed to block or obstruct your vision of their chip stacks or high denom chips if you ask to see them.

I've asked this question many times at the table, but it's often when players sit with their hands or forearms in front of their chips, especially when they have cards in front of them, and have their hands guarding their cards and blocking their chips, or maybe they have a drink blocking their chips, etc.

Sometime I might ask 'how many chips do you have behind' or sometimes ask 'can you move your hands so I can see how many chips you have', or in cash games where a red $5 is the main chip, 'do you have any green (or black) (or high denom) chips'?

Of course, I'm not really asking for an exact count. As players, especially when we're considering making a bet in a pot, we need to make sure be aware of what the opposing players have in their chip stack. (Are they a short stack who might jam? Do they have higher value chips that may be blocked from view? Etc.). Opposing players in games I've played in will typically always cooperate either answer verbally, move their hands/arms out of the way of their chips, push their higher denom chips to the front/top, or a combination thereof.

I agree; I'll give an answer. That said, on multiple occasions, I've seen Doyle Brunson announce to a table that he doesn't answer those questions. For whatever that's worth.
Indeed, Uncle Doyle wrote and said (including on camera) that it's rude to ask, provided that players' stacks are neat and countable.
He always stood for refusing to answer.
I've watched a whole lot of TV poker games where Doyle was playing, so I think I recall that if someone ever asked for his chip count, he'd at least move his hands/arms out of the way to give an opponent a clear and visible look at all his chips, and in cases where they played with cash bundles on Poker After Dark, where it may not have been clear how many bundles he had in front of him, I seem to recall him making those visible.
 

BukNaked36

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I'm with Doyle. If my chips are squared away, I just make sure they're visible. I think it's unrealistic to expect me to start cutting out chips and counting.

I also think you are taking some risk in provide a rough count. Long session, couple of beers, you're asked for a count and you look down and say "about $300".

You win and you actually have $340, or $360 or $380, you know some red-assed loser is going to get pissy about it.
 

justsomedude

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...and the dealer will only give you a count if THEY go all in, right?

That appears to be correct:

2019 WSOP TOURNAMENT RULES
Section VI - Poker Rules


62. Count of Opponent’s Chip Stack: Participants are entitled to a reasonable estimation of opponents’ chip stacks. Participants may only request a more precise count if facing an all-in bet. The all-in Participant is not required to count; if he opts not to, the dealer or floor will count it. Accepted action applies.

and,

106. Cards and Chip Stacks Kept Visible, Countable, and Manageable. Discretionary Color-Ups: Participants are entitled to a reasonable estimation of an opponent's chip count; thus chips should be kept in countable stacks. Clean stacks in multiples of 20 are recommended as a standard. Participants must keep their higher denomination chips visible and identifiable at all times. Floor People will control the number & denomination of chips in play and may color up at their discretion. Discretionary color ups are to be announced. Participants with live hands must keep their cards in plain view at all times.
 

JustinInMN

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It kind of makes sense to only limit exact counts to all in situations.

I think this is a speed issue. If everyone can ask for an exact count on every hand as soon as someone abuses the rule it will grind the game to a halt.
 
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