Cash Game Procedural Question: Making A Deal (1 Viewer)

merkong

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Procedural question. Last night in a 6 handed cash game there was a situation that I believe we ruled on in a satisfying manner but consider it an open discussion and am tossing it out there for consideration.

Our very live .10/.20 cash game (don’t snicker we have many large pots as our only chips in play are .10 and 1.00) had the following situation.

The hand:
Under the gun all the way around to the button limp in and small blind makes it 1.20 to go with a snap call from the big blind. The table folds all the way around the back to the aggressor.

Flop comes out and small blind check raises a substantial bet by the big blind. Big blind re-raises and small blind calls.

Turn hits the board and small blind checks and then flat calls a large bet by the big blind.

River hits the board. Small blind shuffles his chips for over a minute while both players are beginning to wonder how good they are or aren’t.

Small blind plunks his shuffle chips on his stack and sits back in his chair and proceeds to offer a mutual muck and splitting of the pot right then and there to the big blind since this $30+ pot was vastly built by the two remaining players.

A player out of the hand weighed in and stated that such a deal might hint of impropriety if there were new players in the room. Both involved parties acknowledged this and countered with it’s a cash game and they have the right to make a deal and move on in addition to them having almost exclusively built the pot.

Ultimately the chop of the pot was endorsed by the house and all parties in the room on the condition that it was a one time exemption until a greater precedent could be established.

We are tight knit group of players who are skilled and trusting of one another but are growing our pool of 15 or so players (9-10 regular attendees to the Friday and Saturday night cash games) so optics and consistency are important. We run most all ins twice and simply enjoy the freedoms that a cash game can often provide.

What say the PCF?

Stay well.

merkong (Ken)
just a home poker host in MN
 

TheOffalo

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Don’t play in casinos often enough to know if there’s a “standard” rule or etiquette for this in a more “professional” setting, though some casinos do allow chops when only the blinds are involved preflop. Since everyone else limped and then folded to the blinds, and since this is a friendly game of people who know each other, I’d say this falls under however the house rules.

Not quite the same situation but I was in a friendly game where it was just two of us at showdown. Person whose bet I called just tossed his cards forward face down saying “you’re good” (so he was just trying to bet me out). I said “you sure?” He flips over his cards (hadn’t been collected by the dealer yet). I laugh and turn over same hand (no flush possibility so suits didn’t matter, no pair, not even Ace high) and I tell him we’ll chop.

Edit: I’m pretty sure we were the blinds and everyone else folded. I can’t imagine how else we ended up in that situation with the crap cards we had. I called the river because it was small enough and it was near the end of a long session and everyone was a bit loose and punchy.
 
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TheOffalo

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Thinking about it more, if you’re growing your player pool, say you got a new guy who seems like he might be more of a stickler for “proper” poker. You can bring up this situation and ask what he’d do.

If he says he wouldn’t chop, that’s his prerogative and hopefully there wouldn’t be peer pressure to agree, but if he complains that the situation shouldn’t even be allowed then you can explain the friendly nature of the game. Set expectations. Doesn’t mean your way or the highway, and if he has valid points, might be worth considering. But it’s your table.

I think most new players/“guests” at a table try to feel out the “vibe” of a particular game and act accordingly. At least I do. Those who don’t do that and may potentially bring down the rest of the table can politely find another game. :ROFL: :ROFLMAO:
 

merkong

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Valid point for sure.

One of our biggest considerations is how our game looks to visitor/hopeful returnees.
 

TheOffalo

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It’s definitely tough. We have a core group of 10ish players but generally it’s hard to put together more than 6-7 for a live game. We definitely want more players but have to balance their “fit” with us. We play some wacky circus games, are loud and occasionally inappropriate, etc.

I think the circus games are what may potentially throw a new person off most out of anything. Everyone’s used to NLH, maybe some PLO, but other games take some getting used to and people don’t like to step out of their comfort zones.

People can adjust their play style or attitude for a particular table or home game but when you’re not super familiar with how to play (and win) at a game, everything else gets thrown out the window.
 
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scoobydoobs

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I’m one of the regulars at that game but had left before this went down. I think it’s okay as long as there is low suspicion for collusion and everyone else at the table is okay with it. It’s not too different from running it twice to lower variance and having a chop pot. Still interested what other people think.
 

moose

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Table stakes for a reason.

Do you let players simply give chips to each other during the game? This is essentially what happened.

Mucking without showing the rest of the table what these two guys were going to war with is especially circumspect.
 

umbkcshah

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In a friendly home game, I think it's fine. Obviously not something that you want to have happen regularly. Recently I was in a game where all the money went in preflop with a little more action. It was a coin flip. Players in the hand agreed to run it once for 25 each instead of 150ish each. No issues.

In a casino, the pot would be awarded to the winner, players can settle away from the table how they see fit.
 
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FDLmold

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I'm ok with the decision. Once. With a warning that nobody ever does it again. Once 2+ players see a flop, everybody checks, bets, raises, calls, or folds, and that's the entire list.
 

surfik

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Poker is mutuall weager game...

As only 2 players were involved in hand I think they can make a deal as they please...

Its something you can discuss and regulate on your own.
For instance.... If both parties involved agree to split pot, all blinds and bets from other players involved in the hand will be returned...
 

DeusEx

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It hinders the spirit of the game, and should not be allowed.

What is good for the gander is good for the tom. Meaning if you can do, I can do it.

It invites collusion, and or creates a scenario for resentment and does not foster play. Here is how:

Dealt in the hand I see two people bet and bet and bet, then when there should be a winner and a loser, the two decide to chop up MY money. What prevents this from happening in the future, when I have a substantial amount of money? Sure (it sounds like) there was very small amount of money in the pot, but it's not about the amount. It sets a very bad precedent.

How do I know they didn't pre-arrange to just pound it?
 

Joe Harris

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As the saying goes, if your game is not growing, it's dying. One way to encourage growth is to avoid, as much as possible, weirdness that deviates from 'normal' poker rules. If this were my game, I would have allowed them to split the pot this one time as a good faith concession, but formally ban it in the future.

It's not just about these two players either. Maybe one of them would have lost their stack and rebought? Maybe the winner woulda been the guy who bluffs more often? The whole texture of the game is affected by this. The rest of the players have a right to a natural course of events, and chopping random pots in a cash game is not normal.
 

merkong

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It was AK v. Q10 turned a queen and rivered the Ace

AK was scared of two pair Q10 didn’t like the A and both parties were afraid of a flush.
 

moose

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Oh no, we tabled our hands. The whole group saw the monsters we had.
Small blind plunks his shuffle chips on his stack and sits back in his chair and proceeds to offer a mutual muck and splitting of the pot right then and there to the big blind since this $30+ pot was vastly built by the two remaining players.
?
 

buzzmonkey

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I would never allow this in my game. Table stakes. With no rake, there's really no reason to even chop the blinds. Too many opportunities for two players to build a big pot with a third player in the hand, get him to fold and then agree to split his money. If they want to split their winnings after they leave that's their business.
 

Marius L

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If this happens once in a blue moon it doesnt seem like a problem.

In general if there are only two players left in the pot, they are allowed to make deals. Very unlikely that both players agree to this, very unlikely that this will happen often.
 

DeusEx

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offer a mutual muck
I didn't see this, mutual mucking means that no one wins; I'm okay with this, as there is no one that contests the pot, all players would enjoy chopping the pot.
 

merkong

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So I’ve drafted a rule:

“Chopping pots: The chopping of a pot is only permissible when all tabled hands indicate that more than one player has a right to a portion of the pot or when two players are in a showdown, one or both are all in, and the board, or remaining streets of a board, are to be run more than once.”

It will need a review/edit but I believe I’ve captured the essence of what will speak to this.

merkong (ken)
poker host in MN
 

merkong

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I like so much about your response.

A lot of my players get caught up in “circus acts”; deals, props, straddles, insurance, multiple runs, chops…

There is a place for some things but not all things and certainly not anything that is going freak newcomers out.

Our game is right on schedule as far as growth is concerned. It’s my only real objective.

km
 
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TheOffalo

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Too many opportunities for two players to build a big pot with a third player in the hand, get him to fold and then agree to split his money.
That’d definitely not fly in my game, but if two players are peacocking and really it’s only their money in the pot, and they decide to just chop, would probably fly once in a blue moon but no one would let it become a regularly accepted thing.
 

DoubleEagle

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We have never chopped in the cash games I play in, but very occasionally when heads up, someone will offer to check it down. Usually when the pot has exploded.
 

merkong

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Moving forward for us it has to be an accepted thing or not and we’re choosing to make it a not thing. See the drafted rule.
 

timinater

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Not gonna lie, I hate it for two reasons.

1. Can’t imagine not wanting to inflict maximum pain to a buddy in a friendly stakes cash game. $15 is nothing in the real world and no one is going to be in financial distress losing this pot.
2. RROP. I’d suggest you use a set of rules and adhere to it as others have mentioned. It really helps in situations like this and many more having a set of rules in black and white.

Here’s the relevant excerpt from Roberts Rules of Poker. Section 2, procedures section:

15. Splitting pots will not be allowed in any game. Chopping the big and small blind by taking them back when all other players have folded is allowed in button games.

If I saw this in a game I was invited to, I’d wonder what other surprises are in store for me and probably never return.
 

MeridianFC

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Not gonna lie, I hate it for two reasons.

1. Can’t imagine not wanting to inflict maximum pain to a buddy in a friendly stakes cash game. $15 is nothing in the real world and no one is going to be in financial distress losing this pot.
2. RROP. I’d suggest you use a set of rules and adhere to it as others have mentioned. It really helps in situations like this and many more having a set of rules in black and white.

Here’s the relevant excerpt from Roberts Rules of Poker. Section 2, procedures section:



If I saw this in a game I was invited to, I’d wonder what other surprises are in store for me and probably never return.
I agree with this.
 

ArielVer18

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If you want to follow Robert's Rules of Poker, splitting the pot isn't allowed, but an exception is made for chopping the blinds.

Section 2 Procedures #15
Splitting pots will not be allowed in any game. Chopping the big and small blind by taking them back when all other players have folded is allowed in button games.
 

utgtrash

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ive seen this multiple times, where a third person gets folded out by a bet and the two remaining players IMMEDIATELY agree to chop. Even agreeing checking down seems suspect but certainly allowable. I think chopping in this manner shouldn't be allowed, one player can scoop the pot and maybe throwing chips back could be allowed. But if i were the 3rd player i'd still be annoyed and feel like something was wrong.
 

BGinGA

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ive seen this multiple times, where a third person gets folded out by a bet and the two remaining players IMMEDIATELY agree to chop. Even agreeing checking down seems suspect but certainly allowable. I think chopping in this manner shouldn't be allowed, one player can scoop the pot and maybe throwing chips back could be allowed. But if i were the 3rd player i'd still be annoyed and feel like something was wrong.
All three of those examples (chopping, checking down, reallocation of chips) after getting heads-up SCREAM collusion, and not surprisingly, are typically against the rules.
 

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