Dealing with a banned player

ChaosRock

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There have been a few threads recently about bad behavior at the poker table and abut behaviors that are socially inadequate... I experienced one of those last night at a game I hosted for a rotating league. It was not one of my leagues. (Used Aztar Secondaries 5to1Ks, fyi, no pr0n though...)

My objective is not to vent or to ask how to deal with Villain on a personal level, I'm quite clear on that. It is just to get your insights on a practical matter I'll have to deal with.


Okay, Vilain is a friend of a friend and one of those guys that when someone meets him for the first time, the first reaction is to think he's an a-hole, very abrasive. It wasn't different with me. However, after playing poker with him for a couple of years, we actually became sort of friends. I thought that deep down he was an okay guy.


He has been playing in one of my leagues, every two weeks, for the last couple of years, without any issue whatsoever... He likes bourbon and malts just like I do and every game I put a bottle up for us, and the next, he buys a bottle he likes (totally irrelevant for the issue, but I just wanted to illustrate things were good).


I have been sending emails and txt to some of my players about this other game that I sometimes host and Vilain never bothers to respond, not differently than many others though, which is okay.


Yesterday, the day of one of the games, he wrote me asking if it was too late to be included. I mentioned it wasn't my league and I would ask the league owner for a total count. Copied Villain on the email. I never got a response but told Villain that we'd find a way (I can only host a finite number of players of course). Was doing anything I could to include Villain.


He showed up very late without notice (not drunk, came from work)). He took the last seat as there was a cancelation. I had to cover his buy-in upfront. He proceeded to antagonize every player at the table rudely (he ended up at my table). All other guests knew he was 'my friend'. He went to the bathroom and we had to fold his hand pre. He was pissed and started to berate me and other players for it. I explained to him that I was just hosting the game for others so I had to keep the table moving. A few hands later, it happened again as he was getting a dram. He was pissed again and made it clear to everyone. Another few hands later, he calls an all-in terribly bad and was the first one out. He asked for a re-buy and was told there were no re-buys at this league (he had received the flyer stating that!). Pissed again and just left.


At our first break, some people wanted a smoke. They came back asking me where I had put all their shoes. I went up to the front door and found out Villain had put ALL of the guests shoes by the sidewalk, a good 80ft from the door. I live in Michigan, and not only was the ground covered by 6 inches of snow but it was still snowing like crazy. (I know some of you might be laughing, which is fine!)


To me, it crossed the line as he did that to players he had never met before. But in my mind, it wasn't done to aggravate the other players, it was done to me! If he had done that with my shoes only, I'd be pretty pissed but friends sometimes do that kinda shit, so "maybe" I'd take it as a practical joke. He did that to all the other players, which were guests at MY house. All of them knew it was done by a player that "I", not only invited, but pushed for it. There's no three strikes for this one. He disrespected me, my guests, my house. Done.


Now, the practical question if you sticked around till now :) We are in the middle of a season in a league I host and he plays regularly. He's accumulated leagues fees. I won't allow him to play at my house anymore, so what to do? Keep his fees? Give his fees back from the pot? Give him his fee back from my pocket? Suck it up and keep the guys until the season is over? How to approach other players about him being banned? He's a bit below mid-pack in points... And he's always stuck in cash games afterwards, not that it matters to me...


I'm sure you guys will have great insights about it!!! Thank you all!
 
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detroitdad

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Do you have any type of League rules to cover this? i.e...your behavior gets you banned you lose your fees? If not, I would probably refund him out of my pocket. Let him know he is banned (if he doesn't know already) and call it a day. It sucks, but your right. Fucking with the guests he doesn't know (or even does know) at a tourney is unacceptable an childish.
 

ChaosRock

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Thanks guys!!! I appreciate it... Yes, unforgivable... I put together a few pages of rules for my league a few years back but I did not include anything about bad behavior... When you start a league with friends, that's the last thing you're thinking... It covers the mechanics of the league and of the games for the most part... Lesson learned...

I was reading the rules again and the only thing that might cover it is the last rule, which states any omissions will be deliberated by the organizers... That is it...
 
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detroitdad

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make sure you add it for next season :).

If you allow him to continue playing it could eventually cause you to lose solid players that don't want to put up with his shit.
 

ChaosRock

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Absolutely!!

The ONLY way I'd allow him to play is if there's a strong contention from his part supported by other players, which is very unlikely but not impossible. And that would be only until the current league is over, not beyond that by any means...

make sure you add it for next season :).

If you allow him to continue playing it could eventually cause you to lose solid players that don't want to put up with his shit.
 

Jeff

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My gut tell me to give him the fee and cut him in this case. The shoe deal is unforgivable.

this. Don't need rules to perma ban. You don't want to keep his money. You have to hope he isn't going to narc you out to authorities if Michegan gambling laws don't allow your game.
 

ChaosRock

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Right on Jeff! His (current) money is really not welcomed in the league anymore from my perspective ... But if it is to other players, I can give it back from my own pocket (although that might create a bad precedent)...

Not too worried about the narc-ing aspect of it from him for reasons I rather not disclose... But we never really know...

this. Don't need rules to perma ban. You don't want to keep his money. You have to hope he isn't going to narc you out to authorities if Michegan gambling laws don't allow your game.
 

BGinGA

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this. Don't need rules to perma ban. You don't want to keep his money. You have to hope he isn't going to narc you out to authorities if Michegan gambling laws don't allow your game.

This would be my biggest concern as well. Anybody immature enough to pull off the shoe nonsense is capable of doing anything.
 

grandgnu

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League fees back (from the league or from your pocket) and he's out. Sorry you had to deal with that situation, really sucks
 

ChaosRock

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Thanks Tony!! Yeah, it sucks and I feel really bad for the players that had to deal with Villain last night... They have been cool about it though... I am leaning towards using the fee pool rather than my pocket... Not for selfish reasons as I would gladly pay for not having him here anymore... It's more a matter of creating a league 'policy' for lack of a better word...

League fees back (from the league or from your pocket) and he's out. Sorry you had to deal with that situation, really sucks

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I hear you Dave... Yeah, it could definitely be a problem although I don't think it's very likely... As you pointed out though, he's shown what he's capable of...

This would be my biggest concern as well. Anybody immature enough to pull off the shoe nonsense is capable of doing anything.
 

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Depending on how steep the league fees are, I would simply ban him and leave it at that. No refunds. Shit, I would probably tell him a stray dog made off with one of so-and-so's shoes. He owes $90 to replace the shoes.

This is just one reason I don't like league fees. You are offering something that you may not be able to make good on. Banning a player, a player develops a serious medical issue and cannot play, a player relocates out of the area, or something happens to the host where they can no longer host. I like each game to be the opening and the closing of the subject. League prizes can come out of a gentle per-game rake of the prize-pool. I know some jurisdictions say rakes are illegal, but if you are using the rake to buy prizes, it's not a rake anymore, is it?
 

ChaosRock

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Doing some research on MI Gambling Law and it seems my league fits very well within the LEGAL "Social Game" definition... I should be okay from that perspective...

This would be my biggest concern as well. Anybody immature enough to pull off the shoe nonsense is capable of doing anything.

this. Don't need rules to perma ban. You don't want to keep his money. You have to hope he isn't going to narc you out to authorities if Michegan gambling laws don't allow your game.

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Thanks Zombie!

The fees are not too steep ($50 BI includes $10 league fee) and they are paid as part of the initial buy-in on every game played, so not paid all upfront. In a sense, it does work almost as a 'rake' as you define it... And per MI law, since the house is not keeping ANY of it, it is still legal...

I think keeping Villain's fee would only create more contention, but it's definitely a possibility if other players feel it's the right thing to do...

Depending on how steep the league fees are, I would simply ban him and leave it at that. No refunds. Shit, I would probably tell him a stray dog made off with one of so-and-so's shoes. He owes $90 to replace the shoes.

This is just one reason I don't like league fees. You are offering something that you may not be able to make good on. Banning a player, a player develops a serious medical issue and cannot play, a player relocates out of the area, or something happens to the host where they can no longer host. I like each game to be the opening and the closing of the subject. League prizes can come out of a gentle per-game rake of the prize-pool. I know some jurisdictions say rakes are illegal, but if you are using the rake to buy prizes, it's not a rake anymore, is it?
 

detroitdad

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I agree about not having League fee's.

We have a 20 player league. The hosts (I host twice a year) provide soda/water and dinner (usually pizza). There are no league fee's. We rake 10% of the initial buy in every game. ALL the money goes to the League Championship game. If its a rebuy game 100% of any rebuy's is put back into that games payout structure.
 

ChaosRock

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That's exactly what I do, but I call League Fee... In my case it's 20% instead... Other difference is that I use half of that for the ToC and half of that to the top 3 players in points before ToC... ToC stacks are even for all best 10 players in points...

I agree about not having League fee's.

We have a 20 player league. The hosts (I host twice a year) provide soda/water and dinner (usually pizza). There are no league fee's. We rake 10% of the initial buy in every game. ALL the money goes to the League Championship game. If its a rebuy game 100% of any rebuy's is put back into that games payout structure.
 

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Definitely pay him out from the league. It makes clear that he had made himself unwelcome by the group, not just you.

And make sure to have two other people with you as witnesses, because you can't expect him to be happy and sign a receipt.
 

ChaosRock

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It makes absolute sense MN...

Definitely pay him out from the league. It makes clear that he had made himself unwelcome by the group, not just you.

And make sure to have two other people with you as witnesses, because you can't expect him to be happy and sign a receipt.
 

Mojo1312

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Please, please, please do not give this guy a refund. His money belongs to the league. Poker is a social game; therefore all members are guests of the host, and are expected to carry themselves accordingly. Any poker player know this, so don't punish the well behaved players by issuing this guy a refund for his antics. I can't believe this is even up for discussion.

He should have to take ownership of his bad behavior, not you, which is exactly what you are doing if you reimburse him. (Hey man, I am terribly sorry that you are no longer welcome at my place anymore. Here is your share of the league fees. I hope there are no hard feelings.)

Again, as the host, you need to look out for the interest of your league when you are dealing with a self-absorbed schmuck. (Which includes their financial interest) Tell Mr. Sneakers he is done, without any apology or long good-bye.
 
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TexRex

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I'd go with pay him back from the league. Like Zombie, I'm not wild about league fees. Last year ours were $2/game/player, which isn't much. But we had one die, two whose spouses died, and those 3 got no benefit. We had other players who got sick for the Main Event (held Jan. 10, so they left just a little while ago), and one missed because of a sick child. Two were out of town. This year, I'm not starting off collecting a league fee until I come up with a way to do that I can feel good about.

By paying him back, you have no obligation to him at all. He can't claim that's unfair. It does have the "league ban" feel and not the personal ban feel. Future hassles because he didn't get paid back are just not worth it. You might be surprised at how sympathies might change if some realize he didn't get paid back. Pay it back, and no one has a real complaint. If someone says "he was here and his money belongs in," counter with "then we need to let him finish the year." If you do let him finish the year, what keeps him from being a model citizen and asking to be reinstated. He could apologize, and then it gets really awkward.

I experienced a player coming to my game drunk and causing so many problems more than half the other players complained. He said rude, crude, and socially unacceptable things to my daughter. I didn't know about any of that while it happened. I did ban him. But the result was I got banned in another game we both went to. The host removed both of us until "we worked things out." He said he had a problem playing with me, but I don't have a problem playing with him. So there wasn't anything to work out. I asked for my league fees back in that game. The host disagreed with my handling of the situation, but I didn't do anything wrong in her game. While there are a lot of lessons there, the fact is as justified as it seems to you to boot him, it might not seem that way to others. That situation really hurt two games. I have 7 people who never returned after that, and she had a similar number though I don't know exactly how many she had. I just know that game got a lot smaller real quick, and eventually she moved and the game ended. BTW, that situation is what caused me to go to a membership concept. I figured I could always remove someone and pay their membership fee back. But it hasn't come up.

While I disagree with Mojo on whether to pay the guy back, I absolutely agree with his last comment. He's done -- no apology or long good-bye.
 

grandgnu

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By paying him back, you have no obligation to him at all. He can't claim that's unfair. It does have the "league ban" feel and not the personal ban feel. Future hassles because he didn't get paid back are just not worth it. You might be surprised at how sympathies might change if some realize he didn't get paid back. Pay it back, and no one has a real complaint. If someone says "he was here and his money belongs in," counter with "then we need to let him finish the year." If you do let him finish the year, what keeps him from being a model citizen and asking to be reinstated. He could apologize, and then it gets really awkward.

Tex knocked it out of the park with the above.
 

ChaosRock

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The fact there's many angles to the situation is exactly why I wanted to get you guys' feedback...

I agree with Mojo's point in principle... If I was running a semi-pro league that would probably be the way to go... However it's a league composed solely by friends and friends of friends that also became friends... I agree with Tony, TexRex got it I think... But he also got it when stating that such actions might hurt the game in other ways... X is better friends with Y who disagrees with Z and so on and so forth... It is not a position that I would like to be in but I guess it's inevitable from the point I decided to host a league...

It seems it's sort of unanimous Villain should be banned... Anyone believe's I'm overreacting and his actions were just a prank albeit in really poor taste?
 

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If I were a member of your league and you said you were going to pay him back his fees, I would be disappointed, but would probably not make much of a fuss - unless I had to move or something else happened that prevented me from playing poker with the group. Then I would expect my fees back. You opened the door to cash out, and my request would be much nicer than Mr. Shoe Man. In fact, I shouldn't even have to request (Shoe guy didn't have to).

If you leave in the middle of a game, I don't pay you back. It doesn't matter if it is because you got banned in the middle of the game, (has not happened) or because your wife called (happened), or because your dog bit a little girl in the face (also happened). Money in the pot goes to winners. Shoe man is a loser.

League fees pay for a year long tournament. If you leave in the middle of a year long tournament, You shouldn't get paid any more than if you left mid game. Your points remain in play the same way your chips remain on the table. Maybe you win something, and I will give you that reward. You'll probably lose though, and I won't pay jack.

I'm a little disturbed that the only one siding with me is Mojo.
 

ChaosRock

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I agree Zombie! And I agree with Mojo as well, in principle... That is the fairest way of dealing with the situation... And as I said, that would be the way I'd do it if the league was a little less friendly than it is... Friendships complicate things a bit, but again, I agree with you guys' premise... I had mentioned a few posts back my concern with precedent also...

At this point I am leaning towards writing Shoe Man a note communicating his banning... Writing a note to all league members explaining Shoe Man's banning... And mention absolutely nothing about his league fees, assuming keeping his fees are a given... If there's contention then I'll need a plan, either be firm on no refunds or pay him back... Again, for me (not speaking for other league members) I couldn't care less about his fees... I am just trying to get it right in balancing fairness, friendship and minimizing future headaches...

If I were a member of your league and you said you were going to pay him back his fees, I would be disappointed, but would probably not make much of a fuss - unless I had to move or something else happened that prevented me from playing poker with the group. Then I would expect my fees back. You opened the door to cash out, and my request would be much nicer than Mr. Shoe Man. In fact, I shouldn't even have to request (Shoe guy didn't have to).

If you leave in the middle of a game, I don't pay you back. It doesn't matter if it is because you got banned in the middle of the game, (has not happened) or because your wife called (happened), or because your dog bit a little girl in the face (also happened). Money in the pot goes to winners. Shoe man is a loser.

League fees pay for a year long tournament. If you leave in the middle of a year long tournament, You shouldn't get paid any more than if you left mid game. Your points remain in play the same way your chips remain on the table. Maybe you win something, and I will give you that reward. You'll probably lose though, and I won't pay jack.

I'm a little disturbed that the only one siding with me is Mojo.
 
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It is possible that villain may realize that he's not wanted at the game any longer. He kind of burned a bridge with the shoes. I'd simply not contact him about future games as it seems that he contacted you before showing last time so it's unlikely that he'll just show up out of the blue next time. If he does contact you about playing, I'd let him know that he's been banned for his unacceptable behavior. If he asks for this fees back (which it could be possible that he doesn't, knowing that he has to take responsibility for his action) ask him "why do you think that we would offer refunds to anyone?". If he puts up a real fuss, pay him off and be done with him. Also, didn't you front him the buyin last game?
 

ChaosRock

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When Villain contacted me about a spot for Friday, it was for the 'rotating league' game, different players, structure, days, etc... For the league I host and run, in which he's a regular, if I don't contact Villain I can GUARANTEE you he's gonna show up as if nothing has happened, hahahahaha... You know the type... Just exchanged txt with a friend, the one who introduced Villain to me a few years back and he told me Shoe Man call him Friday after he got busted to laugh about what he had done... I don't think he really realized what he had done, or maybe he thinks I'm a pushover in which case he's sorely wrong...

He did pay me the buy-in back a little after he sat down... So one less issue...

It is possible that villain may realize that he's not wanted at the game any longer. He kind of burned a bridge with the shoes. I'd simply not contact him about future games as it seems that he contacted you before showing last time so it's unlikely that he'll just show up out of the blue next time. If he does contact you about playing, I'd let him know that he's been banned for his unacceptable behavior. If he asks for this fees back (which it could be possible that he doesn't, knowing that he has to take responsibility for his action) ask him "why do you think that we would offer refunds to anyone?". If he puts up a real fuss, pay him off and be done with him. Also, didn't you front him the buyin last game?
 

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If you have a daycare center and there is one child who throws temper tantrums in front of the other kids because they are not playing games his way, and then in retaliation he places all of their shoes down near the road in a snowstorm, what would you do? Give the parent a refund?

Whether you care to admit it or not, by giving Mr. Sneaker a refund, you are putting his interests ahead of the leagues. You are also sending the message to others that you can get your league fees refunded if you are an inconsiderate ass-hat.

Your players will respect you more if you take a firm stand. If you are going to ban Mr. Sneakers, then do it with a phone call and not a note.

Also, a rake is different from an actual league fee that is paid up front before the season starts, as others have pointed out.

I agree with you Chaos, most leagues are composed "solely by friends and friends of friends that also became friends". Building new friendships is the wonderful thing about poker. However, a host's role isn't about being friends with everyone. His duty is to protect the game and to look out for the interest of the league. This guy has forfeited through his lack of respect and behavior any right to a refund, pure and simple.
 

grandgnu

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The problem I see is that this guy is nuts enough to do that to everyones shoes, what's he going to do to your game if you don't refund him his fees? Do you really need the potential grief this guy might cause if he feels you've "robbed" him (which, he might view it as, regardless of your perspective)

I just think giving him his fees back and banning him is least likely to result in additional headaches for you and the other players in the future (i.e. him showing up slashing tires, him showing up at your house when the game isn't going on, him reporting your game to the cops, etc)

I just think the potential risks outweigh the benefits in keeping his league fees. I'd simply contact him and say:

What you did with everyones shoes was completely unacceptable. The league has decided to refund your league fees and not have you continue participating in the league moving forward.
 

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I understand and appreciate the argument being made here that money "in play" should stay in the pool, and to the degree that money contributed to league fees goes towards end-of-year prizes and tournaments, that certainly makes sense.

But I think it's important to differentiate between a player whose life situation prevents them from playing out the season - they move, they get busy, they don't feel like playing any more - and someone who gets banned. In the case of a ban of someone who was cheating at the tables, things are clear. But some may argue that Shoe-Man was doing what he thought was a harmless prank. I agree that it's more than a harmless prank, and it has made him non-grata and should be banned. But since this is a situation where a league might or might not ban him, it sounds voluntary on the part of the league. So he's losing his interest in the league fees in play, but it's not voluntary on his part, it's a choice the league is making.

If it's debatable at all, I think the thing to do is pay back his league fees. It's important to do so to protect the league. True, some may argue you're being too kind to him, but the thing you want to avoid is others thinking the league is taking advantage of people to hold on to their pre-paid fees. On Shoe-Man's part - if he has a vested interest in the pre-paid fees, he has more reason to complain about being banned, and resisting it. By paying him out, you minimize the chances of him feeling the need to "get even" for his loss by pulling other not-so-harmless pranks.

Think: after losing his money to those guys, he felt it was appropriate to "get even" by putting their shoes outside in bad weather. If he loses his fees to the league, what's to say he doesn't show up on the night of the big tournament and give everyone a flat tire to "get even"?

I say minimize the risk for everyone, even if it might be "too fair" to the guy, and pay him out.
 
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Mojo1312

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I base all of my decisions in life upon fear. Sure, I may have to sacrifice my principles, but I am secure. Really. I am.
 

grandgnu

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I base all of my decisions in life upon fear. Sure, I may have to sacrifice my principles, but I am secure. Really. I am.

Sometimes people settle out of court because it's a lot cheaper and less time-consuming than a protracted legal battle. I see this in a similar vein. The villain isn't being paid back all of his buyins for games played in, just the league fees that contribute to the end-of-season prize pool that he is no longer eligible for (and thus has wasted his time playing all those events earning points)
 
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