How do you deal with drunk players? WWYD? (2 Viewers)

Lord_Foldemort

High Hand
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I had a potentially unsafe situation happen at one of my cash games a few months back and would love feedback on what I can do to prevent this going forward.
  • Do you collect keys at the beginning of the game?
    • One of my regs got mildly drunk and when the game was done, refused to sleep on the couch, take an Uber, or let one of us drive him home. I had another player follow him to make sure he got home safely. He got home safely but was all over the sidewalk and road on the way there.
  • Do you cut them off from booze?
    • He was drinking the booze that he brought, and the only reason he didn't get more drunk was because he ran out of his own booze.
  • Do you cut them off and cash them out if their play is getting reckless?
    • This same player ran hot early in the game but began to hemorrhage toward the middle of the game as he got drunk, he left with no money. Part of me feels like it was his decision to drink, and I am not responsible for looking out for his stack. The other part of me feels horrible for lifting 2 starting stacks off of him while he was playing sloppy. (We don't play for crazy money, its a 25/50c game).
Should this player even get an invite back? He's a solid player who brings good action, this is the first time something like this has happened, but I just want to avoid potentially unsafe situations in the future. Would love feedback!
 
This is a potentially very dangerous situation for all involved.

You should gather keys. Make sure everyone knows this is going to be a rule. Those who do not agree do not get invited.

As host, ultimately you will need to make a decision about how safe someone is to leave your house. Have an agreement on alternate conveyance if you decide to not let someone drive.

People will play while drunk, stoned, tilted, etc. That is, technically, their problem, if they voluntarily handicap themselves in this way. This is a separate issue from DUI.
 
This might seem like I'm being dramatic, but he would never drink at my house again, we'll see about playing. Sure, one night is a mistake, but letting him into a car was a very bad decision. I'm sorry this happened, its an awkward spot you're in but letting him leave your house and drive drunk was a very scary thing.

If your friend is following him, what if he blows a stop sign or red light and kills someone? Is it going to help having someone watching over him while he does it? You're saying he was on the sidewalk, what if someone was walking a dog or just strolling? These aren't just hypotheticals they happen every single night. Bringing up that he's an action player and the money he gambled with before making the decision is frustrating.

I can't get past the driving, someone else can comment on the stacks but no, I don't feel bad about the couple hundred he blew, think about the court case and potential losses of his decisions after the game. Calling it potentially unsafe is insulting, it was 100% unsafe. Just because nothing came of it didn't make it less dangerous or unsafe.
 
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Would be interesting to know what one's legal obligations are. Clearly your level of concern and attempts to mitigate in the moment were sincere and appropriate. (Although I'm not saying you did enough, nor am I saying you didn't.)

I wouldn't invite this player back, though.
 
If you went to the extra effort to have someone follow him home, you should have insisted that somebody else simultaneously drive his car home. No excuses, no arguments, no objections, and call the police if he absolutely won't comply. The potential tragic consequences are not worth letting him leave on his own in that condition.

Make it a house rule -- no impaired driving when leaving the game, period.
 
i had a family member I had to drop from my invite list permanently because they drank a whole bottle of whiskey and proceeded to verbally berate other players. I hope the individual gets the help they need, but they don’t seem to recognize the issue yet, unfortunately.

If a player in my game got over served I would call them an Uber and then drive their car home to them the next day.
 
Poker games are a symbiotic thing. All players kinda have to play by the house rules and enjoy the stay to make it work and keep surviving....

I won't take keys, but if you are too drunk, I'll cut you off and stop the boozing at the table. If they lose there ass, that's on them. If we reach a situation where they are trying to borrow to rebuy, I'll cut that off. But if they got the cash, that is there decision to live with.

If they are blacked out and demand to drive home, they will be warned we will notify the police of a unsafe situation. We will get them a ride, call them a ride, or I'll buy them a Uber. But limits have to be made clear, and the table has to understand them before the game and boozing starts.
 
If you went to the extra effort to have someone follow him home, you should have insisted that somebody else simultaneously drive his car home. No excuses, no arguments, no objections, and call the police if he absolutely won't comply. The potential tragic consequences are not worth letting him leave on his own in that condition.

Make it a house rule -- no impaired driving when leaving the game, period.
This.

He wouldn't have another drop of alcohol at my game ever again after this. Doesn't like it? He doesn't have to come back.
 
If he won't take the help offered to him (couch, rides, Uber) then fuck him completely.

Outside of the moral issue, which you were definitely trying to be on the right side of, there are legal issues. Look up "Social Host Laws". Your situation is tricky because he was a drinking his own booze, but it was under your roof.

There is no amount of action he can bring that is worth him killing someone on the road.

[EDIT]

Forgot my specific advice. Have straight talk with him. "Dude, you get that wasted again, scratch that, you get even tipsy and try to drive I'm taking your keys and you're not coming back to this game ever."

I note you're in SC where social poker is not technically legal imagine this dude just gets in a fender bender and any of this comes back on you, you're in for some significant unhappiness.
 
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One of my regs got mildly drunk
He got home safely but was all over the sidewalk and road on the way there.
Maybe he simply doesn’t handle alcohol well, but this sounds more like near blackout drunk.

For everyone that’s going to clutch their pearls and announce that that would never happen at their house, what’s the line?

Is it a legal responsibility and law abiding aspect, you simply wouldn’t let someone above the legal limit drive home?

Or is it a moral aspect of not putting others in harms way, and dependent on how someone is handling their inebriation?

I’m not playing devils advocate, I just don’t quite believe it. Being newish to the whole attending and hosting poker, it def was a learning experience as it’s venue dependent for everyone but host and goes hand in hand with inebriation.

If I’m attending, I’m likely good especially since I’m most likely not drinking unless it’s a meetup.

If I’m hosting, there’s a giant couch and a spare bedroom to nap it off or stay the night. I’m not stopping someone that’s buzzed or over the limit from leaving. Blackout drunk it shouldn’t be that hard is to trick you into staying. Nab your keys and get some pizza in your mouth, tell you to go sit on the couch.

But again, I have a heard time imagining hosts who run games with alcohol present and a strong emphasis on not allowing anyone driving away that aren’t above legal/moral reproach.
 
I appreciate all the constructive feedback. It was definitely a horrible situation with potentially horrible outcomes. I suppose I should have mentioned that he was seemingly coherent (definitely more so than he was mid-game) and was by no means blackout stumbling out of the door on the way to his car, which is obviously a no-brainer. If I had a time machine I would go back and do more. Unfortunately, all I can do is control what happens going forward, which is why I am getting feedback from you all (people more wise and experienced than myself when it comes to hosting). While I am grateful nothing bad happened, I am determined to prevent this from happening in the future.
 
Maybe he simply doesn’t handle alcohol well, but this sounds more like near blackout drunk.

For everyone that’s going to clutch their pearls and announce that that would never happen at their house, what’s the line?

Is it a legal responsibility and law abiding aspect, you simply wouldn’t let someone above the legal limit drive home?

Or is it a moral aspect of not putting others in harms way, and dependent on how someone is handling their inebriation?

I’m not playing devils advocate, I just don’t quite believe it. Being newish to the whole attending and hosting poker, it def was a learning experience as it’s venue dependent for everyone but host and goes hand in hand with inebriation.

If I’m attending, I’m likely good especially since I’m most likely not drinking unless it’s a meetup.

If I’m hosting, there’s a giant couch and a spare bedroom to nap it off or stay the night. I’m not stopping someone that’s buzzed or over the limit from leaving. Blackout drunk it shouldn’t be that hard is to trick you into staying. Nab your keys and get some pizza in your mouth, tell you to go sit on the couch.

But again, I have a heard time imagining hosts who run games with alcohol present and a strong emphasis on not allowing anyone driving away that aren’t above legal/moral reproach.
Good points. I don't breathalyze folks at my games but if someone was obviously impaired I would act.

This case sounds pretty black and white. Fella was McWasted.
 
Maybe he simply doesn’t handle alcohol well, but this sounds more like near blackout drunk.

For everyone that’s going to clutch their pearls and announce that that would never happen at their house, what’s the line?

Is it a legal responsibility and law abiding aspect, you simply wouldn’t let someone above the legal limit drive home?

Or is it a moral aspect of not putting others in harms way, and dependent on how someone is handling their inebriation?

I’m not playing devils advocate, I just don’t quite believe it. Being newish to the whole attending and hosting poker, it def was a learning experience as it’s venue dependent for everyone but host and goes hand in hand with inebriation.

If I’m attending, I’m likely good especially since I’m most likely not drinking unless it’s a meetup.

If I’m hosting, there’s a giant couch and a spare bedroom to nap it off or stay the night. I’m not stopping someone that’s buzzed or over the limit from leaving. Blackout drunk it shouldn’t be that hard is to trick you into staying. Nab your keys and get some pizza in your mouth, tell you to go sit on the couch.

But again, I have a heard time imagining hosts who run games with alcohol present and a strong emphasis on not allowing anyone driving away that aren’t above legal/moral reproach.
I host regularly and have had to either buy Ubers for people or drive their car home the next day. We can definitely discuss the line and how it becomes blurred throughout a night, but if someones drinking that much booze at the table its usually obvious. When hosting, I always ask about whos driving home and whos not, and if that looks like its going to change I bring it up. Doesnt solve all problems but makes it much much easier.

This is about them not hurting others with their decision making. Yes, I would feel responsible for anything that happened if I had the thought that it was bad enough to have them followed, but not stopping them. Would never feel responsible for them getting drunk and losing a few buyins.

Definitely dependent on how they handle it, I wont be doing sobriety tests but if theres any doubt, they're staying the night.
 
Offer to drive him home. If he refuses tell him he's 86ed indefinitely and you'll be calling the police immediately to report an impaired driver on the road.
 
I appreciate all the constructive feedback. It was definitely a horrible situation with potentially horrible outcomes. I suppose I should have mentioned that he was seemingly coherent (definitely more so than he was mid-game) and was by no means blackout stumbling out of the door on the way to his car, which is obviously a no-brainer. If I had a time machine I would go back and do more. Unfortunately, all I can do is control what happens going forward, which is why I am getting feedback from you all (people more wise and experienced than myself when it comes to hosting). While I am grateful nothing bad happened, I am determined to prevent this from happening in the future.
Appreciate the outlook. Hosting is tough sometimes, totally get that mistakes happen. Sorry if I laid it on thick, I don't want tragedy to be the teacher. We lost someone to a drunk driver that swore he was feeling fine leaving a party and its just frustrating.
 
Everyone drinking at our league games either has a DD or takes an Uber/Lyft. Not b/c we have a rule but because they are mostly responsible adults (at least with regard to this issue). There is no social host liability in Texas (for adults) regardless of who owns the booze being consumed but that does not mean you will not still get sued if something happens (have seen it happen before). Case will ultimately not be successful but you will still have to deal with a potentially major legal hassle. I would tell him and everyone else if you are drinking, you need to carpool with a DD or in an Uber to and from the game or do not bother coming.
 
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My crew doesn't drink a whole lot typically. A few do. I offer two spare bedrooms and several couches plus air mattresses if anyone decides to overindulge. These have been used. Others plan ahead and carpool, Uber, have their wife drop off and pick up. People who didn't plan ahead have left their car and come back for it in the morning.

Thankfully I haven't had to intervene and police anyone, they have always been responsible on their own or accepted my standing offer of hospitality. I do watch for this though.
 
Before instituting a new policy, like taking keys, cutting off, etc, I think it’s also important to have a conversation with him that you care about him and you’re concerned about the potential harm to others, and that’s why you’re making these changes to how you handle drinking at your game.
You may get a better reaction…but if he pushes back, then you know where you stand about inviting him back.
 
My game culture is a little different. Definitely welcome to have a drink or two, but you are expected to stay sober enough to keep up with the action.

This alose really limits issues. I had one friend of a friend get a bit wasted during a long tournament a couple months back. To the point he couldn't shuffle. Thankfully there was food and he was in a much better spot by the time he left. It was a couple hours.

I had our friend relay to him that he can't get that messed up again at my game.

So that's as close as it's been to a keep someone in the house decision.

If the culture is about getting drunk while playing a game then definitely take precautions and plan accomodations. If it's about the game first, keeping everyone sober enough is just part of culture.
 
I would say next time you play you need to get a ride here and Uber home. Otherwise you’re banned. Should solve the problem. Driving all over the sidewalk sounds worse than mildly drunk.
 
Sounds like this guy had a bad night. I'd simply talk to the guy and tell him that he got too drunk last time and that you didn't appreciate him driving home drunk and that neither of those things should happen again. And then I'd give him another chance.
 
Sounds like this guy had a bad night. I'd simply talk to the guy and tell him that he got too drunk last time and that you didn't appreciate him driving home drunk and that neither of those things should happen again. And then I'd give him another chance.
I'm with this as you provided plenty of reasons for why he is a good for the game and doesn't seem like a awful guy. But yes, the driving while intoxicated is absolutely not okay and an adult discussion about how it cannot happen moving forward needs to happen. It's easy to sent some ground rules and if he is not about them, then you can revoke his invite.
 
This is a situation for STFU and take an Uber, it’s not a request. No need to over engineer the situation (collect keys, call the cops). Just don’t let the dude drive.

We’ve all been drunk and stupid, and done stupid things. I’ve had friends stop me from doing stupid drunk stuff, as I have also stopped others. When the booz clears, they’ll thank you.
 
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I have a strong personal stance against drunk driving. Forget that guy no one cares about him. Some dad is on his way home from a night shift and doesn’t deserve that.

Hello stakes game is about having fun and babysitting or worrying about someone smashing their car into a tree isn’t fun.

It happens and people do make mistakes, but there has to be a strong level of accountability, and it needs to be clear going forward that it’s not happening again.

We avoid liquor for this reason and stick to beer. That’s a rule worth enforcing. Pretty much every host also has a couch where you can grab a power nap.I
 
I encourage everyone who needs to "have this conversation" with a player have it immediately. I will share my story here so people see that good things can happen from it.

I had one player (he is a great friend of mine) who didn't quite know his limit. The day after he obviously exceeded that limit I let him know he either can't drive or can't drink. As it turned out, his daughter had just gotten her license and if she wanted to use Daddy's truck she had to drop him off and pick him up. After doing this a few times she mentioned to me exactly how much she hated her job (McDonalds) and asked if I knew of anything better. I spend some time teaching her how to be a proper dealer, and she made more dealing for tips in one night than she did working all week. She also has just the right amount of back sass to fit in perfectly with the group. She stayed sober making her money while Dad got trashed! She was the best thing to happen to my home games.
 
I think you guys have everything covered but I'd like to add 2 more pesos to the discussion, especially if the transgressor is a friend or family member - a person who does that is most likely doing it in other places/at other times, not just at your/our poker games. If we have any kind of sway or influence over someone like that, let's PLEASE do everything we can to persuade them to improve their decision-making Everywhere/All The Time (and not just at your/our poker games)!
 
I think you guys have everything covered but I'd like to add 2 more pesos to the discussion, especially if the transgressor is a friend or family member - a person who does that is most likely doing it in other places/at other times, not just at your/our poker games. If we have any kind of sway or influence over someone like that, let's PLEASE do everything we can to persuade them to improve their decision-making Everywhere/All The Time (and not just at your/our poker games)!
This goes to where my head was after reading the whole thread. Screw the poker game. What if it was a party at your house? Or a charity event you both went to? Or a night at the bar watching a game? Or a wedding? Or just two guys hanging out at home sampling Bourbon? Or _____?

Poker wasn’t the cause, it just so happened to be the event. Plenty of people attend plenty of events with the opportunity to drink too much and plenty do. It’s been that way since alcohol was discovered and that won’t change anytime soon. What HAS changed though is how easy it is to not drive home these days.

Call ‘em a damn Uber, make ‘em get in, and go back to your game. As someone else said above, they’ll thank you later.
 
You let your friend drive drunk? I'm gonna just come out and say it, you're a bad friend and bad person in general. Allowing that was never an option no matter what group I was with throughout my life. Uber/Lyft are so convenient that it doesn't make sense to drive yourself anywhere knowing you will drink.

Getting drunk or high while playing will happen. I wouldn't cash someone out because they're drunk, I would if they are being disruptive to the game. Stopping someone who chose to be intoxicated from punting off their stack is not your responsibility. Some people are high functioning while intoxicated and playing to the role of the drunk idiot is an advantage. Whether you allow that kind of action at your game and how you handle it is your choice. Whether you allow someone to drive drunk is not a choice, it's always NO.
 

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