How Do You Handle The Lets Check It Down Guy In Your Home Game?

grandgnu

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EDIT: THIS IS FOR A HOME GAME TOURNEY

Got a newer player in my home game. In our previous event there was a player all-in and he and another player had called. The new guy says "I'll check it down if you will" and I was like "wooooahh, no no no, you can't say that"

I've been fortunate in not having had to deal with a player like this before in my home game (I know, the odds are astronomical!) but I explained he can't do that and didn't issue any sort of penalty.

I've got another game tonight and he's attending. IF it happens again, how would you guys handle it? I'm thinking my best options are:

1. his hand is immediately declared dead and any chips he's committed to the pot are forfeit
2. Same as #1 but also a one-round penalty where he has to fold all his hands for one rotation at the table
3. Just the one-round penalty
 
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jbutler

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if it's a tourney, i agree with the proposed options after a warning. if it's a cash game, let it go. people like home games because there's no floor to tell them they can curse or flip a card or generally act like morons.

there's little point in trying to force the issue anyway. 90% of my play is in casinos with a significant portion of that in limit games. no, guys can't say explicitly, "i'll check it down if you will," but they will soon learn who's going to check it down with them and you see the immediate rapping of the table as soon as it gets heads up signifying the players' intent to check it down. it's the point where even the dealers know which players are going to check it down and they just deal out the rest of the board immediately when it's heads up between a couple of those guys. like most effortlessly subverted rules, it should be abolished in cash games.

then again, if the rest of your players are up in arms about checking it down and to allow it to continue could hurt your game, do what you have to do to keep the players happy.
 
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Mr Tree

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Honestly even in big tournaments while it isn't directly communicated, I've noticed players in this situation tend to give the other player a very significant look, pause, and then very deliberately check. It may not be communicating it out loud but it's blatantly obvious that the statement is I'm checking if you're checking.
 

grandgnu

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Yes, it's a tourney (updated the OP)

- - - - - - - - - Updated - - - - - - - - -

did you let him know he would be penalized next time?

No, and that's something I'm thinking I'll bring up tonight before the game commences. I usually mention to new players the whole:

1. no talking about what's on the board (oh, who has the flush, etc)
2. No string betting
3. no splashing the pot

But I haven't really discussed or had to issue any penalties. Since it's only happened once before maybe I just remind people tonight not to do it, and then if it happens again then I let people know in the future I'll be doing "x" for a penalty to curb the behavior?
 

Toonexile

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I think that is probably the best way to deal with it.

A friendly 'refresher' of the house rules before the game and, if it happens during the evening, give a warning along the lines of 'if you do/say that next week, it would be a penalty of x'.
 

grandgnu

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I think that is probably the best way to deal with it.

A friendly 'refresher' of the house rules before the game and, if it happens during the evening, give a warning along the lines of 'if you do/say that next week, it would be a penalty of x'.

Thanks, yeah I agree. I really don't want to spoil the "fun" of the game by getting too heavy-handed with rules and penalties, but I do want to protect the integrity of the game and rules as closely as possible. Not just because we have $$$ involved, but also because I don't want these guys going to a casino and getting yelled at by all the regs.
 

Milo013

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That's a good way to go . . . keeps things "light" but also reminds the players that money IS on the line (regardless of how much) and that the rules need to be respected.

As previous posters have mentioned, experienced players already "know" how to commit passive collusion without violating the rules, so this is more about educating the recreational players.
My best friend has a habit of drumming his fingers while thinking about his play. We all know it, but I have taken pains to explain why he should stop. A few weeks back we had a new player at the table . . . sure enough, he starts drumming his fingers and the new guy immediately bets out . . . well you can guess the rest. Has not drummed his fingers since then.
 

Poker Zombie

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I'm glad Grandgnu brought this topic up. Our last home game we had our first ever frequent rule violator. His was the "I see your 50 and raise you 100" (or whatever the bets were at the time). I corrected him right away. Then it happened again. Then again. Then again.

I know he's not trying to angle shoot or get a read with a string bet; he's just not that sharp of an individual. He also states the "whole I see X and raise Y" in a quick single breath.

Like Gnu, I'm going to have a conversation with the noob pregame. I don't want to be the rules Nazi, but I have low tolerance (and Mrs PZ has zero tolerance) for allowing bad habits to leach into my home game. I want my players to find the transition from home games to casinos to be completely unnoticeable, and it only takes one "bad" player to start creating bad habits for the other players.
 

GenghisKhan

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I was lucky enough to read a similar thread before we started our tourney league. I put this down as a rule, saying "planning something openly is rigging the hand, while everyone else wants to see someone busted". I put a 1 round penalty only. I would say it before the game, and say it applies for tonight's game going forward and is a universally adopted rule in tournaments.
 

ssanel54

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I think the best thing to do in a home game is just keep reminding people of what they can and can't say. If you feel like they are continuing to break the rules to angle or blatantly disregard what you are saying, then don't invite them back.

If you start looking to dole out penalties, then you need to be consistent. The guy who calls the flush board needs to be punished the same way as the example above. Also, you need to account for the comments potentially coming from someone who is not in the hand and does not have money in the pot.

Unless you establish that your home game runs closer to a professional card room, then err on the side of home game antics, as your guests will probably enjoy it more.
 

GenghisKhan

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I agree with ssanel54 that you have to be consistent. If you want 1 rule penalised, then each other rule violation should be too.
That being said, we are in our 4th tourney league season and never had to give a penalty. As long as everyone knows the important rules you want followed no one will break them. Everyone in my tourney league has as much fun as in the cash games which are pretty much based on the rules of UFC 1: no eye gouging but everything else goes. :p
 

jbutler

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Like Gnu, I'm going to have a conversation with the noob pregame. I don't want to be the rules Nazi, but I have low tolerance (and Mrs PZ has zero tolerance) for allowing bad habits to leach into my home game. I want my players to find the transition from home games to casinos to be completely unnoticeable, and it only takes one "bad" player to start creating bad habits for the other players.

i don't understand the desire for a home game to resemble a casino game. casino poker rooms are generally run by incompetent morons who wouldn't know what's good for a poker game if i spent six hours writing it down, laminated it, rolled it up, and forced it sideways up their asses. this is why you find moronic rules, insane rulings that deviate from even the moronic rules, and many more genuinely miserable players in casinos than home games.

i agree with scott below that players enjoy a game more when it's casual and fun.

Unless you establish that your home game runs closer to a professional card room, then err on the side of home game antics, as your guests will probably enjoy it more.
 

detroitdad

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I agree with mentioning it again before the tourney starts. If he ignores the rules don't invite him back.
 

Poker Zombie

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i don't understand the desire for a home game to resemble a casino game. casino poker rooms are generally run by incompetent morons who wouldn't know what's good for a poker game if i spent six hours writing it down, laminated it, rolled it up, and forced it sideways up their asses. this is why you find moronic rules, insane rulings that deviate from even the moronic rules, and many more genuinely miserable players in casinos than home games.

i agree with scott below that players enjoy a game more when it's casual and fun.

You are right. There are a fair number of incompetent TDs out there in charge of their card rooms.

I am not one of them.

I like the Sands card room at the Venetian (even though I think the CEO of the Venetian is a total prick). That is a well run room and I have never seen a problem there. The Aria is also run quite well, and even though Caesars was downsized for the higher profits of a bigger nightclub it's room still runs as smooth as glass. These are the rooms my players should feel comfortable in.

Rabbit hunting, running it twice, etc. have their places. Drunks, action junkies and the like. Me, I'll play these games too. I won't host them though. I don't mind running it out to see that the opponent was bluffing. S**t, run out the whole deck. I will learn your exact range and eventually, we can stop playing cards - you can just hand me a couple hundred when I show up and I can finance my losses someplace else.

Rules used in casino are there for a reason. Use them.
 

jbutler

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You are right. There are a fair number of incompetent TDs out there in charge of their card rooms.

I am not one of them.

I like the Sands card room at the Venetian (even though I think the CEO of the Venetian is a total prick). That is a well run room and I have never seen a problem there. The Aria is also run quite well, and even though Caesars was downsized for the higher profits of a bigger nightclub it's room still runs as smooth as glass. These are the rooms my players should feel comfortable in.

Rabbit hunting, running it twice, etc. have their places. Drunks, action junkies and the like. Me, I'll play these games too. I won't host them though. I don't mind running it out to see that the opponent was bluffing. S**t, run out the whole deck. I will learn your exact range and eventually, we can stop playing cards - you can just hand me a couple hundred when I show up and I can finance my losses someplace else.

Rules used in casino are there for a reason. Use them.

that's the thing - rules are there for a reason, but a lot of those reasons are dumb and do not take into account what is actually good for the game. so just using them because there is an ostensible reason is to the detriment of the game whether it's in a home or a casino.
 

Mental Nomad

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Offering to check it down is only egregious and worth of a rule against it when there's a third party in the hand who is all-in, right? And in those circumstances, checking it down is often the right strategy in terms of optimizing the odds of knock-out...

Apart from those situations, offering to check it down seems fairly innocuous. But I understand that many people find it distasteful. I address several problems at once with the following two house rules:

RULE: All first verbal statements of action on the round in play are immediately binding.
- If you say "see" or "call," it doesn't matter what you say afterwards; you have called.
- If you declare a bet or raise out of turn, you are bound to commit those chips when your turn comes, and others can decide secure in the knowledge that you must take that action.
RULE: All statements other than first verbal statements of a betting action are not binding, and should be assumed to have no basis in truth whatsoever. Such "lies" about holdings or future actions are not allowed to be interpreted as reflecting on anyone's character; they are part of the game.
- If you declare that you have the flush, and it turns out you do not have the flush, you have not lied. You have played poker.
- If you ask to check it down, you are free to bet on a later round if the cards change in your favor, and it you will have committed no transgression.
- If you agree to check it down, you are free to bet on a later round if the cards change in your favor, and it you will have committed no transgression.

These seem to have cleared out everything except people who can't seem to control themselves regarding "what they folded" when a hand is still in play... including that guy that keeps trying to hold onto his hole cards after folding.
 

jbutler

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Offering to check it down is only egregious and worth of a rule against it when there's a third party in the hand who is all-in, right? And in those circumstances, checking it down is often the right strategy in terms of optimizing the odds of knock-out...

Apart from those situations, offering to check it down seems fairly innocuous. But I understand that many people find it distasteful. I address several problems at once with the following two house rules:

RULE: All first verbal statements of action on the round in play are immediately binding.
- If you say "see" or "call," it doesn't matter what you say afterwards; you have called.
- If you declare a bet or raise out of turn, you are bound to commit those chips when your turn comes, and others can decide secure in the knowledge that you must take that action.
RULE: All statements other than first verbal statements of a betting action are not binding, and should be assumed to have no basis in truth whatsoever. Such "lies" about holdings or future actions are not allowed to be interpreted as reflecting on anyone's character; they are part of the game.
- If you declare that you have the flush, and it turns out you do not have the flush, you have not lied. You have played poker.
- If you ask to check it down, you are free to bet on a later round if the cards change in your favor, and it you will have committed no transgression.
- If you agree to check it down, you are free to bet on a later round if the cards change in your favor, and it you will have committed no transgression.

These seem to have cleared out everything except people who can't seem to control themselves regarding "what they folded" when a hand is still in play... including that guy that keeps trying to hold onto his hole cards after folding.

despite my quasi-anarchist stance above, i am sort of in awe that you actually have written house rules. mine are the result of a strictly oral tradition and, according to some, are limited to "please don't piss on the floor" and "please close the door in winter."
 

Poker Zombie

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"please don't piss on the floor" and "please close the door in winter."

I just may have to add those to my printed rules as well, but omitting in winter - by the end of a summer's night and living in a rural area, I have more moths/bugs in my house than all of suburbia.
 

Mental Nomad

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Heh... well, I also worked my way through college as a dealer/floorperson, so I've learned the value of having rules established ahead of time!
 

Mr. Cheese

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My poker group does occasionally check it down to the river when say one person is all in and there are maybe 2 other people in the hand still. It doesn't happen every time but no one seems to mind so we never made a rule prohibiting it. I guess I never even gave it a though because its those people's choice whether they want to check or raise. It's interesting to see other peoples thoughts on this and the reasoning behind it because it never occurred to me that it might not be in good form to allow checking it down to the river.
 

Mr Tree

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My poker group does occasionally check it down to the river when say one person is all in and there are maybe 2 other people in the hand still. It doesn't happen every time but no one seems to mind so we never made a rule prohibiting it. I guess I never even gave it a though because its those people's choice whether they want to check or raise. It's interesting to see other peoples thoughts on this and the reasoning behind it because it never occurred to me that it might not be in good form to allow checking it down to the river.

It's not possible to stop people from checking to the river, but the problem here is verbalizing it.
 

Mr. Cheese

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It's not possible to stop people from checking to the river, but the problem here is verbalizing it.

Oops that's what I meant to say in my post was that we occasionally have people verbally say "do you want to check it down to the river?" not just non verbally doing it like normal play.
 

Mental Nomad

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Reasoning to Ground (setting up the extreme situation) makes it obvious...

In tournament, it's finish order that matters, not the number if chips at any point in time.

So if the short-stack goes all-in preflop, how does the rest of the table maximise the chance of that guy getting knocked out? Simple. They all agree to call, and to check it down.

At a full 10-person table, that gives the all-in player very, very slim odds of surviving. Even if he had AA, he'd get knocked out about seven times out of ten.

That's the extreme case, but the same is true when a small stack goes all-in and there are two or three other players. By keeping all the cards live, they maximise the chance of the knockout, and the knockout is worth more than the chips.
 

BGinGA

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Offering to check it down is only egregious and worth of a rule against it when there's a third party in the hand who is all-in, right? And in those circumstances, checking it down is often the right strategy in terms of optimizing the odds of knock-out...

Apart from those situations, offering to check it down seems fairly innocuous. But I understand that many people find it distasteful.

It's basically a form of collusion, and should not be allowed under any circumstances. Do what you want with your own actions/decisions, but 'teaming up' with another player (openly or not) should not be encouraged or allowed.


- If you declare a bet or raise out of turn, you are bound to commit those chips when your turn comes, and others can decide secure in the knowledge that you must take that action.

Most rules only make the out-of-turn action (check, fold, call, bet, raise) binding if subsequent action does not change the bet value. For example, if a player verbalizes "call" out of turn and the current bet value is then raised, his previous "call" is no longer binding.
 

Poker Zombie

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Checking it down may not seem like a big deal until you find yourself All-in against a married couple in a tournament, and the husband tells wifey to check it down. Then the whole world of collusion becomes vibrantly clear.
 

ssanel54

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Checking it down may not seem like a big deal until you find yourself All-in against a married couple in a tournament, and the husband tells wifey to check it down. Then the whole world of collusion becomes vibrantly clear.

See, I don't see any problem with that, as the result would be the same if he said it to another random player. I think its worse if a couple (or any two players) avoid getting into hands with each other....or do get into big hands against each other....ie shipping a small stack to your husband who is chip leader, but its also unavoidable and part of tournament play.

Its easy to say you should enforce every rule in a home game, but it may affect how many people come play in your game if its too rigid. Gnu needs to make a judgement call based on his player pool. In general, I think if your game needs those players that break those kinds of rules in order for the game to go off, then you need to roll with it.
 

Mr. Cheese

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What you guys are saying totally makes sense. I agree if one person was all in and the table agreed to call and check it down that would be very shady. We only play cash games and honestly the all ins are usually when someone has a couple bucks left so its really not that big of a deal because they will just buy back in. If it was a tourney I think I'd definitely have to lay some ground rules about not having any verbal agreements about checking it down etc.
 
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