Tourney When was string betting outlawed? (1 Viewer)

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Watching some of the older (1980s) WSOP main events on pokegro, it seems like there’s a whole lot of string betting going on. Not the old “I’ll see your 20 . . .” because either it’s nonverbal, or the players weren’t on microphones.
And maybe that’s part of the problem - with limited audio and no graphics, it’s hard to tell exactly what’s going on. I’m sure some of it is simply the older style of raising, where you’d put out your calling chips first, then begin assembling your raise. But even beyond that, it sure seems like raises were coming out barrel by barrel. Again, it’s possible everything was verbalized and the tv viewer just didn’t get to hear it; I don’t know.

But does anybody know for sure when we got rules against string bets, or at least can anybody remember a time when it was allowed??
 
Using the Wayback machine, the earliest online version of Robert’s Rules of Poker I could find was posted in 2004. It contains a prohibition against string betting:

https://web.archive.org/web/20040608050930/http://www.pokercoach.us/RobsPkrRulesHome.htm

So that’s 20 years at least.

But presumably Bob Ciaffone (a) wrote these rules well before he ever posted them online, and (b) didn’t just make that rule up himself out of thin air. So it must be older than that.
 
Also, an obituary of Ciaffone in Card Player stated that “Robert’s Rules of Poker was written in 1984 and it quickly became the official rule book for poker rooms around the world.” It appears a print edition of his rules was issued in 1985 by the Poker Players Association of America, but without inspecting either version I don’t know what it said about string betting.

Will check my Hoyle collection in the a.m. if I can.
 
My guess is that the old WSOP audio may not be conveying the bettors’ verbal statements announcing raises.
 
So, I went through a bunch of different editions of Hoyle’s Rules for poker, looking for evidence of string betting rules.

Note that after Hoyle, many other writers and editors have published their own versions under his name. I’ve attached photos of pages from Foster, Coren and Morehead. Many pocket and other editions tend to leave out a lot of details about the finer points of poker, compared to these.

1) Foster published his expansion of Hoyle’s gambling rules starting in the late 19th century into the early 20th. From what I can tell he was considered the authoritative source on poker for a very long time.

His edition of 1916 does not use the term string betting, and does not give a lot of detail on how exactly to place a bet, but he does have this to say... One could infer that a string bet would be disallowed because it would require the bettor to take his hands off the first batch of chips brought forward:

IMG_2826.jpeg


Foster elsewhere does use the now-despised language of “see your bet” with the option of then “raising.” He seems to care more about the action of putting in chips and releasing them, than about verbal announcements.

Jumping ahead a half-century to 1961, Morehead has a long section on “Method of Betting” which again does not use the phrase “string bet” per se, but does seem to place some of the same limitations on string betting with which we are familiar today.

He also puts a strong emphasis here on *announcing* your bets, with the potential of the bet being limited if no announcement is made:

IMG_2820.jpeg


Note that Morehead also published an edition of poker rules in 1950, but I do not own a copy, so I can’t say whether this passage was in it or came a decade later.

(FWIW, neither Foster nor Morehead seem to anticipate a problem discussed a while ago on PCF, that of a player using *two hands* to bet separate stacks of chips. In theory the player might not be taking his hands off the first batch before setting the second one down, but I think it’s pretty clear the authors would have considered that irregular.)

Lastly, and at last, Coren’s version of Hoyle from about the same time (1960) explicitly uses the term “string bet,” which he also calls an “installment bet”:

IMG_2823.jpeg


This appears to be pretty much the current rule.

There are many different versions of Hoyle between 1916-1950/60, of course, but a lot of them seem to just repeat the others or omit mention of betting methods entirely.

Generally, these books plus Roberts suggest to me that prohibitions against string betting have existed in various forms long before the WSOP began. However, those rules seem to have varied in their strictness and particulars. And my guess is that many gambling establishments and private games did not begin consistently enforcing them until the past 25-30 years.
 
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I can maybe see inforcing this rule at casinos or at big tournaments, but personally, I don't see it as that big a deal.
When I hear someone at the table say, I see your x, and raise x, then I understand exactly that they were planning on raising.
However, I fully understand why it is always best to announce a raise, then it leaves no doubt of the action intended.
 
I can maybe see inforcing this rule at casinos or at big tournaments, but personally, I don't see it as that big a deal.

As a game host, I do consider it important to enforce. None of my players string bet anymore (most didn’t to begin with).

The real potential problems are not caused by some hambone giving a see/raise speech like he's John Wayne in a 1958 western. The problems come when someone fails to announce anything, puts some chips in, pauses, and then reaches for more.

This creates way too many angling opportunities, or just the chance for confusion — and then a needless argument.

Say Player A bets $25 with some red chips. Player Z reaches for a barrel of them, and slides it in to raise... Then while Z reaches to add an additional barrel, Player A says “call” and puts in the additional $75. Now Z gets mad because he wanted to raise bigger. But he string bet, and either Player A didn’t know what he was about to do, or quickly called to set a better price for himself.

Then if they start arguing about it, I as host have to adjudicate the dispute and also settle them both down. I’d rather not be put in that awkward position, when it’s so much easier for players to just show a little respect for the game instead. Get the bet in order well behind the line, and push the chips in all at once. If that’s really too hard, announce the amount first and then they can put the chips in one at a time if they like...
 
As a game host, I do consider it important to enforce. None of my players string bet anymore (most didn’t to begin with).

The real potential problems are not caused by some hambone giving a see/raise speech like he's John Wayne in a 1958 western. The problems come when someone fails to announce anything, puts some chips in, pauses, and then reaches for more.

This creates way too many angling opportunities, or just the chance for confusion — and then a needless argument.

Say Player A bets $25 with some red chips. Player Z reaches for a barrel of them, and slides it in to raise... Then while Z reaches to add an additional barrel, Player A says “call” and puts in the additional $75. Now Z gets mad because he wanted to raise bigger. But he string bet, and either Player A didn’t know what he was about to do, or quickly called to set a better price for himself.

Then if they start arguing about it, I as host have to adjudicate the dispute and also settle them both down. I’d rather not be put in that awkward position, when it’s so much easier for players to just show a little respect for the game instead. Get the bet in order well behind the line, and push the chips in all at once. If that’s really too hard, announce the amount first and then they can put the chips in one at a time if they like...
I fully agree that as long as it is announced prior to putting in chips, I have no issues with the I see x, and raise x at my home games, but I would not allow a player to put in a call chip, then add more to follow without announcing it previously. Luckily, 99% of my players announce what they are doing before putting in chips in the pot. We are playing small stakes, so it's not like anyone is trying to angle the table.
 
I fully agree that as long as it is announced prior to putting in chips, I have no issues with the I see x, and raise x at my home games, but I would not allow a player to put in a call chip, then add more to follow without announcing it previously. Luckily, 99% of my players announce what they are doing before putting in chips in the pot. We are playing small stakes, so it's not like anyone is trying to angle the table.

Technically the rule exists because saying “I see your bet” (sometimes “I call your bet”) can be construed as a final action, which gets a reaction before the “... and raise” part is said. It creates unnecessary ambiguity which is either an angle, or just needlessly corny.

If someone said, “I call... and raise you” no one would fail to see the problem. Changing the word to the more old-fashioned “see” does not change the point.

Bottom line, there is no good reason to announce your raise this way. It’s at best unnecessary. Why are people so attached to it?
 
Technically the rule exists because saying “I see your bet” (sometimes “I call your bet”) can be construed as a final action, which gets a reaction before the “... and raise” part is said. It creates unnecessary ambiguity which is either an angle, or just needlessly corny.

If someone said, “I call... and raise you” no one would fail to see the problem. Changing the word to the more old-fashioned “see” does not change the point.

Bottom line, there is no good reason to announce your raise this way. It’s at best unnecessary. Why are people so attached to it?
For what it’s worth, I think I’ve seen it happen live maybe like once in my life. Do you guys actually play with people who say that? I think it’s just a tv/movie thing. In my experience, string bet issues are usually of the subtler, physical kind.
 
Watching some of the older (1980s) WSOP main events on pokegro, it seems like there’s a whole lot of string betting going on. Not the old “I’ll see your 20 . . .” because either it’s nonverbal, or the players weren’t on microphones.
And maybe that’s part of the problem - with limited audio and no graphics, it’s hard to tell exactly what’s going on. I’m sure some of it is simply the older style of raising, where you’d put out your calling chips first, then begin assembling your raise. But even beyond that, it sure seems like raises were coming out barrel by barrel. Again, it’s possible everything was verbalized and the tv viewer just didn’t get to hear it; I don’t know.

But does anybody know for sure when we got rules against string bets, or at least can anybody remember a time when it was allowed??
There is a reference to "no string bets" in "The Cincinnati Kid" (1965) but of course they go on to make countless string bets throughout the game. But at least it's proof the term is that old.
 
For what it’s worth, I think I’ve seen it happen live maybe like once in my life. Do you guys actually play with people who say that? I think it’s just a tv/movie thing. In my experience, string bet issues are usually of the subtler, physical kind.
This is something my uncles would say in our family games frequently, including when they were teaching us (me and my brothers) around age 10 or so (I would say this was a good 10 years before the so called "poker boom.") Once the boom happened and I became a regular in cardroom games we adjusted and no one raises like this anymore.
 
I can maybe see inforcing this rule at casinos or at big tournaments, but personally, I don't see it as that big a deal.
When I hear someone at the table say, I see your x, and raise x, then I understand exactly that they were planning on raising.
However, I fully understand why it is always best to announce a raise, then it leaves no doubt of the action intended.
The issue is if you allow this, how long is the permissible gap between "I see your x" and "raise x?" That does open up an avenue of exploit to wait for extra clues before the "raise."

Even if players aren't looking for this exploit it very quickly becomes a pace of play issue (which is probably the main reason casinos enforce, bad pace of play is bad for the drop), since the next player to act always has to wait to be sure the previous player is done moving chips. This adds up quickly in a betting round where we can just assume chips moved in one action can speak for themselves.

That said, with newbies in my home game, I handle this much gentler than a casino ruling forcing a call. First time I see it, I call time and give him a chance to clarify the action instead of holding him to a call. And then just advise next time it will be considered a call and the reason behind the rule. They get the chance to do what they intend this time and they will do it the right way next time. Give-take, win-win.
 
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So, I went through a bunch of different editions of Hoyle’s Rules for poker, looking for evidence of string betting rules.

Note that after Hoyle, many other writers and editors have published their own versions under his name. I’ve attached photos of pages from Foster, Coren and Morehead. Many pocket and other editions tend to leave out a lot of details about the finer points of poker, compared to these.

1) Foster published his expansion of Hoyle’s gambling rules starting in the late 19th century into the early 20th. From what I can tell he was considered the authoritative source on poker for a very long time.

His edition of 1916 does not use the term string betting, and does not give a lot of detail on how exactly to place a bet, but he does have this to say... One could infer that a string bet would be disallowed because it would require the bettor to take his hands off the first batch of chips brought forward:

View attachment 1289668

Foster elsewhere does use the now-despised language of “see your bet” with the option of then “raising.” He seems to care more about the action of putting in chips and releasing them, than about verbal announcements.

Jumping ahead a half-century to 1961, Morehead has a long section on “Method of Betting” which again does not use the phrase “string bet” per se, but does seem to place some of the same limitations on string betting with which we are familiar today.

He also puts a strong emphasis here on *announcing* your bets, with the potential of the bet being limited if no announcement is made:

View attachment 1289669

Note that Morehead also published an edition of poker rules in 1950, but I do not own a copy, so I can’t say whether this passage was in it or came a decade later.

(FWIW, neither Foster nor Morehead seem to anticipate a problem discussed a while ago on PCF, that of a player using *two hands* to bet separate stacks of chips. In theory the player might not be taking his hands off the first batch before setting the second one down, but I think it’s pretty clear the authors would have considered that irregular.)

Lastly, and at last, Coren’s version of Hoyle from about the same time (1960) explicitly uses the term “string bet,” which he also calls an “installment bet”:

View attachment 1289671

This appears to be pretty much the current rule.

There are many different versions of Hoyle between 1916-1950/60, of course, but a lot of them seem to just repeat the others or omit mention of betting methods entirely.

Generally, these books plus Roberts suggest to me that prohibitions against string betting have existed in various forms long before the WSOP began. However, those rules seem to have varied in their strictness and particulars. And my guess is that many gambling establishments and private games did not begin consistently enforcing them until the past 25-30 years.
Excellent research by the way :). Proof it's been around a long while.
 
They should change the rule so that "seeing" someone's bet is the same as raising. No ambiguity and we all get to raise like cowboys!

There should be a mandatory pause, though, at least 3 seconds. If you just blurt out "I see your 25 and raise another 25" then that's a 1 round penalty for disrespecting the game.

I'm adding this to my house rules! #letsseethosebets
 
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