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Etiquette, Shmetiquette

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  • Etiquette, Shmetiquette

    I was watching the Big Game last night on TV, and in one hand, where Tony G and and Jason Mercier were involved Head to Head. On the River Mercier made a substantial bet with 8 9 suited having missed all his outs. Tony G had a small pair, and after much thought, called Jasons bet.

    As soon as Tony G put his chips in, Mercier announced " It's yours " and mucked his cards.

    As the Dealer was reaching for the cards, Tony G asked him to turn up Jason Merciers cards to show what he had.

    Jason Mercier said that he didn't want the dealer to show them as he had mucked them, or words to that effect.

    Tony again asked to see the cards, and was informed by Antonio Esfandiari that it was not good etiquette to ask to see the losing hand, Phil Helmuth also put in his opinion that it was not good etiquette, and even though he could see Tony's point, he was reinforcing Esfandiari's words for the benifit of the viewers at home, so they wouldn't make that mistake when they played.

    In this particular situation, I think that Esfandiari, Helmuth and Mercier were all wrong and Tony G was correct in asking to see Merciers cards and should have been shown them.

    If I make a bet and get called by another player and I show a Full House and the player that called me had an inferior hand, and so mucked it, Then it would be bad form to ask to see his cards, plus I do not have the right to see his cards, ( I didn't call him, he called me, as the original better I must show my cards first ) ( although mucked cards at showdown online may be seen by clicking the previous hand button ).

    In the case of Jason Mercier and Tony G, the foregoing is NOT the case. Jason Mercier made a bet, which says, I think thet my hand is better than the hand that you hold.
    Tony G then calls, which says, I don't think you do, so prove it.
    The onus is now on Jason Mercier to prove that he has the better hand, by showing his cards, his opponent now has the choice of either showing his cards ( whether or not he is beaten ) or mucking his cards, thereby conceding the pot.

    If he mucks his cards, then the original better does not have the right to see the cards he mucked.

    If however, as in the case of Jason Mercier, the original better concedes the pot to a caller by mucking his cards and declaring them a losing hand, this does NOT release him from the onus of showing his cards. The caller has paid for this to happen. ( This would be exactly the same as going into a car dealership and paying for a vehicle, and then being told you can't have it )

    At the same time, Tony G need not have shown HIS small pair as the hand had already been conceded, and no one had paid for the privelege of seeing his cards. If Jason had shown his cards instead of mucking them, then Tony would have had to show his cards to prove he had the better hand.

    As Poker is a game where information is a crucial factor, I think that Tony G should have insisted more vigorously on seeing Jason Merciers cards and not bowed to peer pressure.

    All but the loose canon at that table were Professional Poker Players, and as such should know what the rules of the game are, and not give out disinformation like this on TV.
    3 Time Bracelet Winner

  • #2
    Hey Bill!

    Here's my view. Since Tony was the one that called, he absolutely paid for the right to see the cards and should have every right to do so. If Jason called him, then Jason does not have to show if he doesn't want to. Beleive me, if I paid for the right to see someone's cards and I didn't get to see them and wanted to.... they're getting flipped over either by the dealer or the card room manager.

    John (JWK24)

    6 Time Bracelet Winner


    • #3
      I definitely agree.
      So what did the dealer do, muck them?


      • #4
        Hi Bill.

        The rule in most card rooms where I play is that the last "aggressive actor" is required to show his hand first. This holds true even if the last "aggressive action" was a pre flop raise, followed by a check down to the river.

        If, however, there was NO aggressive action, say both players limped and then checked down to the river, then the first person to act (the BB who checked his option) would be required to show first. Whenever the first person shows his cards, anyone who cannot BEAT that hand is allowed to muck without showing.

        Please note, if there was even a single called bet in the hand, any player at the table, whether in the hand or not, is allowed to ask that mucked cards be shown once per dealer shift. Asking for this when there is no likely chance of collusion is often considered an "angle play", and is "bad ettiquette".

        So in this hand example Bill, it appears to me that when Jason Mercier made the last "aggressive action" at the pot, he was, indeed "obligated" to show his hand first after Tony G called. HOWEVER...

        Knowing full well that he had no chance of winning the hand if Tony G could call, Jason attempted to muck his hand without showing, to avoid giving any info on his EXACT holding and how he might play similar hands. THIS is also "bad form" in my opinion, as Tony G "paid" to get that info, and was entitled to it.

        You see Bill, it has become more and more common in live cash games for people who are SUPPOSED to show their hands first "wait out" a caller, in hopes the caller gets tired of waiting and shows; that allows the person who was supposed to show first the option of mucking losing cards un-seen. This is a personal pet peeve of mine, and if the other guy is obligated to show first, I NEVER roll my hand over until I've seen his...even if I am certain I am best.

        I have been accused of "slow rolling" by doing this, and have had to verbally defend myself by saying I dis-like angle shooters who try to get away with mucking out of turn when they are supposed to show first. Hey, if they don't want to show down their hands, fold before the river is my personal way of thinking...

        But if someone were to elect to "give up" on their hand after betting the river and seeing me call, and by giving up they concede me the pot no matter WHAT my holding, I am not going to make a big stink of things. To be honest, I think Tony G is a twerp for making a big stink too, as it should be good enough for him to know Jason was bluffing.

        Of course Jason over reacting to the situation is also a bit stupid, as by folding out of turn on showdown, he is essentially telling the entire he is/was bluffing anyway, and cannot beat anything. He has no right to tell the dealer he does not want his cards shown, as Tony G was entitled to that info (unless the cards when tossed in had hit the dis-card pile. In card rooms here, that kills a hand no matter what, and it cannot be shown).

        So Antonio and Phil ARE "right", it is poor etiquette to ask to see the mucked hand once Jason has "given up", but tony G did have a right to do so (and judging by his normal line of behavior, he doesn't give a flip about etiquette anyway!).

        I consider it a little bit like running up the score in an American football game; the coach who is getting run up on always thinks the coach doing it is out of line, and the coach doing it always thinks "if you don't like it, stop me from doing it".

        Sometimes just because you have a "right" to something, does not make it "right" to demand that something...

        Double Bracelet Winner


        • #5
          To be honest, I think Tony G is a twerp for making a big stink too, as it should be good enough
          Hey, he's Tony G. Could he pass up on that? No way.
          The first couple of times I saw T.G., I did find him quite annoying, but I came to really like his annoying act, he's very good at it, it makes a TV show a TV show, and the Phil H. one (of course I looked) was so good... it had to be staged actually, but still
          Last edited by Don B. Cilly; Fri Feb 10, 2012, 02:17 AM. Reason: aded link


          • #6
            Originally posted by Don B. Cilly View Post
            I definitely agree.
            So what did the dealer do, muck them?

            The Dealer did muck them, but only after Esfandiari and Helmuth had said their pieces.

            Jason Merciers reply to Tony G, was that he could see them on TV if he wanted to see them that bad.

            Tony G wanted to see the kind of cards he would bluff with and had put him on two broadway cards or some such.
            3 Time Bracelet Winner


            • #7
              To me, he doesn't have to show. Most card rooms will have their own house rules.
              In the WSOP it isn't required. Many players in last years ME asked to see cards in this situation and were denied. It definitely isn't mandatory as it is in the online world. The card room I played at in Florida didn't require you to show a mucked hand as the last to act aggressor, neither did the league I played in. You have to ask and not assume anything. There is no set standard rule.

              The smart thing to do is to ask if you have to show to take down the pot since you called and the opp mucked. Better yet, play a mind game against the opponent by saying first, "I can't believe I'm winning with King high"...and then muck yourself after the pot is slid to you. It isn't always required to show a hand at showdown in order to take the pot, so be sure to know the rules.

              Never let someone get the mind game on you, psych them back out.


              • #8
                I made that mistake once while playing live. If you call someone's bet on the river and you want to see their hand, DO NOT show your hand until they show theirs. If you call and flip your cards over, your opponent might instant muck his hand and then your out of luck.

                If for some reason your opponent refuses to show his hand after being called on the river, and the dealer/house won't force him to, let him muck his hand. At least then your the winner by default and can then muck your hand face down and not give any info away.



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