By Kelli Mix
Kelli is the author of the ‘Game Day Poker Almanac – Official Rules of Poker’. She lives in Carrollton, Georgia, where she is the state director for the Poker Players Alliance.
There are two players involved in a pot. After the flop Player A, who is first to act, decides to have a stab at it and makes a bet. Player B stares him down and then asks for a chip count. While Player A is counting his chips, Player B mucks his cards but cups his hands to make it look like he still has cards. He then states that he is all-in. Player B has no cards but neither Player A nor the dealer notice this, and he mucks his cards without spotting the scam. The dealer pushes the chips towards Player B, but an observant bystander points out what occurred. Who should win this pot? And what is the ruling for this type of behavior?
There is a famous hand that T.J. Cloutier calls his “mystery hand” where he was heads up against an opponent for a large pot when suddenly the dealer mucked T.J.’s cards on accident. His opponent did not notice, so T.J., with his great poker face, kept right on betting and his opponent eventually folded the hand. The dealer awarded T.J a large pot without cards. This makes for a great story, but the reality is a player should not be awarded a pot without an active hand. The dealer would likely have awarded the opponent the pot had he not felt guilty about his first mistake. Protect your hand at all times, even from dealers.
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