We're currently 3 handed (yes), so thankfully right now, we haven't kicked off on my table, as they need at least 4 people. The 2 kids next to me are from Israel and Austria respectively, and are talking about how many girls they have slept with. I might spend the first 30 minute level fumbling around looking for my headphones...
Almost on level 3 and there are 128/142 players at present. The young Austrian just busted when he decided that AK offsuit was enough to get his entire 25k stack in preflop at 100/200/200. The guy with the aces was quite happy to give him a spin for all the marbles. Despite that one guy metaphorically putting his service revolver into his mouth and then pulling the trigger, this table is actually a pretty tough one in terms of easy chips.
Midway through level 4, and an interesting situation came up. In relation to my tournament it doesn't directly apply (although indirectly it does as you will see later). I think it's worthy of a more in depth mention here, and am open to opinions should anyone wish to chime in. In explaining the events that unfold, I'm going to try to be as descriptive, but also as impartial as I possibly can.
A spot comes up in a hand where on the river, there are two players left in the pot, one of whom being the Indian guy who earlier was asking lots of questions (what are the blinds, when's the break, how many players are there...etc). I certainly never want to discourage new or inexperienced players from getting involved, and there are plenty of unpleasant people in poker who will do just that, either failing to see, or not caring to see how counter-productive it is to do so. The guy is likely just in a pretty new environment, so asking questions is natural. Having said that, 90% of what he'd asked to date was either written down on a sheet or was on a screen right in front of him, so, well, open your eyes? Maybe, I digress, but this is all kind of relevant to the plot. He is in the pot with another player, who has just moved all in on the river, so the Indian guy now faces a decision. There is an ace showing on the board. He thinks, and deliberates... and then flips over one of his cards, exposing an ace. Now, my feelings on this are a different issue. As long as it doesn't unduly waste time, I have no real problem with anything players say or do at the table, in either tournaments or in cash games. I think discussing the hand and playing mind games should most certainly be allowed, as long as it isn't just showboating for the camera (which isn't even there). We're playing poker, and within reason, I think you can be allowed a bit of leeway with both speech and actions, as long as it's not either overtly cheating, or is in some way breaking the rules which are quite clearly set out. This, however, is the issue here. Showing cards in a tournament whilst the hand is in progress, and especially if you're facing action IS breaking the rules. There is no grey area, it isn't allowed. period.
The dealer at this point, who is the person supposedly controlling the hand and the game, does and says... nothing. She doesn't even seem to be aware of what the player has just done. I point out that he's not supposed to be exposing his cards during a hand, and that he needs to be made aware of this, whether it's an accidental action or a deliberate one on his part. It becomes pretty clear after a few seconds of me trying to explain this that I'd be generous if I said the dealer has a basic at best command of English, and doesn't really seem to understand what I've said at all, much less what is happening. She does nothing, and what then occurs makes the situation (in my mind at least) even worse. The player who has exposed an ace, now decides he is, in fact going to call the all-in bet and moves his chips over the line. The original bettor who was clearly at it, now just fires his hand straight into the muck, and leaves the table, as he's been busted.
The dealer now pushes the pot to the guy who exposed his hand, doesn't ask to see both his cards, and just tries to shuffle the deck and move straight on to the next hand! This doesn't sit well with me for a number of reasons. Firstly, the player, ignorant of the rules or not, needs to be made aware of the fact that what he's just done is 100% not allowed in tournaments. There's no debate, it's not allowed. The dealer, either through ineptitude, tiredness, the language barrier, whatever, seems perfectly happy to just move onto the next hand and basically do nothing. I do not see this as being permissible, so I insist that she calls the floor, and that they are made aware of what has happened so they can clarify the rules, since she doesn't seem to be able to do it herself. One player at the table seems to be disgruntled with my insistence, and chimes in that "you really shouldn't be saying anything whilst the hand is in progress", and "it wouldn't change anything, let's just move on, are you trying to get the guy kicked out of the tournament?" To address these points, I respond that since the dealer had done and said nothing at all when the player exposed his ace, me waiting until after the hand to say something, when the other player has now busted out after being called, when an intervention by the floor before this all transpired might have changed the outcome, is going to be somewhat redundant, hence me pointing it out at the time and asking for it to be addressed. It wasn't addressed in any way, which is why I am continuing to ask for someone to do so.
The floor eventually arrives, and by this time we are now dealing the next hand. The only person who seems to be put out that a player has busted when they possibly may not have been if this were handled differently, is me. Odd, since losing a player is of course ultimately to my advantage. However, my sense of right and wrong has kicked in here, and I'd like to see at least something being said about it in an official capacity. I don't know the floor guy who arrives, but when he does, the dealer doesn't say anything (another mistake in my opinion, but let's leave it), and instead simply directs the floorman to me. I explain as best as I can what has just happened, and am somewhat surprised to see the matter pretty much brushed aside, with a casual "Sir, you can't expose your hand in a tournament when facing action" to the player in question. I say that in some establishments, a player showing his hand in a tournament with action pending would result in his hand being called dead, and the response which I got was "not in any respectable establishment", which I considered to be both dismissive of the issue, and also incorrect.
I need to state (again) for the record here, that I am not trying to get the guy who exposed his hand into trouble. I don't want him kicked out of the tournament. I simply think he needs to understand what he has just done, and why it's not allowed, and I shouldn't really be the one to have to do it. There are enough asshats laying down the law in poker already. I think the whole matter was handled very badly on this occasion from the outset, and that if handled better, the outcome might not have actually changed, but it would at very least have been clearer to all concerned that an infraction of the rules has just happened. This is a shame because the way that the Wynn and the Venetian handle the rules in tournaments and situations like this generally is excellent. Am I being overly picky? You tell me.
I discuss this later with a floorman I know very well, and after clarifying things, it seems the original floorman thought that too many hands had already elapsed since this had occurred (they hadn't, I had called for the floor immediately), and also that the dealer seemed to know very little English, so it was better to just move on. This, it was admitted, was an error. That's fine. Errors happen, I get that. This unfortunately seemed to now set me up as the bad guy at the table who is simply slowing down the game and causing trouble. I don't see it like that at all, but there we have it.
How does this relate to me and my tournament? Well...
The Indian guy seems very nice. He's either new, inexperienced where the rules are concerned, or it's the act of the century. Any of these are fine, and I have no axe to grind with him. I simply take issue with what has happened and how it was handled. We carry on with play, and I'm on around 17k from my original 25k starting stack after losing a few hands during level 3.
We're on level 4 now, and I've dropped to just over 15k. I look down and see As 8s in the small blind. The button raises to 1400, I call, and the Indian guy also calls (he has shown a tendency to call a lot so far). The flop comes down Qs 10d 9s, giving me a gutshot (albeit the arse end) and the nut flush draw. I check, Indian guy checks, the original raiser bets 2400. I see this as a decent semi-bluff spot, and I raise to 6100. The Indian guy (metaphorically) scratches his head, then calls. The original raiser dwells, then as I suspected, he now throws his hand away. He took a shot, but he got the answer and so he gave up, which is fine. There is around 19k in the pot, and I am first to speak. The turn brings the 6h, which now gives me a double belly-buster along with my nut spades. I decide that whilst this guy seems to overvalue his hands, history has shown that he bets fairly big if checked to, and I can't call a big bet here, but making one myself is perfectly OK, giving me 4 ways to win the hand (he folds, I make my flush, I make either of my 2 straight draws). I thus decide to move all-in for my remaining 7500 or so. A win here if called will get me up to about 34k again, or I could just win it here and now which is a smaller pot but an equally good result. He dwells, not for too long, thankfully doesn't expose any cards, and then announces call. He tables AQ, for one pair, with all sorts out on the board. Hey ho, he's winning, what can I say.
The river is a blank non-spade, so I bust at the end of level 4, just 2 hours or so in. I get up to depart, and there is a mumble or two from I believe the guy who asked why I was causing a stir about the other guy exposing his hand. I let it go, and just leave, but it's a tad annoying to be seen as the bad guy when (in my eyes at least), I most certainly was not. The structure is not as super slow as the bigger events, so you need to get busy at some point and generate some chips. I don't have a huge problem with the exit hand, especially as I factored in a few additional start days in advance given the guarantee, however the events leading up to it left something of a bad taste in the mouth for me. Maybe I'm right, or maybe poker has just changed, and I haven't changed along with it. You be the judge.