I have played poker in over 100 cardrooms, in at least a dozen states, and six different countries. Inevitably, the more places that I play, the broader the range of inconsistencies I encounter with regard to house rules. These inconsistencies are confusing not only to most visitors, but to many local players, as well.
Wherever I go, the issue that seems to create the most trouble is the interpretation of player action. Such interpretation is not an exact science. Did a player intend to fold? Did a player intend to check? Did a player intend to call? Did a UFA player intend to raise? Once, I saw a floorman called to the table after one player made a subtle hand gesture. The gesture could have been interpreted either way. Three players thought the player checked. Three other players thought the player moved his hand unintentionally. The players started arguing. The blank look on the floorman’s face said it all. What really happened? It depends on who you ask.
Floor people are forced to make their judgments based on eyewitness accounts, well after the fact. It’s virtually impossible to make decisions that treat all players fairly or take into account what may have been an involuntary human response to the pressures and distractions of the cardroom. Much of the confusion about player intent would be resolved by instituting a simple change inside all cardrooms. In fact, if what I’m about to propose would be implemented universally, I believe player that disputes and floor decisions would be reduced significantly. Questions would rarely be raised about a player’s intent or action.
Here’s the idea: Place a large oval on top of the felt that rings the entire table. This means a thin white line separates players from the pot. Any chips that move …