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TheLangolier's blog

/Oct/2013

Know the Rules- Out of Turn Action

By: TheLangolier @ 17:08 (EDT) / 8940 / Comment ( 7 )

Out of turn action (verbal or physical… verbal is binding) isn’t something that you have to think about while playing online.  The PokerStars client methodically controls the order of action in the correct sequence for us, so making an action out of turn isn’t possible.   In live poker however, it can and does happen, and it’s important to not only guard against accidently doing this yourself, but to also know the rules when it does happen.

After busting out of a WSOP Circuit event last Friday, I put my name on the cash games lists hoping to get a seat relatively soon.  The first seat that came open was at a $2-$5 blind NLHE game, and I took it, sitting with the maximum table buy in of $500.  The game was good, and I ended up staying at this table for the entire session. 

During the middle of the session, an interesting hand went down.   Action folded around to the hijack seat, who opened for $25.  He was one of the weaker players at the table… he seemed to play somewhat tight as a default, but occasionally made random nonsense plays out of the blue with no rhyme or reason.  He was stuck and on his 3rd short buy ($200 each time, the table minimum) since I sat down.   The cut off seat flatted the $25.   She was playing loose and poorly, waiting for a seat in a PLO game who’s list was significantly longer.   The action was now mine on the button, and I peeled up the corners of my cards to reveal 2 black aces.   Before I could do anything however, the small blind, who was stuck and steaming, moved all in out of turn for his last $75. 

The Rule in cases of out of turn action is that the action is binding, as long as it is still a valid action when it is that player’s turn to act.   In other words, he has technically declared a raise of $50 to $75 total.  If I (and any other players, had there been more between us) either fold or call the $25 bet we’re facing, then the SB’s action will still be possible when it’s his turn, and he must make exactly this action at that time.   If I chose to raise the $25 bet however, now the SB’s action is not possible as stated, so it becomes void and he can again do whatever he wants to on his turn, including fold if he so chooses. 

The purpose of this rule is to prevent angle shooting…  like for example, a shifty player sees you are about to bet and doesn’t want you to, so he quickly bets $50 out of turn.   The dealer reminds him it’s not his turn to act yet and he says oh, sorry, and takes the bet back.   Seeing this, you decide to check to him, at which point he now says “ok, I check too”.   He has just angle shot you to get a free card and avoid facing the bet you were about to make.  The rule prevents this type of thing, as if you do check, his $50 out of turn bet stands and he must make it.

So back to the game.   After the SB moved in I said, “uh, I haven’t acted yet”, the dealer catching it at the same time.   Both the dealer and I reacted quickly, but it didn’t take more than half a second for the SB to verbally announce “I’m all in” and move his single remaining stack forward.  The dealer advised me it’s my turn, I can do whatever I want.  Knowing the rule, clearly my play is to just call with my aces.  This will not change the action… the SB will have to move in for his last $75, and action will be back on the hijack.   And since the SB’s shove is more than the minimum raise amount, it reopens the action, so if the hijack or cutoff call, I’ll be able to reraise when it comes back to me.  

The hijack went into the tank, droning on about what just happened, it’s so weird, he doesn’t know what to do now (he is legitimately concerned with my $25 call, which I made when I could have simply folded, fully knowing once I did call there would be an all in raise to $75 behind me).  After a lot of deliberation, he folded (later saying it was JJ, which I believe was the truth). 

 Now the cut off goes into the tank, and eventually calls $50 more.  I now reraised to $215 total, which was just enough to put her all in if she called.  She went into the tank AGAIN (wonder what she was thinking about the first time, to not have considered I might make this move??? lol).  After another minute of deliberation she says “screw it, I’ll gamble” and makes the call (sounds like a PLO player doesn’t she? ).  The board runs out 6d2d3h9hQc, and I table my aces.   The lady says “I missed my flush” and shows KdTd.  The SB says “I had a million outs too” and flashes the Ah4h.   Somehow my 2 black aces had faded a red board and a million outs to win a very nice pot and felt both players.  But it was my understanding of the rules (and the lady’s either lack of understanding, or lack of consideration to what was going on) that allowed me to get a lot of extra money in the pot preflop in a really good equity spot. 

I thought this would make a nice educational blog for the members of PSO who don't play live regularly, and I do like an educational story with a happy ending.

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