Premature Reveal

Bam Bam for poker blog

Man:  Doctor, I suffer from premature ejaculation. Can you help me?!

Doctor:  No, but I can introduce you to a woman with a short attention span!

One Urban Dictionary definition of premature ejaculation is “producing the juice before you put it in the caboose.”  Another is “to jettison your bombs before the mission has been completed.”

Sorry, my mind is in the gutter and I digress from the subject of this post before getting started.

We’re playing Texas Holdem poker.  I had folded and wasn’t paying close attention to the betting action.  The flop and turn cards were on the board and the turn betting action completed when one of the players tabled his cards face up, prematurely producing his juice, so to speak.  For purposes of this blog, I’ll call him “Bam Bam.”

The board reads TKJ – 8.  Bam Bam shows Q J♠, giving him second pair.  Two other players still have live cards.

The poor guy.  He had a simple brain fart, forgetting there was a river card and final betting round to come.  Now what?

The dealer at this private house game rules that Bam Bam’s hand is live and must remain face up, but he cannot make any further aggressive betting actions.  In other words, he can call a bet, but cannot initiate a bet or raise.

The river card is J, putting a possible flush on the board and improving Bam Bam’s hand to trips.  There is laughter all around, both of the other players check, then muck their hands.  Bam Bam wins the pot.

I wondered about the ruling, so I looked around for verification.

Surprisingly, Robert’s Rules of Poker doesn’t address this directly.  There is a rule that states:  Procedure for an exposed card varies with the poker form, and is given in the section for each game. A card that is flashed by a dealer is treated as an exposed card. A card that is flashed by a player will play. To obtain a ruling on whether a card was exposed and should be replaced, a player should announce that the card was flashed or exposed before looking at it. A downcard dealt off the table is an exposed card.  This rule is in the section on dealing irregularities and and doesn’t really fit Bam Bam’s error.

There is a good discussion at The Hendon Mob on similar events in a tournament setting, with a survey of opinions from six tournament directors.  One would kill the hand if there cards were shown intentionally.  Others would rule the hand live, and would consider penalizing the player (usually by forcing him to sit out one round) if the showing of his hand was a repeat offense or done intentionally.   World Series of Poker rules are quoted… “a player exposing his or her cards with action pending will incur a penalty, but will not have a dead hand.”

I searched a couple other poker forums as well, and never found any rule or opinion that would have prevented Bam Bam from initiating a bet on the river.  The dealer’s ruling was very reasonable and it would be silly for Bam Bam to bet or raise anyway.  No worse hand will call, no better hand will fold, and he exposes himself to an all-in bluff in a spot where better hands are certainly a possibility.

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