I'm going to discuss a couple of unsportsmanlike maneuvers I saw today. One that reminded me that, no matter how well known a player is, you always have to be on your guard. The other is an example of someone sacrificing their integrity for the sake of saving a few chips.
During the $1,000 rebuy event a pretty well-known poker player was getting ready for the add-on period during the break. In that tournament, any player who was under their original starting stack of $2,000 could rebuy and do a double add-on.
As some of the players were finishing adding on and leaving the table, I saw this player shuffle up his $4,000 stack into a nice dirty mix of black, blue and green chips. He then threw out three yellow chips and told the dealer that he needed a rebuy and a double add-on. The dealer happily accepted the three yellows and counted out $6,000 in chips.
Being an observer, I didn't feel it was any of my business getting involved in a situation that, quite frankly, was none of my business. I kept my mouth shut. Thankfully, a player at the table noticed what was going on and spoke up. The dirty stack feigned surprise.
"What's going on? I thought I could rebuy? Why can't I rebuy and double add-on at the end of break?" he complained.
His story might have been more believable had he not made an obvious effort to attempt to conceal how many chips he really had. The dealer didn't understand the rules, so the other players had to let her know that the player wasn't allowed to buy so many chips because he was over the maximum.
The offender, who shall remain nameless, knew exactly what he was trying to pull and if it hadn't been for a few observant witnesses, he might have gotten away with it. After a short protest (to keep up appearances) the player finally conceded and took the proper add-on.
"Sorry, I didn't know," was all he had to say for himself.
Another instance of sketchy behavior came a couple of hours later when a player across the room counted out a bet, picked up the chips and reached across the felt to make the bet. He was up against a player who was a bit anxious.
"I call!" his opponent blurted out before the bettor had a chance to release the chips. The player who was about to bet quickly returned the chips to his stack and said he hadn't bet yet. His opponent was under the impression that a forward motion constituted a bet.
"I wasn't going to bet it," contended the player, an obvious lie.
"Awwww, you know you were gonna bet it," countered another player.
"I wasn't! Sometimes I like to check with chips in my hand!" he kept insisting.
The floor had been called by now and, after listening to the story, the representative ruled that the bet did not stand. I was somewhat surprised at the ruling but, browsing through the rules for the WSOP, I discovered that this issue isn't specifically covered.
Usually in a tournament, a forward motion like that would constitute a bet 100% of the time, but this floorman didn't seem to think so. Most of the table couldn't believe their ears after the ruling, so they called a different floorman over.
That floorman said he would've ruled it as a bet and the player would've been forced to put in at least the minimum bet and possibly all of the chips in his hand. The table began buzzing about the contradictory rulings, prompting the floorman to advise the players to drop it and change the topic or face a penalty.
This instance was a little less clear. Even if there is no rule in the books that specifies the player was making a bet, and he knew that, he should have stuck to his principles and said he wasn't doing anything wrong. Lying about his intention, which is clearly what he was doing, isn't good for the game and left a bad taste in everyone's mouth.