While playing in my home game last night, we came across an interesting hand. It is important to note that we do not have a designated dealer. Meaning that each person takes their turn dealing. This is important because one of the people involved in the hand was dealing.
I did not see the hand in question until the turn. I had folded and was returning from the bathroom. The flop was Ah-Th-6c. I saw the turn card peel off. It was the 2 of hearts. Prasad, in the small blind was heads up with Eric, the dealer. Prasad checked the turn. Eric over bet the pot. Not unusual for his style of play. Prasad pushed the rest of his chips in. It was obvious to me that he had moved all in for more than the original bet. Eric peeled off the the 8s for the river without acknowledging this. Prasad had tried to get his attention while he was burning for the river. The issue was this. Eric did not make the call of $40. Carl, the host of the game said the 8s had to be reshuffled and a new river dealt. Another heart came and Eric won the pot with the nuts. He held AK with the king of hearts.
Prasad sat speechless. Eric raked in the chips. I have many issues with what happened. The first being that Eric controlled the deal. He did not make sure the pot was correct before dealing the river. After he dealt the first river and "noticed" the raise from Prasad, he said something to the effect that it did not matter he was going to call anyway. In my opinion, the hand should have been over and Prasad the winner. Eric kept it going by then saying that the rule says it needs to be dealt again. Carl intervenes and says Eric is right. Eric shuffles the 8s back into the deck, deals and wins. He then says he is not sure if he has a heart or not. He made a little theatrical event by flipping each card one at a time. This point makes me think he did it on purpose. He had the nut draw. He is a player that is playing poker for a living in KC. He put in huge bets on a draw heavy board. He can only do that if he knows he has a draw to the nuts. He knew what he had and basically stole a pot from a guy that he calls a friend.
I saw Prasad the next day and we talked about the incident. He told me he was good with Eric and did not think there was any malice involved. Prasad felt it was an honest mistake. I conveyed my worries to Prasad. My number one issue was Eric held the deal. He made the mistake. If it were at a casino, I can understand the rule. A non biased party made a mistake. The rule makes sense. Here it is a "friendly" home game. Coupled with Eric saying he would call anyway, I believe Eric should have released the pot and Prasad declared the winner. Eric made the "mistake" and Prasad lost. Inherently unfair.
I know I would have given the pot to Prasad. The pot was large enough and Eric had the nut draw. The $40 extra would not entice a fold. Even with 8s being declared dead, Eric called, I think Eric should have been allowed to fold to the $40 raise, nothing more.