Ruling! #10 – Phone a Friend

By Kelli Mix | September 11, 2009

The Scenario

In a cash game a player talked on his phone throughout the night. He would whisper into the phone and pause when he played. I was sitting to his immediate left and during the middle of a big hand while there was noise at our table I heard him tell his buddy, “Hmm, this guy under the gun just raised me $150 and I got Queen’s…uh huh” He paused for a few seconds and then re-raised. The other player folded and the guy whispered into his phone, “You were right.” No one else at the table heard, but this guy just got advice on how to play the hand from his friend. What should have been done?

Kelli’s Ruling

Well, to be honest, this is an etiquette issue more than anything. First, it is poor etiquette to remain on the phone throughout a game no matter what. I hate that cardrooms allow this. Second, it was your responsibility to point out that the player was violating rules by asking advice on a hand.

The best way to handle it is to simply tell the dealer, “I think this guy on the phone is taking advice from his friend, can he be asked to get off the phone?” The guy will likely deny it and probably get mad, but he certainly wouldn’t risk getting caught again.

As for the hand he won, the most the floor would do based on hearsay is warn the player. From that point on though, I promise all the other players would be listening closely in case he was stupid enough to try it again.

By Kelli Mix

Kelli is the author of the 'Game Day Poker Almanac - Official Rules of Poker'. She lives in Carrollton, Georgia, where she is the state director for the Poker Players Alliance.


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