EPT Cyprus: Controversial Poker Hand Sees Cards Retrieved from The Muck

EPT Cyprus: Controversial Poker Hand Sees Cards Retrieved from The Muck

There's always at least one hand in every poker tournament that causes a stir, and this was no exception during Day 1a of the $2,200 Eureka High Roller at the ongoing PokerStars EPT Cyprus festival.

Merijn van Rooij and Maan El Hachem were the players involved in the hand which saw cards retrieved from the muck after an all-in and call situation. There was a lengthy deliberation by the floor, that also saw their initial decision overruled by EPT Tournament Director Toby Stone.

Mucked Cards Declared to Be In Play

There was around 60,000 in the pot on the 3287J board. Van Rooij announced all in from early position, and his opponent, El Hachem, called off his remaining stack of 17,200.

Van Rooij tabled his KK for a pair of kings. El Hachem kept his cards face down and pushed them forward, thinking Van Rooij had KJ for a flush. The dealer then placed his cards on top of the muck, where they were still easily retrievable.

"At all-in and call, it is the dealer's responsibility to protect the player's cards."

El Hachem then realised that Van Rooij had just a pair of kings, and he could beat that. El Hachem said he had deuces, which was good for a set. The cards were taken from the top of the muck and turned over. It showed that El Hachem indeed had 2x2x.

The floor was then called over, and the initial ruling was that El Hachem's hand was dead due to going into the muck. El Hachem and a few players at the table then said his hand should still be alive because when there is an all-in and a call, the cards should go on their backs.

The floor went to Toby Stone for a final say due to the grey area about hands going into the muck in this scenario.

It was the final hand of Level 10, and the decision was made during the break that marked the end of late registration. The original ruling was overturned, and it was declared that El Hachem's hand was still in play. With that, he scooped in the pot.

"At all-in and call, it is the dealer's responsibility to protect the player's cards, so for this reason, the hand is still alive," said Stone.

WSOP Tournament Director Andy Tillman also gave his thoughts on the hand and wrote on Facebook, "Completely the correct ruling. All hands must be shown in an all-in-and-call situation."

"A player in a tournament is not allowed to fold their hand face down. So, as long as the cards are clearly identifiable and retrievable, the hand is turned up and hown. It's the dealer's responsibility to protect the game for the entire tournament and not let that hand be folded. Great call by Toby! I would've ruled the exact same."

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