Saturday, November 28, 2009

The all-in button

While playing at the Venetian yesterday and today, I noticed that they have started using an "all-in button." When a player declares himself to be all in, the dealer tosses that button in front of him. Some other places (e.g., MGM Grand) also have "call" buttons used when there is a call of such a bet, but the Venetian has not gone that far.

My impression is that the dealers dislike taking the trouble to deploy these things, but I think they serve a useful purpose. I explained my reasons for this opinion last year, here, so I won't repeat them. But I will add one more that I didn't list then: It makes the action clearer on the surveillance tapes, which do not pick up conversation at the table (as far as I know--and I really doubt that they do). If one had cause to review how a poker hand played out, it would be helpful to know that a player verbally committed all of his chips, because otherwise the action might seem out of order or otherwise anomalous, and the amount raked might appear wrong.

My main concern about them is if they are not used consistently. If players learn to rely on them (particularly hearing-impaired players, or anybody in a poker room as noisy as, say, Bally's), but then comes along a dealer who isn't reliable about tossing the button out when it's called for, there could ensue more confusion and debate than might happen when players know they need to ask for verbal clarification of the action if there is any doubt.

It is still just a few places in town that use these, but I think it's a good trend, and hope other poker rooms will start the practice, too.


--S said...

I have always hated those buttons. Of course, I had never worked anywhere that had them. Rather, I just imagined what a pain it would be to have to deal with them.

I was wrong.

We have them at my current place of employment, and I will be the first to grab the button out of the well and fling it in front of someone who makes a verbal declaration of being all-in.

The buttons are nothing but good for the game, and have (in my opinion) prevented several potential floor calls already.

Rakewell said...

You're the first dealer I've encountered who agrees with me. But that's not surprising, given your general sensible nature! :-)

Gunslinger said...

Most Los Angeles poker rooms use these, I have found them very helpful for the game, and I have never seen them slow the pace down. They cut down on a lot of confusion.

Michael said...

Most of the card rooms and casinos here in San Diego have one at each spot for the player to use when they go all in. This eliminates the need for the dealer to do it.

I like them because then you can just toss the button out rather than shove all your chips. if somebody asks for a count, then you can move the stacks out but until then, it's just a quick motion to toss the button out there.

I've heard stories about a player saying all in but not pushing any chips out. another player calls and then the palyer who went all in subsequently loses the hand but refuses to move the chips. I've heard that the floor can't actually force the player to relinquish the chips because they never went across the betting line. I don't know how true this may be but having the button forces your action whether you push chips across the line or not. Putting the button out in front of you was a conscious action that is caught on tape.