EPT12 Prague: The first rule of a misdeal is don't look at your cards
Technically it's not wise to look at your cards before it's your turn to act. The textbooks make this clear. Doing so can tip off your opponents as to the strength of your hand, or whether you intend to play the hand in the first place. So it's best to resist giving away this information and look only when the action rests on you.
Almost the same rule applies when there's a misdeal. Only it's slightly more serious. Whatever you do, don't look. Or if you do, like Krasimir Yankov just did, prepare for what you see to linger.
The problem was simple enough. One player had three cards, while the player next to him had only one. It was an accident, with Nikolaos Iliakis scooping up an extra card by mistake. They now wanted to know if it was as simple as Iliakis giving one of his unseen cards to Frederic Delval. The ruling was given: misdeal. Start again.
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At which point Jeff Rossiter turned over his cards out of curiosity. The two aces must have looked like some sort of obscene gesture. When Yankov then turned over two red kings, he must have felt like they'd swapped it for a Tarot deck, with death looking back at him.
"Good job," he said, looking over at Iliakis like he'd just rescued him after falling into the lion enclosure at the zoo.
For his part Rossiter was unmoved to do anything but laugh. Had he jumped up and tried to strangle Iliakis he at least would have had motive. But while others pondered what might have been he seemed content to get on with the next hand. Or to forget the last one.
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.