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The Pole Dancer, The Floorman, and the Poker Player

by Linda Johnson |  Published: Nov 08, '14


We all know that “the rules are the rules” and the “Floorman’s decision is final.” However, TDA (Poker Tournament Directors Association) rule #1 reads as follows: Floorpeople must consider the best interest of the game and fairness as top priorities in the decision-making process. Unusual circumstances can on occasion dictate that decisions in the interest of fairness take priority over the technical rules.

An interesting situation occurred while I was playing in a poker tournament in the Caribbean a few days ago. During one of the evening breaks, the music started and the pole dancing began. I admit I have never seen a pole dancing demonstration live, and was amazed at how much physical strength the dancers needed. I now have a new respect for pole dancers.:)

The break ended but the dancers continued to entertain. The players were totally engrossed. About 10 minutes after play was scheduled to resume, I really wanted to get back to poker so I asked the dealer when the tournament was going to re-start. She replied, “After the dancing, I guess.” At this point, one of the players got up and walked to the back of the cardroom. Two minutes later, in the middle of one of the dances, the floorman went to each of the remaining four tables and told the dealers to “Shuffle up and deal.” As our dealer was dealing the first hand, the player who had left the table looked over and saw the cards in the air and came running back to the table. The dealer told him his hand was dead. He protested and asked for the floorman. The floorman came and listened to the player’s explanation, then confirmed that his hand dead. In my opinion, this wasn’t a fair ruling based on the fact that we had been told that the tournament wouldn’t resume until the dancing had stopped. I think the floorman should have resorted to rule #1 (there were definitely “unusual circumstances” occurring) and let him play his hand.

Only in the Caribbean would we need a pole dancer ruling. No, I’m not dreaming this…it really happened!

Linda Johnson
Card Player Cruises

Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of


7 years ago

The Dealer said, "I guess". There's no reason why the player who left the table should assume from that remark that the restart of poker was tied to the end of the pole-dancing. "I guess" means "I don't really know.." She was responding to your question so I assume from the fact that you had to ask that there had been no official announcement about the duration of the delay. I think the floorman was correct. We are not children - if you leave your seat and wander away, it's your responsibility to be in your seat when the cards are dealt - unless the tournament clock still shows a "Break" is in effect.


7 years ago


Her whole point is why your wrong. Give the guy a break, play a tournament for fun. The floor should never take away a hand from a customer.


7 years ago

The issue here isn't really that he was told play might resume when the dancing stopped, the issue is that he had no idea when play would resume. For that reason, he cannot be expected to be present when it does. Despite that, he made an effort to get back (running to the table) 'in time.' His hand definitely should NOT have been mucked.

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