One of the nice things about online poker is there is no dealer error. No miscounting of chips, no bad deals, no misreading of cards, no failing to collect antes. But what if there was? What if the dealer does make a mistake? There is no floor manager to call over to correct things; play goes on and the next hand is dealt while you sit there wondering what happened. Such a situation looks like it occurred this weekend on WSOP.com in New Jersey, as poker player Jon Borenstein shared a video with the Twitterverse of a hand in which it appears that the software distributed an incorrect number of chips at the end of the hand.
Borenstein posted the video of his hand replay Sunday, curious as to how he “managed to lose chips on this hand w 40 left in your Sunday major.”
In that tournament, the $320 buy-in, $100,000 guarantee that began at 6:00pm ET, Borenstein finished in sixth place.
The first dozen times I watched Borentein’s 17-second video, I felt like a student at MIT studying an impossible math problem in the hallway. But I channeled my inner Will Hunting and I think I pieced it together. Let’s have a break it down.
Borenstein was in the big blind (blinds were 2,000/4,000 with a 500 chip ante) at a nine-handed table, holding A-9. Action folded to the player in the hijack, who went all-in for 4,346, barely a single bet. The small blind raised it up to 16,000 and then Borenstein re-raised to 44,302, forcing the small blind to fold and going heads-up with the hijack.
The WSOP.com then arranged the main pot and small pot correctly. The main pot was the hijack’s 4,346 chip bet times three since he was called (and then raised) by two players, plus the 4,500 chips from the antes. That’s 17,538 chips in total. The side pot between Borenstein and the small blind was their two bets (44,302 and 16,000) minus 4,346 from each that went into the main pot, a total of 51,610. Borenstein was automatically winning the side pot because the small blind had already folded.
Pots change out of the blue
The board came out 2-7-3-4-8 and the all-in hijack player won with K-3. Thus, he was due the main pot of 17,538. But then it got weird. WSOP.com awarded the hijack player 29,192 chips and Borenstein only got 39,956. How is that possible?
It’s not, really, except that it seems that the WSOP.com software somehow glitched out. Why that happened is another question, but it very well might be related to the fact that the small blind was moved to another table after he folded, but before the hand ended.
I think this because the extra chips awarded to the hijack are from the small blind’s 16,000 chip bet. Rather than the hijack only getting 4,346 from the player in the small blind as was properly counted in the side pot initially, he was given the entire 16,000 chip bet. 16,000 less 4,346 is 11,654, which is how many extra chips the all-in player was given. On the flip side, Borenstein received 11,654 fewer chips than he deserved.
WSOP.com has said the problem is being investigated.