Michael Mizrachi found himself in trouble at the World Poker Tour Venetian main event this week after he broke etiquette. Mizrachi tried to get tricky violating the “show one, show all” rule using his phone. He took a photograph of his hole cards before pitching them into the muck.
He then showed the photo to Scotty Nguyen, who was sat at the same table.
The “show one show all” rule requires that if a player shares information about their hole cards with any other player at their table, they must share the same information with all the other players at their table too. The rule serves both to keep everyone on an even footing in the information market, and to prevent certain kinds of collusion.
Mizrachi was called out for trying to circumvent this rule. He immediately and graciously showed the photo to the rest of the table, before turning the picture towards the WPT camera crew so that they could get a good shot of his pocket aces on the screen.
Kyna England, Mizrachi’s opponent in the hand, tweeted earlier in the day about her excitement at playing with two legends of the game. “I’m playing 5 handed with Scotty Nguyen and Michael Mizrachi for 900k,” she wrote. “What is even happening??” She signed off: “#pokergoals #LFG.”
England made the bet 135k from the cut-off, then called Mizrachi’s raise to 405k.
The flop came 4♠4♥2♦. Mizrachi led with 350k and England called him off.
The turn was the 6♠. With two spades on the board, a low pair, and three cards to a straight, there were plenty of possible hands that might bet the turn. Mizrachi clearly had one of them. He moved in for 1,580,000. England thought about it for a moment then mucked her hand.
At this point, Mizrachi pulled out his phone and snapped the picture.
Rules, ettiquette, and manners
The “show one show all” rule has long been an irritant to poker-pedants for other reasons.
One misunderstanding of the rule is the reason that tournament players are no longer allowed to show a single card to the table. There is no underlying rationale as to why showing part of a hand should be disallowed so long as everyone at the table gets to see it. The rule is “show one player, show all” not “show one card.”
This problem doesn’t come up as often as it used to. These kinds of flashy gamesmanship gimmicks are a relic of the old school. Older players will remember the habit of “paying to see one,” and the drip-feed of curated information this could generate.
But Mizrachi’s move was decidedly poor form and in violation of the rule’s original spirit. All credit to him, he did not debate the issue when called out on it. Though one might wonder if he would have tried something like this in the first place against a more established player than England.
England went on to knock Nguyen out and to make the TV table of six. She tweeted the video of the hand with the caption “I mean…”
Mizrachi went on to bust in 9th place. England is guaranteed a minimum cash of $192,855 now. If she wins she will make $910,370.
Featured image source: Flickr by WPT