A Silly Rule

I believe that it is important that the rules of poker are uniformly enforced so that the game is orderly and that the recreational players are not taken advantage of.  There is a rule that comes up a few times each session that I believe is pointless, that creates unfair situations and that no one has been able to give me a good explanation as to why the rule even exists.

The rule is this: if a player acts out of turn with a raise or a call, he is held to that action if the action before him does not change significantly(there is no raise).  So, if it is your turn to act, and I act out of turn and raise (either because I don’t see you have cards, I am not paying attention, or the dealer isn’t keeping order in the game) , I must raise if you fold or call.  This allows the person who should have acted first, and who was not materially harmed in any way(I would argue that they benefit from the information that the person behind them wants to raise), to essentially act last, as the person who acted out of turn must raise.  In addition, this puts the other players in a difficult position since the order of action has effectively been changed.

I have asked many people for a good rationale for this rule, and no one has been able to give me a good explanation.  In fact, the only explanation I have received(other than “that’s the rule”) is that enforcing the rule ensures that the person who acted out of turn does not “angle,” by raising out of turn and then being able to take it back.  While I agree that people acting out of turn and being able to take it back would be bad for the game, allowing the person who was acted in front of to have an enormous advantage seems silly.  After all, they have not been harmed in any way.  If the person who acted out of turn was able to take the raise back, the person who was passed over would still have the threat of being raised as there always is in poker, plus the information that the person intended to raise.

If anyone has a good reason why this is a good rule, please chime in!

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