A Ref's decision

Questions about Skat rules

A Ref's decision

Postby skatlink1 » 18 Oct 2013 11:14

I just wanted to tell you a little about referee's. what the proper etiquette is ,and how to handle them.
first of all in a lot of tournaments the ref is a volunteer , they have paid their money and given their time to learn the rules. the rules are consistently updated and can get very confusing at times. The ref usually wasn't at the table when the infraction happened so they have to rely on what they see and are told at the table.
So many times ,after the fact a person comes to me and says ,so and so made this and this ruling, is it right. 9 out of 10 times the ruling is wrong .Why because after the fact you come up with a different or better story .Now your alone and don't have the rest of the table telling me something different .of course now we rule in your favour and say the ref made a bad call. And ref's are human they might have made a bad call. you just didn't explain your case good enough on the table.
And more than likely you had the wrong attitude at the time. Most of the time your upset you got caught making a simple mistake or you didn't know the rules properly.In both cases your defensive and now as a ref, I have to determine the infraction and I have to consider the fact that someone may be cheating.
As a ref the main objective is to keep the flow of the game going ,inform the rules and prevent cheating or sloppy play. often it means determining a win or lose on the table.Someone is not going to be happy.
The last thing we want to create is more arguments or discussions about the rulings.Our job is to get the game to continue. So number one rule is when a ref comes to your table understand we want the game to continue .Arguing or fighting with the ref will not work,we are trained to shut you up and often will just call against you if you think you can cause more problems than figuring out a proper ruling.This is like a judge in court,follow the rules of order or you'll be convicted and have to go to the supreme court and get a new ruling.
So be calm and respectful to the ref and he will listen to your case. This is why often the ref asks the person that is the most relaxed what happened first.
Now when and if the Ref makes a call you do not like. say thank you for your call but I still disagree,may I have an other ruling from a different ref or can we continue under protest.
Continue under protest !! this is the key.you are now not fighting the authority of the ref and you are trying to continue playing. This is big in your favour ,now the ref thinks about his ruling and calmly looks at all angles ,discusses it with the other ref's ,and now truly wants to make the right call. This also shows the ref that the intent of cheating was not there. a cheater try's to defend himself and his actions and try's to cause confusion.
The other day I get called to the table.3 good players on the table,you figure all know the rules by now.
But they are arguing .The rule is a simple one .The player exposes his 2 last cards,forehand throws in his cards(he does have the lead).the player in middle hand wants all the cards.hinter hand says I make a trick. I tell fore hand to lead and sure enough a trick is made by the defence. A quick and painlessly rule in favour for the defence,both tricks go to defence and therefore the player loses as the defence has more than 60.in the play out I also realized,no matter how it was played and even if defence gets only the one trick they would win.this was a no brainer.But right away I get hassles from the player,the defence threw his cards in,and started to argue with me. My first response is that .Were you trying to cheat. In my eyes it looks that way,not only do you lose you get a yellow card.the way I see it your a good enough player that 1 you should know this rule,2)your good enough that you know that you need both tricks to win. 3) your not respecting my authority or decision.This nipped everything in the butt right there and then.
Now the person goes on to win the tournament.Great congratulations. But what does he do he goes and complains to the head ref in Germany,and then after they give him the same ruling .he write me and says he doesn't appreciate me calling him a cheater.Totally the wrong things to do.
For one I did not call him a cheater,even though it clearly looked that way. I ask him if he was trying to cheat.
The rule was simple and I did not need to spend time discussing the ruling at that time,as it was clear this is a problem player,his afterwards actions proves this.As a ref I read him right.
If he truly had eny type of sportsmanship or Skat ethics .He would have excepted the ruling and say I would like to continue under protest,as I would like a further explanation or I believe your call is wrong. All would have been fine.
Now he is on the black list.Ref's should watch out for this player.And if he continues to win tournaments he will be investigated,and tested.
They actually did that to me,long time ago,I was winning a lot,and people thought I was cheating.They brought in a professional from Germany that knows how to cheat and has seen it all,and actually can determine if your a clean player or not.It was determined that I am just lucky. But it wasn't a nice thing to go through. a humbling experience to say the least.
So please call the ref when ever you need them,but treat them right,they are volunteering and they try their best to be fair. I have been given bad calls and I ve even made some. but with the right attitude and sportsmanship and ethics.you will get a fair and honest decision.And their here to protect you from those trying to pull a fast one. I also recommend everyone to get their license ,even if you don't want to ref,just so you know the rules and can understand how the ref's work.
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Re: A Ref's decision

Postby vHacht » 12 Dec 2013 10:39

So we had an interesting debate at the club last night and I was curious as to what you thought about it.

I was not at the table, but we talked about it a bit after. Basically Player B(on defense), was trying to look at the last trick of the game. He was trying to grab three cards, but accidentally grabbed 5, however did not flip them over. He was looking at the five cards to narrow it down to three, they were still semi face down, and may have lifted the edges of the cards to try and select 3 cards rather than 5. Player A( the player) stated that this was cheating, and did not want to play the game anymore. I assume he thought that player B had looked at the 5 cards. The Ref came over and, Player B said he didn't see the cards, however was trying to fumble through them to get to 3 cards for the last trick.

What is the correct ruling here? How important is it to be very careful with the last trick that you flip over in a tournament?

On a side note, If the player who is sitting out or dealing catches someone doing something wrong, for example didn't put two cards in the skat or not following suit, what should he do? I typically say nothing as I am not in the game, however if another player notices what he did I will add confirmation at that point. Again, what is the standard practice here?


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Re: A Ref's decision

Postby skatlink1 » 14 Dec 2013 18:39

2 good questions
Looking at the last trick is a fairly new rule to ispa.Now that it is allowed to look a the last trick before the next trick is completed has caused a few problems. One, once you have played a card you can not look at the last trick.therefore once a complete trick is openly played no one can look at the last trick.
Were everyone makes a mistake is that if you call a ref and have not played a card out yet. The ref may turn the last trick over for you to view and continue the game.to clarify who actual made the trick and who's lead it is or if everyone followed suit.(the rule was actually made for the ref's to keep the flow of the game going)
Now to save time and to not drive the ref crazy people just assume they can see the last trick.(because if we call over a ref he will say yes so long as you haven't played a card yet) They do have the right to see the trick but in actual fact don't have the right to do so without permission.(this is where they go wrong)
But over time we hate to penalize this because it causes too much problems,so we say if you ask to see the last trick, then as sportsman just open the last trick.
Now everyone thinks it ok to just look at the last trick anytime you want. And this is where we the ref's have gotten very tough.
If you take it on yourself to open the last trick, with out permission from the other players, you better not make a mistake.
such as turning over more than 3 cards , turning over cards when the other trick is open or you have already played a card.so in your case where the person turned over 5 cards or even separated 5 cards,he doesn't even have to see them that is in material,as he is not allowed to disrupt the pile of tricks, count,look or separate the cards. player A was right,fumbling with the tricks is reasonable doubt that some is trying to cheat
If he did not ask for permission to see that last trick we as ref's go to the other rule of disturbing your tricks and penalize the player for doing so.(without the players permission we can not assume that all he was doing is trying to look at the last trick which he has a right to do,but without permission he could be trying enything) If he said may I look at the last trick and fumbles around and accidently shows 4 or 5 cards,we say his intend was clear that all he wanted to do is look at the last trick, all the players agreed and know that it was unintentional and we would not penalize him for the extra exposed card.this was an honest mistake and many times he is exposing the last trick for someone else.(all are watching and know what he's doing)
I actually had a guy reach over to my pile of cards and flip 4 cards over as he say I want to see the last trick. he was penalize and lost his game.
another turned over the first trick he made and exposed 1 of his discards,he did not ask to see the last trick therefore lost exposing the skat.
Tell all your Players ,yes you are allowed to see the last trick WITH PERMISSION. we still want to use manner ,etiquette and sportsmanship.You want to take the rules into your own hands you will be caught.Teach then to ask to see the last trick. If they do it without asking call a ref.
A good ref will tell the player . Sir you have a right to see the last trick,but if you look at the last trick without asking permission,all these guys have to do is say you saw 4 cards and I have to rule against you. so for your safety please show good sportsman ship and ask to see the last trick.So no one can accuse you of cheating.
So my call would have been if he did not have permission to see the last trick from the players on the table I would have ruled won game for the player and warning for the guy looking at his tricks.
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Re: A Ref's decision

Postby skatlink1 » 14 Dec 2013 22:57

a very touchy question.
First of all the dealer is a player and is part of the game .And is actually part of the defence. They have the right to call any infraction and should do so.
This is why when a player lets you look in his hand you actually should be come a spectator and give up your right as a player,but the rule states that you are still a part of the game,if you make any comment the player can actual through in the cards and call you for giving hints to the defence.
So myself I do not like to look at other players hands ,because I feel bad making a call against them.so when I do look into another players hand ,I believe I become impartial and I will not make the call and just hope the defence catches it. If I did not look in his hand by all means I will and have the right to make all calls.
You trusted me to look into your hand the lease I could do is be impartial .I hope your honest enough to make the call on yourself or hopefully the player catch it. If not I shut up but I know you cheated or got away with one accidently and I will now not look in your hand again because now iam watching you and will call you on anything I can.
Only an on looker, can not say anything , if an on looker calls an infraction made by other player .he must be remove from that area.his call and comments are not allowed and if you can't shut up while other are playing you must leave the room. Watching players ,play skat is a privilege and if they say hey he didn't follow suit I would ask him to leave. That is not his place or right and he will only cause bad feeling and arguments, I would refuse to continue to play if that spectator is in the room. And I have seen ref's make spectators leave so this does not happened. Because this is the type of player that also gives hints on the table.
So as dealer you have the right to make the call, but then stop looking into your opponents hand, because then your also being unfair.
I realy don't mind a person looking at my cards and then calling me on a ruling ,because it doesn't happened. I rarely make a beginner mistake and I don't cheat.
I have won more games calling the person looking in my cards ,more than them calling me looking in my cards. If I have a real weak one I even show them and hope they say something stupid like you can't win this one. instant win your part of the defence and telling them I have a weak hand.
Here is a good one, Bernie has a habit of looking at 2 players hands and that's against the rules, tell him not to do it in the beginning and sooner or later your going to get a free winner when you need it, cause he can't stop himself.
So that is the rule ,like yourself I choose not to call it when I see their hand,but 2 hands later I tell the rest of the players he got away with one and you have to watch him closer.But you are in the right to call them right away.
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