The Seventh Card

Anita is playing in a Grand Prix Trial. She calls you to the table and informs you that she was resolving a mulligan to 6 and made an error. She tells you she was on autopilot and counted out 7 cards face down on the table. She then drew cards 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. At this point she realized she was only supposed to have 6 cards in hand and called you. Card 1 is still face down where she placed it when starting her count.

What do you do?

Judges, feel free to discuss this scenario on Judge Apps!

This week we saw a ton of discussion about whether this falls under Improper Draw at Start of Game, a generic Game Rules Violation, or no infraction at all. It’s clear that something didn’t go exactly as desired, but beyond that we have a fair amount of disagreement. So, let’s look at the definition of the most likely infraction:
Originally posted by IPG 2.4 – IDSG – Definition:

A player makes an error while drawing his or her opening hand.
That doesn’t give us a whole lot to work with, so let’s analyze whether anything worth considering an “error” actually occurred. We have a situation where a player randomized her library. She then allowed her opponent to further randomize it. She then counted out 7 cards, and drew 6 of them. After drawing 6, she realized that she wasn’t supposed to draw the last one and called a judge. So, has an error actually occurred?
IPG 2.2 – Looking at Extra Cards – Definition
A player is not considered to have looked at extra cards when he or she places a card face down on the table (without looking at the card) in an effort to count out cards he or she will draw.
We get a big hint from the definition of LEC. Anita has only drawn 6 cards out of what should be an opening hand size of 6. She has laid out an additional card face down to count it. However, the Definition of Looking at Extra Cards specifically explains that such an action does not constitute “looking at” cards, much less drawing them. As long as Anita puts only six of those in her hand, and the other goes back the library, the process of counting out cards face down on the table has done its job.

If we really want to drill down into fine technical detail, we might perhaps say that Anita has inadvertently cut her library after the opponent shuffled. However, this is a violation of MTR pregame procedures and has no infraction specific associated with it. And, as Toby pointed out, we don’t want to go hunting for infractions that don’t matter – just like we don’t penalize people for using Out of Order Sequencing or stop a match every time we see a momentary GRV that the players immediately correct themselves. Unless something is actually wrong, just let the players play. Don’t be the referee who blows his whistle every 20 seconds.

Anita made an extremely minor technical misstep. But, importantly, she has ended up in the right place. Just like we allow other small technical missteps, there is simply no error here we need worry about or act upon. Anita tried to mulligan to six, and she has done so. No infraction. No penalty. Thank Anita for calling you, put the extra card back on top, give a brief extension, and let the game proceed.