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Tournament Directors Association

Debbie Burkhead

One More Reason
By Debbie Burkhead

At this year's World Poker Conference a much needed decision was made to standardize poker tournament rules. As a direct result of Lucky Chances' Tournament Director Matt Savage and well known Tournament Director Dave Lamb, we now have a set of rules for cardroom managers to follow. It was requested that the 14 rules agreed upon would be used for a period of one-year, effective August 1, 2001. Cardroom managers are invited to fill out a short form to become a member of the Tournament Directors' Association. By submitting the form, cardroom managers are pledging to uphold the set of rules.

Now that we are aware of this movement on the part of cardroom managers to follow standardized rules, it is also up to us as players to play where they are enforced.

There has been a lot of controversy over a decision that was made at The Orlean's Open this year. One of the tournament players got into a scuffle with someone while on break and was arrested and taken to jail. The player's chips were picked up and removed from play. At the time he was the chip leader at the table. There was a lot of grumbling about the decision but the floorman's decision was ruled final and that was that.

The incident took place outside of the tournament room and his being arrested had nothing to do with breaking any tournament rules. Rumor had it, he was barred for life and would never step foot back into The Orleans. Well that was not what happened, and it was later determined he was not at fault and he was back playing at The Orleans within a day or two.

Now, here's my problem: What if he had been released from jail in time to finish the tournament? What if he and the police had worked things out in the parking lot and he had come back in within minutes? I'm sure you get the picture. My point is this, there was no way anyone could be positive he wouldn't return, so what justification was there for removing the chips from play? If there is any possibility of a player returning to the tournament, his chips must stay in play. Removing his chips from play was not totally fair to the remaining nine players at his table. Once they were removed, the other players had no hope of winning them back.

With that said, I propose a rule that would allow players' chips to remain on the table and in play unless the infraction was a direct result of something that took place in the tournament room and while the player was still in the tournament. Even then I am not sure chips should ever be removed, but I do believe strongly that in the case above those chips should have remained in play. There is no rule that I know of that says you can't leave a tournament and come back later, so by all rights the player could have gotten back and resumed play even hours later as long as he hadn't been completely anted or blinded away.

This subject is in no way a slam to The Orleans, it is just another reason we tournament players need a set of standardized rules for tournament play. The Orlean's Open is one of my favorite tournaments on the circuit and the tournament staff does a terrific job year after year. I will be the first to admit it is not easy to run a poker tournament and it is even harder to please everyone but I think the TDA's effort to standardize the rules is a step in the right direction.

If you have any strong opinions on the subject or would like to suggest a solution for this or any other needed tournament rule, please e-mail me at burkhead@pokerpages.com or write Poker Pages at 3530 Bee Caves Road, Suite 110, Austin, TX 78746, or fax 512-306-0302.

Poker Pages will be providing more information on the standardization of tournament rules and we hope you'll support the TDA's effort to help the poker tournament circuit be a better one.

Below is an up-to-date list of the casinos, cardrooms and tournaments that have confirmed acceptance of the TDA rules.

  1. Ocean's Eleven-Oceanside, CA
  2. Reno Hilton-Reno, NV
  3. Lucky Chances-Colma, CA
  4. Spirit Mountain-Grand Ronde, OR
  5. Eldorado Hotel/Casino-Reno, NV
  6. Peppermill Casino-Reno, NV
  7. Casino San Pablo-San Pablo, CA
  8. Hold'em Club-Costa Rica
  9. Four Queens-Las Vegas, NV
  10. Caesars Glory of Rome Riverboat-Elizabeth, IN
  11. Card Player Cruises-Las Vegas, NV
  12. World Poker Challenge-Reno Hilton-Reno, NV
  13. Tournament of Champions-Orleans Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas NV
  14. Jack Binion World Poker Open-Horseshoe/Gold Strike, Tunica, MS
The response has been very positive in a very short time and that in itself proves the industry is listening and willing to make things better for both the players and the cardrooms.

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