Saturday, August 17, 2013

Official Terminology of Tournament Poker

3:   Official Terminology of Tournament Poker
Official betting terms are simple, unmistakable, time-honored declarations like: bet, raise, call, fold, check, all-in, pot (in pot-limit only), and complete. Regional terms may also meet this standard. The use of non-standard language is at player’s risk because it may result in a ruling other than what the player intended. It is the responsibility of players to make their intentions clear. See also Rules 40 & 49.
     Rules Version 2013 TDA Rules Version 1.1, released August 11, 2013

For instance the phrase "I'll put you all-in" is not a legal bet. If you are heads up and you want to raise to what a player has, then declare yourself all-in.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Player Responsibilities

2:   Player Responsibilities
Players are expected to verify registration data and seat assignments, protect their hands, make their intentions clear, follow the action, act in turn, defend their right to act, keep cards visible, keep chips correctly stacked, remain at the table with a live hand, speak up if they see a mistake being made, transfer tables promptly, follow one player to a hand, know and comply with the rules, follow proper etiquette, and generally contribute to an orderly tournament.
     Rules Version 2013 TDA Rules Version 1.1, released August 11, 2013
This rule says a lot.  The most used portion of this poker rule might be that the player is responsible to protect his own hand. Some people use a card protector for this purpose.

Overall the rule says "be nice". This is the origin of the F-bomb rule. There are dozens of "rules" and principles in poker that can be derived from this rule. Each poker room may apply this differently, but everyone is still about the same.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Floor Decisions

1:   Floor Decisions
Floorpeople must consider the best interest of the game and fairness as top priorities in the decision-making process. Unusual circumstances can on occasion dictate that decisions in the interest of fairness take priority over the technical rules. The floorperson’s decision is final.
     Rules Version 2013 TDA Rules Version 1.1, released August 11, 2013
Once this rule was the last rule on the list of WSOP rules. By popular demand of the players, this rule was moved to the top of the list. It is a very simple concept. The decision of the floor person, right or wrong, is the final word on the subject. Now move on with the game.

This helps the poker tournament move smoothly. This eliminates a debate on what a rule really means from holding up the poker tournament.

The rules can bend a little at the discretion of the floor.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tournament Poker Rules Origins

Even though there are many different casino companies, you will find that all casinos play poker about the same way. Everyone knows the rules, or do they? Each casino company - even each casino - has small variations in the rules. And you would hope that when you play free bar poker you are using more or less the same rules as in a casino.

As it turns out a peer dealt game, as in bar poker, by necessity has some minor rule changes if for no other reason because there is no "staff" dealer at the table. And most bar poker games have a "chip up" when they color up chips rather than a "race off". But all in all, the rules of poker are basically the same for bar poker as for a casino.

So where do these poker rules come from? One of the earliest set of published casino poker rules is Robert Ciaffone's "Robert's Rules of Poker.  Bob Ciaffone setup several of the original poker rooms in casinos and was the man who set the poker rules to be used.

At some point, Linda Johnson - known as the first lady of poker - helped form the TDA (Tournament Director's Association) which now votes on and publishes poker tournament rules. The TDA has members form all the major casinos and they contribute to a standard set of rules you find everywhere.

So do you want to use the same rules as the WSOP (World Series of Poker)? Maybe you want to use the rules from the WPT (World Poker Tour)? Are you happy with Robert's Rules of Poker, or do you want to use the poker rules from the TDA?

For most people, all of these rules will be the same. There are some variances.  For instance at one time the WSOP rules said you had to be "in your seat" when you hand was dealt or you got mucked. The TDA said you had to be "at" your seat. What is the difference? Many players at the WSOP were in their seats, the waitress came by and the needed cash for a tip, so when they stood up to get some money, to tip the waitress, their hands got mucked.

For the next few posts, we will look at the Tournament Directors Association (TDA) rules of poker. Read on, you might learn something.