August 02, 2011 by Adam Smith Poker Portal Asia
In the wake of the fifth Poker Tournament Directors Association (TDA) 2011 Summit held on June 29-30 at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, an updated set of tournament poker rules has been released online. The Poker TDA rules are used in most of the world’s largest live poker tournaments and are considered to set the standard for tournament poker.
Poker players will no doubt recognise the name of Matt Savage who is one of the co-founders behind the Poker TDA. Savage was the tournament director of the World Series of Poker from 2002 to 2004 and is currently the Executive Tour Director of the World Poker Tour and tournament director of the upcoming Epic Poker League.
Designed to supplement the “house rules” of the casino or card room that holds the tournament, the Poker TDA rules have been comprised by poker personnel from around the globe and have had 12 new rules and a number of amendments added to the list this year. The topics covered included Official Terminology, Uncontested vs Contested Showdowns, Asking to See a Hand, Action out of Turn, Accepted Action, Dead Hands, Non-Standard Folds, Conditional Statements and more.
While it is obviously important for tournament officials to know the rules inside out, it is also advisable for players to read up on them so they know exactly what is expected of them in tournaments. In addition, tournament staff are not able to oversee every hand and, with the knowledge of dealers varying from venue to venue, sometimes it’s up to players to call attention to events in a hand. Players will also know how to avoid being on the receiving end of penalties and be able to object to incorrect rulings (see The Wang Incident) should they occur.
Here are some of the newly added/amended points this year that are perhaps the most interesting and relevant for poker players:
3: Official Terminology of Tournament Poker
Official 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.
Basically, it’s up to the players to make their declarations simple and understood. If they don’t then they may be misinterpreted and the ruling may go against them. We’ve never been a fan of those ‘triangle’ all in hand signals that we see in Macau tournaments, which are often delivered with no verbal declaration at all. The possibilities for confusion if performed in overseas tournaments are just too great.
22: Chipstacks Kept Visible & Countable
Players are entitled to a reasonable estimation of an opponent’s chip count; thus chips should be kept in countable stacks. The TDA recommends clean stacks in multiples of 20 as a standard. Players must keep their higher denomination chips visible and identifiable at all times. Tournament directors will control the number & denomination of chips in play and may color up at their discretion. Discretionary color ups are to be announced.
This prevents players from mixing different denomination chips in their stacks and generally having a messy pile so other players at the table are unable gauge how much they have in front of them. It also makes it easier for Poker Portal Asia hand reporters to count stack sizes at tournaments – though we doubt that was a consideration when the rule was agreed upon.
42: Accepted Action
Poker is a game of alert, continuous observation. It is the caller’s responsibility to determine the correct amount of an opponent’s bet before calling, regardless of what is stated by the dealer or players. If a caller requests a count but receives incorrect information from the dealer or players, then places that amount in the pot, the caller is assumed to accept the full correct action & is subject to the correct wager or all-in amount.
However, it does clarify that this rule may be superseded in certain situations at the tournament director’s discretion, presumably in overtly unfair circumstances to the calling player.
47: Conditional Statements
Conditional statements regarding future action are strongly discouraged; they may be binding and/or subject to penalty. Example: “if – then” statements such as “If you bet, then I will raise”.
All those angle-shooters wanting to elicit information from their opponents had better watch out. We’ve often seen players make such statements and fold so perhaps with the threat of it being a possible binding declaration we may see less of it.
These are just a few of the additions so it’s advisable for you as poker players to read the full list of 55 TDA rules. You can view them on the Poker TDA’s official website http://www.pokertda.com/custom_posts/view-official-tda-rules/