Author Topic: A point of view on how to approach rules  (Read 6665 times)

D.C.

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A point of view on how to approach rules
« on: April 19, 2011, 12:13:39 PM »
Hello folks,

I'd like to post here a text I've written for a Brazilian poker magazine (Flop Magazine) about a ruling I've commented on the topic "Throwing chips unaware the pot had been raised" on the General section of the forum.

This text is a little long (sorry!) but I think it is good to explain our decision making process here and maybe get some opinions from you guys.

Please post your comments.

Thanks,
DC

Devanir "D.C." Campos
Brazilian Series of Poker Tournament Director

D.C.

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Re: A point of view on how to approach rules
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2011, 12:14:11 PM »
===========================

So, as I had promised last issue, I'll try to use these columns to explain some rules of poker tournaments which interpretation still varies greatly from person to person or from event to event, thus generating some confusion between management and participants. For this reason, on this edition will give you an example that has recently caused a lot of doubt in some tournaments in Brazil. This situation involves one player throwing chips on the table, unaware that the bet was raised before him.

For example, imagine that in a tournament, blinds are 1000-2000. The first to act decides to call for 2000, the second also called. The third player moves all-in to a total of 19,500 chips. Then, the fourth participant, unaware of the action that takes place at the table, places ahead five one-thousand chips, clearly signifying a raise to 5,000. The dealer then draws their attention saying the current bet is 19,500 chips. And now?

I'll tell you what is the conduct that the BSOP and other tournaments that we run follow and explain why.

In the situation described the careless player would be forced to call the bet of 19,500, because he has thrown in multiple chips in a value less of 50% of a minimum raise, and therefore shoulf complete the value of the last bet. If he had said the word "raise" before putting the chips in the pot he would, then, have to put in a minimum raise, i.e. a total of 37,000 chips.

Other tournaments in the world follow different patterns. Some very famous series like the WSOP or WPT will give the unobservant player the option: complete value of the previous bet (in this case, 19,500) or to fold, but lose the chips already placed on the table, that is, losing 5,000 and fold the hand.

Our staff of floor and tournament directors hold regular meetings to discuss what goes well and what needs to be improved in tournaments, rules and procedures, among other things during the dayly operations of a tournament. We always have in mind a few basic assumptions when deciding on a rule or a trend of decision:

1.   Basis of the rule or decision – where this rule derives from and what events use that rule to what extent;
2.   Justice, fairness and maintenance of equality of the competitive conditions;
3.   Influence on the outcome of the game/hand;
4.   Future impacts of a decision.

In the situation of our example, the analysis we've done has convinced us that we should oppose the "default" followed by many renowned tournaments. And here I will explain point by point how we got this conclusion:

1 - BASIS
Let’s consider that the action of a player, on his own turn to act, commits him to that movement. Also knowing that an action can be either verbal or through gestures common in poker, like the gentle tap on the table if he checks or putting chips into the pot to make a bet.
This leads us to conclude that placing chips in the pot, in your own turn, commits you to that action; i.e. if a player bet 1,000 chips, and you then quietly puts in the pot the same value, your movement is clearly and undoubtedly a call.
Likewise, if a next player on his own turn, quietly moves forward six 1000 chips, there is no doubt that he is symbolizing an increase of the bet to 6,000 and must maintain this commitment.
Thus, in their own time to act, if a player places chips ahead while distracted, he must commit to action then follow the rules of chip placement to determine if it is a raise or call.

2 - EQUALITY
There are thousands of possible situations in a game of poker, and tournament rules can not cover them all. So we let to the tournament directors for a good load of weight in decisions, assessing the situation with common sense as it is presented.
In this specific case, we understand that giving the player the option does not seem fair to the other participants of the tournament. See, the player took a careless attitude without checking what was happening and that will often hurt you.
When we offer the option of the player fold or call, we have a complacent, condescending and lenient attitude, which seems to go against most of the postures used in other decisions, that is, we are not giving the other tournament players the option of making mistakes and back with minimal damage to their survival.
For this reason we chose not to give the player option.

3 - INFLUENCE ON OUTCOME
Poker is a sport of aggressive actions and incomplete information. Whenever a participant acts without realizing what is happening around him, he is giving huge advantage to the other participants, who have every right to exploit this advantage to its fullest, just like a professional with years of career will explore a newcomer to the tables.
So, to give the option to fold to the player influences the outcome by giving a second chance to the inattentive player to survive. Now, if every time we get distracted, we have a second chance, the game would be much easier and pathetic, in my opinion.
It is yet another reason why we do not like to give the option of the players fold.

4 - FUTURE IMPACTS
If the tournament directors start opening precedents where the participant can choose their destiny in face of a risk at their survival in the competition, in our point of view, players will begin to claim that they should be given options in all kinds of different situations, which would not be good either for the progress of the tournament nor the maintenance of equal conditions of competition.
Furthermore, it could then be created a gap into which the player could give a malicious "undercall" of the previous bet to extract information or a tell of one of their opponents, always with the excuse that he would not have seen the previous action.

In conclusion, these are the arguments that led us to adopt this posture. Tournament directors around the world discuss this very issue and TDA (Tournament Directors Association) itself does not speak in unison in this case, however, this is one of the points to be discussed at the next meeting of the tournament directors of TDA, which is held biennially in Las Vegas. Today the "regulation" of the TDA is more a compilation of general guidelines to be followed by tournament organizers.

This year we will try to embark on a more regulatory stance for the sport, producing more concise and well explained rules so that poker tournaments around the world may follow a pattern of competition in the same way that football has a regulation, and you are able to play the same sport in China, Italy or Brazil.
Devanir "D.C." Campos
Brazilian Series of Poker Tournament Director

Nick C

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Re: A point of view on how to approach rules
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2011, 01:26:49 PM »
DC,
 You wrote a very nice article for your local magazine. In my opinion your rules are too severe. I have always been against forcing players to bet when it was obvious that they made a mistake on the amount to call. First I will list your considerations, and then I will comment on them.     

             1.   Basis of the rule or decision – where this rule derives from and what events use that rule to what extent;
             2.   Justice, fairness and maintenance of equality of the competitive conditions;
             3.   Influence on the outcome of the game/hand;
             4.   Future impacts of a decision.
#1...Many card rooms force the action of a player (as you do), to complete his short bet. I'm not certain where the rule originated but I don't like it. #2....You list justice first, yet do you consider it justice for a player to be committed to a bet he did not want to make? Is it fair to force the player to be held to a verbal bet or raise when it is obvious that he was mistaken on the amount that was wagered in front of him? There are too many factors to cover all situations but, that is why we use substantial action; to correct a bet before the action goes too far. If stopped in time, I much prefer that the bet be corrected and play resume as normal. A good dealer should be able to recognize when a player is confused about a bet. The intent of the player must be considered. I am against players being punished even more with a verbal bet. Your example of a player pushing the wrong amount is bad enough but to hold him to a raise that he was not aware of because he said raise will effect (#3) and greatly influence the outcome of the game and (#4) the future impacts might be players not returning to your card room.
 Warn the players. Make them understand that there could be serious and costly penalties for not paying attention to the action in front of them. Instruct the dealers to let the players know when the bet is on them, and how much the bet is.
 D. C. your own question states that the player was unaware that the bet was raised to him. Unaware. Do you think that is just?
 As a TD, or floorperson, or cardroom manager, I would like for us to focus a little more on protecting the actions of players that are new to the game or, any player that has clearly misunderstood the action to them. Train the dealers to control the game, and you will be surprised how much better everything will be.


















D.C.

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Re: A point of view on how to approach rules
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2011, 02:41:52 PM »
DC,
 You wrote a very nice article for your local magazine. In my opinion your rules are too severe.

(...)

You list justice first, yet do you consider it justice for a player to be committed to a bet he did not want to make? Is it fair to force the player to be held to a verbal bet or raise when it is obvious that he was mistaken on the amount that was wagered in front of him?

(...)

 Unaware. Do you think that is just?
 
As a TD, or floorperson, or cardroom manager, I would like for us to focus a little more on protecting the actions of players that are new to the game or, any player that has clearly misunderstood the action to them. Train the dealers to control the game, and you will be surprised how much better everything will be.


Hi Nick,

This is a great discussion and I'm very happy to hear all points of view.

You ask me if I think it is just to commit the player to a call he did not intend to making. As a matter of fact I do. And I’ll try to explain this POV. Not convince you, but explain =)

You see, I don't know how the poker players behave in Europe or elsewhere outside USA, but it is clear to me that anywhere I've been (mainly Latin America and US), there is a constant need for a more explained, broken down set of rules then we mostly have.

The poker rules we have in writing today are somewhat vague if we compare to other sports and competitions. Poker has gotten such a huge popularity that the number of new players is staggering, mainly outside US. This means that those players don’t have the “poker heritage” or the culture and knowledge of what a gentleman’s game it has always been. And I must add: most new players have no “gentlemanship” at all – they’re all about winning at any cost. (In a personal note I’ve noted a big increase in angle shooters from 2008 on).

So, getting back to focus, when I say I think it is just and fair to commit a player to a move mistakenly done is that the player himself should be held accountable for his actions, according to the rules of the game. For the huge number of newcomers to the game it is particularly valid because they have learned from TV our most likely from online poker. They come with knowledge from other types of competitions with strict rules and boundaries that lead them to look for a similar thing in poker – or at least this has been the case with the great majority of Brazilian players.

Take chess for an example. No referee would allow a player to “CTRL+Z” and move back his piece because he didn’t pay enough attention. Or let’s think of golf: could a player be given a few bonus yards because he wasn’t aware the wind had changed? I know these examples seem almost too dumb to happen, but to me, so does not knowing what’s going on at the table. What I’m trying to say is that in no other sport I’m familiar with has a condescending attitude with players. But I’m willing to be proven wrong.

I’ve always carried out the practice that ignorance or misunderstanding of the rule or the situation does not justify the lack of compliance or free people of the penalties established there. And I think that is a premise that is basic to all competitive types of games and I’m only advocating that it should be no different in poker.

Again, that's just my POV =)
It will surely produce great discussions at the summit =)

All the best,
DC
Devanir "D.C." Campos
Brazilian Series of Poker Tournament Director

Nick C

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Re: A point of view on how to approach rules
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2011, 04:17:51 PM »
D.C.
All of your answers make perfect sense. There are so many variables to consider whenever we look at rules for poker. I found out last year that in some countries, they are not allowed to use house dealers, so they pass the deal from player to player. Some states in the U.S. have different regulations on games and limits. There was a time in Florida when a cash game pot size could not exceed $10, and that was only a few years ago. IMO, the biggest factor that influences rules for poker is; There is no authority that demands certain rules be followed. Therefore, the card room manager, or the director of table games, or whoever is responsible for the house rules will use whatever rules they want.....because they can. Ultimately, I think the players will voice their opinion if they feel a change is needed. Look at the Discussion Forum of the TDA. There are times that we get four or five replies to a question and it is very rare that we all agree.

 If I can make a suggestion, I would educate your dealers and players, and floor persons to set a standard that is fair and consistant. I think that I lean more towards giving players the benefit of the doubt sometimes. I think that comes from trying to keep the customer happy and keep them coming back. I might be getting soft in my old age but I have a tough time forcing a player to put more money into a pot than he intended to. You will know when you are doing it right. The dealers will be happy because they are making money and your players will keep coming back because you treat them right. As far as the angle shooters that you are refering to....get rid of them. The rules are not for them to take advantage of new players or players with little experience. New players that enjoy themselves and have a good experience could be players that frequent your room for a long time. Even after they lose. Let the angle shooters and the cry babies get their way and watch how fast your card room starts loosing players. I think you get the message. Whatever rules you decide to use be sure they are posted for all to see. Good luck.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2011, 04:22:03 PM by Nick C »

JasperToo

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Re: A point of view on how to approach rules
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2011, 06:01:35 PM »
Wonderful, clear discussion guys.  I have to admit I tend to lean the same direction that Nick is.  There should be some room for leniency in SOME of these situations. 

I hear us talking about a vague set of rules.  It seems to be an underlying theme that there is not a basic set of poker rules being used by everybody.  I personally use RROP as a foundational set(in conjunction with TDA for tourneys).  Others use ROPE and a couple other rule sets.  Mix in the fact that Nick pointed out, some places are bound by what is legal in their State, Country or whatever. 

Now, using RROP as a foundation you will find that the "rules" allow for a player to make a mistake in regards to big bet poker and have some leniency based on the SPECIFIC set of circumstances.  however, for the purposes of competition there needs to be some slightly more aggressive approach to REPEAT offenders.  As in basketball, it takes two technical fouls to get an ejection.  In our example, making the player LEAVE the chips in the pot but giving him the option to call or fold seems penalty enough for not watching the action and giving him a actual hand/round penalty for second or third offense would really be fair and just to all players both old and new.

I really liked your article even if I don't quite agree with the final point.  I like that you take a thoughtful approach to everything. Good job.

Skylight

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Re: A point of view on how to approach rules
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2011, 02:28:55 AM »
this post suggest me to ask that kind of rules are you taking about ?

Is there structral rules, that are guideline and give answers to the question : how to drive ?
or it is about comportemental rules and punishment rules : that say don't drive too fast !

it take example of driving a car and rules. Every country as his own rules, but some rules are the same on every country.

it is utile to have a clear distinction for these rules ?

a guideline for the structure and how to play, giving the basis et and educational for the begginners (learning how to drive or sport rules )
and a set of rules for punishment, with some degrees.
That can take a lot of diverses POV, depending on the country laws.
But with a clear goal, it is punishment for mistake but will need differents degrees. (unaware ? abuse ? repetead mistake ? misunderstanding ?)

My point of view is making difference between structure and educational/comportemental rules would be good for the future. ie a question about electronic device would be clearly in comportemental rules, but affecting the structure depending of the rules will be applied. Making difference between technical and ethic is the same way. It give answers on how to drive a game / car / sport.