Author Topic: Player Committees  (Read 8737 times)


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Player Committees
« on: May 22, 2013, 08:55:01 AM »
An interesting proposal by Barry Greenstein to establish Player Committees to "assist" TDs in making decisions:

I definitely think there is some merit to the points that he raises.  In particular, I agree that it is very difficult for TDs to make good decisions if their knowledge of the game as players is limited. I also see the merit of some degree of self-regulation -- if all players would prefer to see a ruling one way despite a rule suggesting a different ruling, why shouldn't the players get what they want?

On the flip side though, I think the idea of player committees would raise new concerns.  First, there is the practical matter of getting everyone together in the middle of a tournament, at the table, and recounting the situation... It is like having 4 umps simultaneously trying to call whether a ball is a strike or not.  And if there is no way to get everyone on the committee together in real-time to discuss the situation, you can run into problems when attempting to recount details accurately.

There is also the issue of conflict of interest - does it really make sense to have players playing in a tournament to make decisions affecting their opponents in the same tournament?  Can we trust that players will be truly objective?  Barry raises the Koroknai/Baumann issue and suggests that many players thought that Koroknai should lose all his chips after mucking when all-in -- but I personally think that if the roles were reversed - if it was Baumann who had mucked when all-in and let's say the TD ruled that she was eliminated, I would bet that the players would have been just as critical.

As another example, I recall some earlier discussions amongst players regarding the non-disclosure rule.. A few years ago, Daniel Negreanu complained that what he called the "no talking" rule was too strict, and when Matt tried to point out that the rule was not so broad as to prohibit "talking" of all forms, players complained that the root of the problem was that TDs could not apply the rule in a consistent way.  The interesting thing was that not all players were taking Daniel's side.  One pro (a WSOP player of the year) was defending the rule, saying that relaxing the rule would make it easier for pros to collude against amateur players.  I won't get into the details here but suffice it to say, I thought he had a really good point.  So if a players' committee is struck, do you think that players on the whole would be more likely to respect its decisions?  I'm not so sure. Is there a chance that such a committee could still be seen as biased?  Perhaps.

If anything, perhaps there should be a Player's Committee... But maybe one that should be more involved in the rule-making process (like attending the TDA summit), or efforts to educate TDs in a positive pro-active way.  But having a committee to 'assist' with decisions in real-time?  I'm not so sure that is the solution.  I, for one, would first need to be convinced that the players understand the need to protect everyone in the tournament, and not just the player who has been 'wronged' by a ruling.  The players also need to understand why certain rules exist. Yes, having TDs that can think like experienced players is certainly helpful, but so are players that can think like experienced TDs.  Second, if players want consistency, then change has to happen at the rule-making level... Having different players committees involved in decisions in different tournaments seems to simply be inviting inconsistency in decisions - this helps no one.


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Re: Player Committees
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2013, 12:01:59 PM »
I agree with pretty much all of what you said.  Barry does bring up some good points, but I do not think a a player committee helping to decide on rulings, in real time, is a good idea. 

The first concern would be with execution.  He is suggesting the committees for the top events, as such we would have to be assuming that these players will be playing the event (why would they come in if they weren't playing??).   If the committee was to consist of, say, 5 people, the tournament director would have to wait until the action finished on up to 5 tables.   I would think the play would have to stop for all tables at that point.  Some of the situations that he mentioned could actually be considered 'routine' calls.  Wouldn't it defeat the purpose of having a player committee if a 'routine' call gets decided in a way other than the players would have decided?  So in the interest of making it universal, it would seem necessary to have the committee involved in all calls, and thus pause the clock for every decision. No way.

The second concern would be integrity of the game.  If those players are playing in the tournament, they have a vested interest in the decision.  It doesn't matter if they are directly involved in the situation or not, they are involved.  In a situation that would disadvantage one player or another, could we ever be 100% sure that none of the players would rule in such a way that the player they think is the toughest opponant should be the one disadvantaged?  Could we ever be sure that they would be 100% without bias?  To use a baseball simile like K-Lo, a player committee is like picking 5 players from two opposing teams to decide whether a player was safe or out in a game that they are currently playing.  It seems like it isn't possible to have players be unbiased.

I think K-Lo's suggestion about players being part of the rule making process is a good one.  In that situation we take out most of the concerns of a player committee while dealing with the root of the problem.  Any person with extensive poker knowledge can have good points and insights to add.

Yes, having TDs that can think like experienced players is certainly helpful, but so are players that can think like experienced TDs. 

Perfectly said.  I would have to disagree with Barry's thought that questionable calls get made because TDs do not play.  I would argue that most TDs do play, at least occasionally.  I bet there is a much larger % of TDs with playing experience than players with TD experience!   ;)
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