Let’s rethink the
role of the TDA group

Mar 19, 2007 3:02 AM

Carol, in my last column I wrote about the PPA — the Poker Players Association — and I invited the folks to tune in this week for some more alphabetic soup.

Now comes the TDA — The Tournament Directors Association. This is an organization that was formed by poker tournament directors, not poker players.

These folks are wonderful people (well, most of them) but they do not play poker as often as poker players and do not understand the playing of the game as well as poker players.

The members of the TDA understand scheduling and promotion and how to run a poker tournament for the benefit of the casino, which employs them.

But their efforts are mostly devoted to ensuring the tournament is profitable, starts on time, and follows the rules of the casino.

But a lot of the members of the TDA do not understand poker the way poker players do, that is, the way poker players play the game, for love and money.

Now I know I may have just made a lot of my friends unhappy who are members of the TDA, but let me tell you why I say this.

First, administering penalties on poker players should never be enforced by one man (the TDA director). This should be done by a committee of the poker players — a jury of his peers.

Secondly, in no limit hold’em, the TDA’s rules must be changed. Why and in what way?

When a player goes all-in he must move a few chips to the betting area of the table — not all of them — and say or motion that he wishes to bet all of his chips.

Remember, poker is a visual as well as an audio (sound) game.

Some poker players just make a signal that they wish to go all in, which is not seen by all the players who are in the action, and this causes people to delay for clarification and causes some poker players to act out of turn.

And it can cause serious problems.

Players have to know with clarity what action their opponent has taken or not taken before it is the next poker player’s turn to act.

I could provide many horror stories, but here is just one, from a no limit tournament governed by TDA rules.

The final table was reached (after 19 hours of play)and the players are tired and not as alert as they were at noon. It was about 5 a.m.

There are four final players remaining, each with a lot of chips, and there are tens of thousands of dollars between the payouts for each finishing position.

A is in the 9 seat

B is in the 1 seat

C is in the 5 seat

D is in the 7 seat


After the flop, with over 250,000 chips in the pot, player C is first to act — he checks.

Player D in the 7 seat is next and checks as well.

Player A in the 9 seat makes a large bet — over 300,000 chips — and just closes his eyes and leans back in his chair and waits.

Player B makes a small motion close to his body, indicating that he wishes to go all in, but he doesn’t move any chips into the field of play.

Play is stopped for a long time; the clock is put on the game and after a time a count down of 10 to 1 is made.

Then player A’s hand is killed and the TDA director mucks his hand.

Player A objects, saying his hand should not be dead, that he made the bet and was waiting for player B to act on his hand. Player A’s contention is that the TDA director killed the wrong hand.

The result is one big fuss: Player A’s hand is in the muck, put there by the TDA director. After being awarded the pot by the TDA director, player B shows two kings.

This would have busted one of the players from action and players C and D would have moved up in the money position by thousands of dollars.

To correct the problem is simple: The TDA should change the rules to give each player an all-in button, which he can put out, declaring both visually and by voice that he is going all-in.

In addition, the TDA should put the clock in front of the player (A) that is being counted out, and make player B put a few chips into the playing area so that player A will know that player is in fact raising all-in.

This is just one horror story stemming from TDA rules — it’s basically the result of not knowing how to play the game!

Lets fix it!

OK-J Poker Tip of the Week

Poker is a simple game played by complex people.

You have the many cross-sections of humanity playing just across the table from you.

Play poker with a man for a day and you can learn more about him than a wife will know after many years of marriage.

All the good, all the bad and all of the ugly will jump out at you as you play.

To a poker player the game of poker is not a matter of life or death. It’s more important than that!

Until next time remember to stay lucky.