The Gentleman Gambler

Jul 1, 2003 2:47 AM

Carol, a few weeks ago I wrote a column advocating that the poker world create a third force for all of its poker tournaments. Do you remember, I called this third force, not the poker police, but the Stewards of Poker.

Well, I must have hit a nerve because everyone in all the poker rooms and tournaments that I have been playing in have all told me that the Stewards of Poker is really a good idea.

Note that currently the poker directors exercise the power of life and death over tournament poker players.

What is that, Carol? You want me to tell the folks about poker tournament penalties? Okay.

But first let me say that I approve of requiring all poker players to follow all the rules of poker and poker tournaments, and the rules of good conduct and decorum by the tournament poker players.

It is just that I disapprove of a vested interest having the power to enforce without recourse penalties that may affect the outcome of the contest.

This should be done by a third force, the Stewards of Poker.

Just like in a horse race, when the jockey makes an error by accident or on purpose, the racing stewards can pull the horse down and can set the jockey down.

In recent years the practice of issuing penalties by the acting tournament directors of poker tournaments ”” to the tournament players ”” has grown in frequency and in harshness.

A player can receive a warning to correct a real or imagined violation of rules ”” just any rule that the director may choose to enforce for the poker tournament.

A player can receive five or 10 or 15 or 20 minutes or a death sentence away from the table, during which time his chips will continue to be anted or blinded away, but he cannot be at the table to play his hand.

The tournament director’s decision will be final; there is no appeal or recourse. The judgment to issue a penalty is in the hands of one person.

Now, Carol, I just say this is too much power to put in the hands of one person, when millions of dollars are at stake. Penalties should only be enforced by a group decision or a committee of three Stewards of the game of poker who are disinterested in the outcome.

When millions of dollars are at risk and big tips may be given to the directors, the director may look the other way if he is dealing with a friend or a big tipper, or he may enforce the rules differently for different people.

Or he may look the other way because he has a vested interest and does not want to incur the disfavor of someone that he may perceive to be someone that could help with his job, or his being hired next year to act as director, or who may give him a large tip. Or he may just be mad at a player for a personal reason.

Now, Carol, I know that this is going to upset a few people. But very few of us are perfect and tournament directors, who are hired by the house, should not be put in this kind of a spot.

Let’s help them out. Let the Stewards of Poker take care of these situations. Let’s take this awesome power over players out of the hands of one person and put the power where it belongs in the hands of the Stewards of Poker.

If you would like to see the Stewards of Poker in charge of poker tournaments, or of decorum and the power to enforce penalties, write to me here at GamingToday.

Oklahoma Johnny’s Poker Tip of the Week

This week’s poker tip comes from Amarillo Slim: The first thing a poker player needs to do is make friends with himself. If you think you’ve done something awful, then own up to it.

Give yourself an order to make sure that you do not do anything like that again. And then forget the whole thing and play poker like it never happened.

Thanks, Slim. I would like to add that I always say like yourself, you will have a better chance of winning and you can take the money home and count it.