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Poker needs uniform rules

Apr 20, 2004 4:49 AM

Carol last week I was remembering the old PPA (Poker Players Association) and I want to continue the thoughts and tell the folks about the TDA (Tournament Directors Association).

You know honey, what with the WSOP (World Series of Poker) and the WCOP (World Championship of Poker) and the aforementioned PPA and now the TDA, I fear that poker is starting to be like Washington D. C., where we have the TVA, IRS, CIA, FBI, HUD, EPA and other alphabet soup agencies.

Then there is the ETDA (The European Tournament Directors Association) and I am quite sure that the WTDA (World Tournament Directors Association) will be with us soon.

I have been asked by the boys and girls on the other side of the pond to help them arrange it so that the rules in Europe and the rest of the world would agree with the rules in the USA.

Carol, while you and I were up in Reno last month, I had the pleasure of visiting with our friend Michael Cappelletti , a great writer on the game of Omaha poker. Michael is working hard to get the game of poker recognized as an Olympic sport.

On many college campuses of today the game of poker is becoming quite popular and may soon become a part of the intramural sports programs of the Big 12 and other major conferences.

I am sure the sports books of Nevada would love to put a line up on a match between The University of Oklahoma Poker Sooners vs. the Longhorns Poker players of Texas University in a poker tournament called The Red River Shootout.

Yes, dear I know that all of us poker players who play the game for fun and sometimes even for profit want to have standardization of procedures and rules.

So before I go any further with this column let me state, yes, we need good standard procedures and rules that govern how we should play the game of poker.

As Webster is to the dictionary, so is the book of Hoyle to the game of poker ”” or perhaps even Poker According to Hale.

Yes, I do have some ideas that I think will improve the game and standardize the rules of engagement. (The changes are too many and too long for this short column.)

  However, I will take the time to speak to one change that is now under way. One of these changes will be the inaugural use of The first stewards of poker.

During "The Seniors" WCOP XII annual tournament in October of 2004 at the Grand Hotel in Tunica, Mississippi, Robert (Bob) Thompson will assume his duties as the first steward of poker.

  The Stewards of poker will be a third force in poker; they will not be the poker police.

The Stewards of Poker will be helpful in assuring that good conduct and decorum will be observed by "The Seniors" XII WCOP tournament poker players without the use of penalties that may affect the outcome of the contest.

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

  Some tournament directors use selective enforcement of harsh penalties against certain players ”” just any rule that the director may choose to enforce a real or imagined violation of rules.

This is too much power to put in the hands of one person, when millions of dollars are at stake.

A little authority is a dangerous thing. The tournament 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.

  The tournament director may not enforce a rule if 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 him with his job, or his being hired next year to act as director. 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 were hired by the casino, 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 the life and death of the poker players out of the hands of one person and put the power where it belongs in the hands of the Stewards of Poker.

  The judgment and power of the tournament director should be limited to only issuing a red card or a warning to a player.

  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 of the tournament.

  I will return soon with more about how we can make poker better for all of us who love the game.

"Oklahoma Johnny" Poker Tip of the Week

There are big cards and there are little cards; there are kings, presidents and dictators.

  Most of the time the big cards rule the game of poker and most of the time the kings, presidents and dictators rule the world.

  But there are more little cards than there are big cards and two deuces will beat ace-king!

  There are more people than there are kings, presidents and dictators. And the people can — when two or three or more work and vote together — can stop wars and change governments and their rulers.

Until next time remember to always stay lucky!