Friday, December 17, 2004

Tournament Etiquette

Dick asked bloggers to inform others how to behave during a tournament. Well, you know I had to run with that one!

Since I haven't felt like writing up the final table at Sam's Town, and have nothing better to do save get on my high horse as prompted, I'll definitely add my two cents worth into proper tournament behavior.

Naturally I will have to flip to the reverse side of the coin and give some pointers for tournament directors and cardrooms, too. Sometimes the reason that a cardroom is so unhappy with it's patrons, is because they run such a bad ship that they are simply inviting turmoil.

So here we go:

If you are in a tournament and want to know how to maintain a professional, honorable demeanor, please follow my advice:

1) Get to your seat promptly
2) Show the dealer your seat assignment to ensure you are at the correct table and seat
3) Introduce yourself to your tablemates
4) Remove any items from the table that are unnecessary (cigarette cases and notebooks are just an invitation for a stray card to get dealt underneath and forgotten about)
5) Do not smoke in the cardroom, even if smoking is allowed
6) Do not drink excessively while playing a tournament
7) Accept seating reassignments with grace, it is truly the luck of the draw, no one is picking on you when you get moved to balance tables
8) If you are assigned a table with your spouse, try for a reassignment, explaining the situation to the TD and making sure you are following proper procedure
9) Do not berate your competition under any circumstances
10) If you outdraw an opponent, eliminating him from competition, instead of howling like a rabid dog, stand up, shake his hand, and allow him to leave the table with dignity
11) If you are eliminated, leave the table gracefully, without any whining about bad beats or yelling at your opponent asking "How could you play that hand?"
12) Return from breaks promptly
13) If you make a mistake in play, apologize and quickly let the dealer and/or TD move the game forward
14) When you are the aggressor at the river and are called, promptly table your hand so that the caller has the opportunity to muck or show his winning hand
15) Do not ask to see the mucked hand of an opponent
16) Do not ask to rabbit hunt
17) Do not slow roll
18) Do not trash talk your opponents
19) Find out the rules of the tournament before signing up and agree to obey them
20) Always act in a courteous, mature manner no matter how others behave in the cardroom
If you are a cardroom manager or tournament director and want to know how to run a professional, top notch tournament, please follow my advice:

1) Adopt a standard set of tournament rules (TDA) and display them prominently
2) As players buy in to the tournament, have them sign an agreement form to obey the rules of the tournament, with the rules listed on the form
3) Do not allow your dealers to discuss tournament tips, or lack thereof with players
4) Do not allow rabbit hunting
5) Do not allow your dealers to speculate on a hand played
6) Do not allow abuses of the IWTSTH rule, or allow dealers to expose a mucked hand
7) Do not allow players to abuse other players or dealers in your cardroom
8) Do not allow smoking in your cardroom or in your tournaments
9) Do not allow excessive drinking during tournaments
10) Give penalties for disobeying rules. Do not threaten repeatedly, use penalties regardless of the situation if the rule is not interpretable
11) Do not allow your TD to speak and act condescendingly to customers
12) Do not allow your dealers to slow down the tournament by carrying on unnecessary, lengthy conversations with players
13) Do not allow customers to buy-in who have an odor so foul they will disrupt the tournament
14) Do not allow players to set foreign objects on the table (excepting a card protector)
15) Do not favor locals or "friends" in tournament decisions
16) Have all tournament dealers read the rules of the tournament before they deal
17) House fees for tournaments should be properly displayed and/or given freely when asked
18) Dealers add-on's should be explained as such, not hidden in subterfuge as to confuse players into thinking the add-on goes to the prize pool and/or they are required to tip excessively in addition to the add-on
19) Do not allow railbirds to sit in vacant tournament seats
20) Do not allow in-the-money participants to pressure or force a remaining player into a deal

For further reading (better than I could ever write), please see Robert Ciaffone's Rules of Poker.