Tournament poker has changed over the past decade as fast as the game itself has grown, and organizations within the poker industry have done their best to keep up with the changes. The Tournament Directors Association (TDA) has maintained its flexibility as much as possible, and after offering an open-door summit in 2009 to discuss tournament rules, it has incorporated changes and released its latest set of rules for participating casinos.
The TDA was formed in 2001 by Matt Savage, David Lamb, Linda Johnson, and Jan Fisher, and forming a standard set of tournament rules was its priority. Through the years, the organization has gained a great deal of respect, and many of the most popular casinos and card rooms in America have chosen to officially adopt the rules, establishments like Bellagio, Foxwoods, Commerce, and Binion’s. Even online poker rooms like PokerStars and PartyPoker, who host live tournaments around the world, have chosen to adopt the rules for those venues as well.
Before revising the rules in 2009, the Board of Directors hosted a summit during the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, and the two days of meetings in June offered a forum for any and all interested parties - from casino representatives to players totaling 125 TDA members - to join in discussions about tournament rules and participate in formulating changes and additions to the list of rules. That new list was released at the end of July, and questions and comments are welcome on the TDA website (www.PokerTDA.com).
One of the most notable changes is the formatting of the rules, as per member requests they have been broken down into categories, such as General Concepts, Pots/Showdown, Buttons/Blinds, Dealing Errors, and Etiquette & Penalties. A total of 19 rules were revised for clarity and timeliness, and four new rules were adopted, which are numbered below as they appear on the list of tournament rules:
#7 - Numbers of players at the table: Flop games will consist of ten players, and stud-type games will consist of nine.
#15 - Disputed pots: The right to dispute a hand must take place before the new hand begins, which starts with the first riffle or the use of the green button on an automatic shuffler.
#28 - Four-card flop: If a dealer brings out four cards instead of three for the flop, the dealer will scramble the cards face down, and after a floorperson selects one card to be the next burn card, the other three cards will be the flop.
#33 - Multiple chips: Putting chips in the pot that make for less than double the bet will be declared a call if the removal of any one chip would leave less than the call.
The entire set of rules has been adopted by 77 casinos and card rooms. Any facility that would like to adopt the rules can do so on the website, then submit to the certification process before being issued a membership to the TDA.