A summary of Poker Tournament Directors Association Summit

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A look at the recommended changes for poker game rules and procedures

Poker’s Tournament Directors Association or TDA wrapped up its biennial summit with a host of new recommendations and procedures. The guidelines that will likely govern the land of poker, also govern card rooms that are TDA member venues.

The TDA was formed by prominent tournament director Matt Savage and includes members and supporters of the poker world’s most prominent TDs. The objective of the association is to provide a standardized framework for running poker tournaments and to combat any malpractices or angel shooting as when they occur. The TDA also works to eliminate certain player practices that make the game less enjoyable for the community.

The two-day summit commenced on the 28th of June at the Aria in Las Vegas and the grey areas of the skill-based game were debated. Here’s a look at the highlights.

Big-Blind Ante Considerations

The big-blind ante tourney format continues to sweep across the poker world. But a few questions remain unanswered; for instance what should be put into the pot first, the ante or the blind? An ante is best thought of as an entry fee, simply a part of the game, and is traditionally been considered the first of the two pre-action amounts the big blind pushes forward.

While a few European Tournament Directors argued for the blinds to be posted first, out of a sense of consideration to short-stacked players, they were outnumbered. Johnny Grooms, who is one of the TDA’s directors, pointed out that the word “ante” quite literally means “before”, as in “antecedent”. It is long tradition that the antes precede everything else in games where they are part of the action.

Face Covering to be Strongly Discouraged

The TDA is recommending stronger actions to prevent the excessive hiding of one’s face behind scarves, sleeves, sweaters, hoodies, masks, sunglasses, and much more. Live poker is meant to be not played by unseen robots.

The TDA has issued this recommendation: “Clothing or other accoutrements must not continuously obscure player identity or become a distraction to the game.” Enforcing this recommendation is long due for live poker tournaments.

Other topics discussed included proper stacking of chips and dealers being instructed to call out amounts wagered while the hand is in action. We hope to see these guidelines in play in the months to come. You may view the complete guidelines here.