Rules are there for a reason; learn them

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I always insist players adhere to rules, and this doesn’t always make me the most popular player at the table. Rules were established for the protection of the game and players. What I’ve come to understand is a lot of players don’t know the most basic rules and dealers often out of necessity must call the floor.

Then, what most often happens is, several players begin to talk at the same time. This makes the floor person’s job 10 times more difficult. Dealers should explain why they called the floor and what the problem was. This should be the only conversation happening. Players need to remain silent; then the floor will ask the appropriate question of players to help make a ruling.

Someone usually ends up unhappy with the decision, but most of the time it’s their fault for not knowing the rule they just violated. An informed player will read and understand house rules before playing so they can ask for the floor when a rule is in question.

I also realize the need for uniform rules throughout the industry. Cash-game play is less complicated than tournament play when it comes to understanding rules. Simply knowing the house rules will ensure proper play.

The transition from cash to tournaments regarding rules may be a quantum leap for players who lack the knowledge required to play an informed game. For years I’ve struggled with dealers and players who had little understanding of rule violations. Average players may not want to concern themselves with rules; they simply want the action.

Therefore, knowledgeable dealers and floor personnel that not only enforce rules but hand out proper penalties for violations is needed. Most cardrooms are player-friendly and loosely enforce penalties, giving only warnings to players to end most violations. But this perpetrates the problem of rule violations. When players realize only warnings are given out to violators these players will continually break rules without consequences.

For years I’ve argued with dealers and floor personnel about rule violations. I refused to be silent when I felt the game was not being played fairly. I never felt I needed the action so much that I would allow my values to be compromised simply to continue playing in an unfair game.

Recently the Palm Beach Kennel Club in West Palm Beach, Fla., hired Allen Ray as its tournament director. Allen has vast tournament experience with the World Series and Poker Tournament Consultants, Inc. I’m now in poker-player heaven when I play at PBKC. Not only does Allen explain tournament rules beforehand, he enforces the rules and imposes penalties fairly to all violators.

Seeing a player who talks about a hand in progress going to the rail for an orbit warms the cockles of my heart. My reputation as a jerk for insisting rules be followed may be in danger. … then again, maybe not.

— Antonio Pinzari is the former host of Poker Wars and has been playing poker professionally since the ’70s.