Daniel Negreanu knows how to pick a fight. Matt Savage is probably the most respected tournament director in the world and also happens to be the target of Negrenau’s recent ire. The dispute? A poker tournament rule that’s got Negreanu’s chips in a bunch. The rule: players can’t disclose the contents of their hand. In an attempt to have the rule changed, Negreanu has been publicly challenging (with, you might say, some attitude) Matt Savage on the rule. What’s followed has been an entertaining and informative dispute between the players and the tournament directors who make the rules they play by.
The short of it is that players are not allowed to disclose the contents of their hand.
The long of it, from the rule book:
“Players are obligated to protect the other players in the tournament at all times. Therefore, players, whether in the hand or not, may not:
Disclose contents of live or folded hands,
Advise or criticize play at any time,
Read a hand that hasn’t been tabled.
The one-player-to-a-hand rule will be enforced.”
Though the rule is seven years old, it has only recently been enforced with consistency. For example, in this year’s WSOP Negreanu took issue with the rule when he was seated at a table where the rule was being enforced. The Tournament Directors Association (TDA) rule, according to Negreanu, severely impairs a player’s speaking rights at the table, to the point where they are forced to say nothing. This is because the rule is enforced in dramatically different ways by different tournament directors.
As the Canadian poker star put it, “The problem with this rule is that the TDA cannot agree as a group as to what constitutes breaking this rule. There is far too much wiggle room for a floor person to rule one way or the other…The goal of the TDA has been to standardize rules, but they have made a grave error with this rule because it cannot be standardized the way it’s currently written, because every floor person will rule identical situations differently.”
During the slot online indonesia , Negreanu (@realkidpoker) sent out a slew of entertaining and energetic tweets to Matt Savage (@savagepoker):
@savagepoker you couldn’t possibly be more wrong but are obviously too stubborn to understand the lack of logic behind your weak argument.
@SavagePoker your dumb rule hurts honest people and helps protect those that collude. You don’t get it. Oh well.
@SavagePoker better question: do we REALLY need TD’s over policing table chat that’s been part of the game since it’s inception?
@SavagePoker I’mguessing over 90% of fans and players understand how awful this rule is. You’ll awaken eventually. You’re too smart not to.
In the end, the upset pro at least left with a gesture of nicety:
@SavagePoker Sad you don’t get it, but I still love you!
Then, to up the ante, Savage and Negreanu appeared on a radio show together for a full-on debate! This was just last week.
Savage eagerly defended the rule, stating that players could easily collude if they were allowed to reveal the contents of their hand. Negreanu’s position on the matter is simple:
“If you allow table talk, everyone is all of a sudden going to start colluding with each other. Huh? I never colluded before this rule was implemented, and taking away this rule isn’t going to make everyone feel like they have a license to cheat. Verbal collusion is illegal. Table talk, and revealing information about your hole cards doesn’t equal collusion. In fact, verbal collusion is by far the least likely way two legitimate cheaters would ever cheat because it brings more attention to what they are doing.”
How this will all turn out will likely depend on poker players keeping the pressure on the TDA. If the rule is seriously hurting how players play, the TDA (including Matt Savage!) isn’t going to have much choice but to give in. As Negreanu commented, “Thanks to mediums like twitter, and poker forums, more voices can be heard to support changing this rule and the way it’s currently being implemented.”
So weigh in on Twitter! Send your tweets of support to @realkidpoker or @savagepoker, depending on where you stand, and help the chips fall your way.