Harrah’s makes slight adjustments to WSOP rules

By Gary Trask

If you’re entering this year’s World Series of Poker and you plan on celebrating a winning hand by calling your friends from the table during an emphatic victory dance, the new additions to the WSOP rulebook may be on interest to you.

Harrah’s Entertainment has released the 2008 World Series of Poker rulebook with a few additions and modifications, most notably the one that will curtail excessive celebrations at the table.

In addition, a controversial rule from last year that required players to show either one or neither of his or her hole cards at the end of a hand has been amended and will allow players to show just one card this year at the end of a hand, if they so chose. This is a modification that will please many of the poker pros who were not happy with last year’s new rule that banned them from showing just one of their mucked cards.

As for the new anti-celebratory decree, Rule No. 36 states that „excessive celebration through extended theatrics, inappropriate behavior, or physical actions, gestures, or conduct may be subject to penalty.“ In addition, „any player that engages a member of the tournament staff during the celebration or utilizes any property of Harrah’s will be penalized… Harrah’s property includes but is not limited to chairs, tournament tables, and stanchions.“

The use of cell phones has also been further clarified as Rule No. 87 now states that „all cell phones and other voice-enabled and ‚ringing‘ electronic devices must be silenced during tournament play. A player who wants to use a cell phone must be at least one table length away from their assigned table or be subject to penalty.“ In addition, cell phones or other „electronic communication devices“ can not be placed on the poker table. Players in violation of this rule will receive a missed hand penalty on the next hand.

Also, according to Rule No. 88, „players are allowed to use approved electronic devices (iPods, MP3 and other music players or noise reduction headsets during tournament play until they have reached the money in any tournament, so long as the approved electronic devices can not access the Internet, send or receive SMS text and are not equipped with any type of communication device.“ This rule eliminated the use of iPhones, iTouch, Treos, Blackberrys and other similar devices.

Another rule that has been modified is the one regarding logos, patches, and promotional languages. The size of these advertisements remains the same as they cannot be larger than 12 square inches, but this year, Harrah’s has added to Rule No. 42 that, „no single company name is to be represented more than once on any individual article of clothing. For players seated at a table taped for television or broadband-video coverage, logos may not be added after the beginning of that day’s session of play.“

Two other new rules have been put into place:

Rule No. 44: „Floor People: Floor People are to consider the best interest of the game and fairness as the top priority in the decision-making process. Unusual circumstances can on occasion dictate that decisions in the interest of fairness take priority over the technical rules. The floor person’s decision is final.“

Rule No. 52: „A player who is disqualified shall have his or her chips removed from play and no refund will be provided to that disqualified player. Any player who forfeits play for health or other personal reasons after the start of a tournament will have his or her chips blinded off accordingly.“

To view a pdf file of the 2008 World Series of Poker Tournament Rules click here.