Countdown to the 2012 WSOP: Rules Changes

Posted by Steve Ruddock on May 23, 2012 Posted in Poker News | No Comments »

This year at the World Series of Poker there will be a renewed emphasis on “Fun” according to WSOP officials, and perhaps the biggest indicator of this will be the changes that have been announced to long-standing rules like the “No talking about your hand rule” and the “excessive celebration” rule.

In this article I’ll go over the changes players will encounter at the 2012 WSOP.

No Talking About Your Hand Rule

This rule was initially put in place after Jamie Gold’s improbable run to the WSOP Main Event championship in 2006 in an effort to clarify long-held rules about what you can and can’t say during a hand (Gold crossed the line numerous times, but with the lack of a clear rule the WSOP officials felt their hands were tied when it came to disciplining him).

The new rule was fairly innocuous until last year when a new interpretation was introduced along with a renewed focus on enforcement. After major backlash from the poker community regarding the way the rule was being interpreted the WSOP has changed course, and once again changed what is and isn’t allowed when it comes to table talk. However, this time around the rule is crystal clear, and leaves little room for debate.

As it stands: Players are allowed to say anything about their hand as long as the remaining players in the hand no longer have a decision to make (their action is closed and the player doing the talking cannot reopen it). That said, players are NOT allowed to expose their hand under any circumstances.

Excessive Celebration Rule

Another rule change in 2012 will be the easing of the “Excessive Celebration” rule. This rule was put into place to prevent players like Hevad Kahn from causing a disruption in the poker room by screaming, running around, or celebrating in some other manner. Unfortunately, like other rules, over the years the Excessive Celebration rule has gotten tighter and tighter, to the point where players now fear a penalty should they show any emotion whatsoever.

This year the enforcement of the rule will be left up to the discretion of the floor staff, who will be taking a more hands-off approach except in extreme cases.

Food Vouchers vs. Rewards Points

Another change will be in the rewards program offered to WSOP players. In years past players received a $10 Food Voucher for every WSOP tournament they entered; this year players will receive Harrah’s Rewards Points instead, giving players more flexibility on what, where, and when they can spend their points. Players will also accrue points for playing in satellites and even WSOP Circuit Events.

The amount of Reward’s Points a player receives is dependent on the entry-fee of the tournament (the rake), so players entering the lower buy-in events will receive in the neighborhood of $5, while players in $10k events will receive what amounts to $30 worth of Rewards Points.

Live Stream reduced to 15 Minutes

Another change this year will be the reduction of the delay for “Live Streams”. Last year the live stream featured a 30-minute delay, and this time around the delay has been cut to just 15-minutes, making the 2012 WSOP about as near-live as humanly possible.

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