The world of poker tournaments is a funny place. It seems just when
you think no progress toward standardization will ever be made,
presto-- it happens. It makes me feel confident that someday we will
iron out all the differences, and we will know what to expect wherever
we may be playing.
Several months ago I wrote a column admonishing the tournament
directors for allowing the players to pick and choose their seats when
signing up. I have noticed recently the places that were allowing that
practice, have discontinued it. They are now using either a shoe with
seat assignment cards in it or they have the cards behind the desk in a
stack, and you are given the top card for your seat assignment.
Another rule that has been standardized is the method of racing off the
smaller denomination odd chips. When the limits go up, it is now done
the same way all over. In case you haven't played a tournament for a
while, no one can win more than one chip when you race off the odd
chips. It takes a little more time but it keeps the chips closer to what
each player has in odd chips, and certainly leaves your destiny more in
the hands of your poker skills, instead of your racing off skills.
Something else that is very important in the tournament world seems to
be becoming adopted by more and more tournaments. It has to do with
the limit and blind structures used in tournaments. It's the one
designed by Tex Morgan called "Tex's Tears." I think it is close to
becoming the standard for the industry and I encourage tournament
directors to try it. I haven't seen one player who didn't like it.
There is another rule that I think should be standardized. I think there
should be one, and only one rule, for awarding odd chips. I think all
odd chips should be awarded to the player with high card by suit. Even
though it almost never comes up in some games such like seven card
stud, it happens with some frequency in hold-em and very often in stud-
split and Omaha eight or better.
First, and most importantly, I do not know anyone in the world who
cares what method of disposing of odd chips is used. No one gives a
hoot and I have never heard a discussion between players like, "I like
the left of the button rule, cause I play a lot of hands in bad position", or
"I prefer high card by suit because I never throw the ace of spades
The only argument that does have some merit is from Omaha players, of
which I happen to be one. That argument is that it is quicker to award
odd chips by the left of the button method. My response to that
argument is if every poker room in the world used left of the button
method in their Omaha games, fine. You could then make a case for two
rules one for the stud games and another for button games.
The problem is that some poker rooms use high card by suit when
awarding odd chips in the Omaha games, as well as in the stud games;
therefore, there are card rooms with one rule and others with two
rules. Isn't it less confusing to have fewer, rather than more rules?
Okay, maybe I'm a dreamer. Maybe that would just be too easy a
solution. But then, wouldn't it be nice to know whether you're in Las
Vegas, Los Angeles, New Jersey, or Timbuktu, you wouldn’t have to hear
the same discussion that goes on in every tournament. I've heard the
discussion so many times that I've got it memorized, it goes like this,
"Who gets the odd chip? High card by suit?. No, left of the button. No,
that's just in Omaha. Okay, but were splitting the low aren't we?"
Dealer, "Huh, floorman, floorman."
Wouldn't it be nice if every place on the planet would have the same
rule? It would be very simple---one sentence, be it in a rulebook or
posted on the wall. "ALL ODD CHIPS WILL BE AWARDED TO THE PLAYER
WITH HIGH CARD BY SUIT"
Poker room managers, think about it. All you have to do is have a few
signs made, then post them. It will give your floormen a lot more time
to do more important things. Especially, since whenever the question
comes up, the floorman doesn't even have to walk over to the table. All
he'll have to do is point to the sign.
For what it's worth ...
High Card by Suit
By Vince Burgio