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Contracts and Poker: Penalties

by Scott J. Burnham |  Published: Sep 19, 2017


A player who is new to tournament poker fails to bet on the river when he has the nuts and is last to act. Does the Tournament Director have to give the player a penalty? In contract law, the remedies for breach of contract vary depending on the seriousness of the breach. A very minor breach, sometimes called “de minimis,” may result in no consequence; an ordinary breach, called an “immaterial breach,” may lead to an award of damages; and a serious breach, called a “material breach,” may lead not only to damages, but may excuse the other party from performing its part of the contract. Similarly, there is a range of consequences for violating the rules in tournament poker. The spectrum of penalties is outlined in TDA Rule 66A: 66: Warnings, Penalties, & Disqualification A: Penalty options include verbal warnings, one or more “missed hands”, one or more “missed ...

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