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World Series of Poker 2008 Rule Changes

New Rulebook Features Many Clarifications of 2007 Rules


Harrah’s Entertainment recently released the 2008 World Series of Poker rulebook, which includes updates, as well as new and modified rules.

New Rules:

“Excessive celebration through extended theatrics, inappropriate behavior, or physical actions, gestures, or conduct may be subject to penalty. Any player that engages a member of the tournament staff during the celebration or utilizes any property of Harrah’s will be penalized in accordance with Rules No. 31 and/or 51. Harrah’s property includes but is not limited to chairs, tournament tables, and stanchions.” ─ Rule No. 36

“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. 44

“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.” ─ Rule No. 52

Nixed Rule:

Last year’s controversial rule that stated, “At the end of a hand, if a player exposes one hole card, he or she must also show the other hole card if asked to do so by any player,” has been removed. Players will now be allowed to show only one card, but only after the hand is over.

Cell Phones and Electronic Devices:

The cell-phone rule is further clarified in that they cannot be used unless the player is at least one table-length away from his assigned table. Players who use the phone at the table will have their hand killed or receive a missed-hand penalty if not involved in a hand. Players should also take note that electronic devices are prohibited that can access the Internet, send or receive SMS texts, or have communication devices. Blackberrys, iPhones, iTouch, and Treos will not be allowed at the table.

Other Notable Modified and Updated Rules:

The rules on logos, patches, and promotional language stay the same, for the most part. Advertisements cannot be larger than 12 square inches, but this year, Harrah’s added, “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.”

(Note: Text in bold has been added for 2008)

Rule No. 45: “Chip race rule: Race-off is defined as removal of a denomination of chip no longer in use. When it is time to color-up chips, they will be raced off with a maximum of one chip going to any player. The chip race will always start at the first player left of the dealer. A player cannot be raced out of a tournament. In the event that a player has only one chip remaining, the regular race procedure will take place. If that player loses the race, [s]he will be given one chip of the smallest denomination still in play. Players found to have lower denomination chips remaining in their stack after the race-off will forfeit those chips unless they are equivalent in value to a chip still in play. Players are encouraged to witness the chip race.”

Rule No. 48: “Calling-for-clock procedures: Once a reasonable amount of time, which is no less than three minutes, has passed and a clock is called, a player will be given one (1) minute to act. If action has not been taken by the time the minute has expired, there will be a ten (10) second countdown. If a player has not acted on his hand by the time the countdown is over, the hand will be dead. Any player intentionally stalling the progress of the game will incur a penalty in accordance with Rule No. 51.”

Rule No. 50: “A player exposing his or her cards with action pending may incur a penalty, but will not have a dead hand. The penalty will begin at the end of the hand. All players at the table are entitled to see the exposed card(s), if requested. A penalty may also be imposed if a player throws a card off the table, violates the one-player-to-a-hand rule or engages in similar behavior. Penalties will be invoked in cases of soft-play, abuse or disruptive behavior. All penalties will be imposed at Harrah’s sole and absolute discretion, in accordance with Rule No. 51.”

Rule No. 50: "In its sole and absolute discretion, Harrah’s may impose penalties that include verbal warnings and missed-hand penalties. A missed-hand penalty will be assessed as follows: The offender will miss one hand for each player at the table, including the offender, when the penalty is given, multiplied by the number of rounds specified in the penalty. Tournament staff can assess one-, two-, three- or four-round penalties or disqualification. Players who receive a missed-hand penalty must remain outside the designated tournament areas for the length of their penalty. The player must notify the tournament staff prior to returning to their seat. Repeat infractions are subject to escalating penalties up to disqualification."

Rule No. 53: “A player must be at his or her seat by the time all players have been dealt complete initial hands to have a live hand. Players must be at their seats to call time. “At your seat” is defined as being within reach or touch of your chair.”

Rule No. 54: “All cards will be turned face up once a player is all in and all action is complete. If a player accidentally folds/mucks their hand before cards are turned up, the Tournament Staff reserves the right to retrieve the folded/mucked cards if the cards are clearly identifiable.”

Rule No. 72: “In stud-type games, if any of the players' two down cards are exposed due to a dealer error, it is a misdeal. In flop games, exposure of one of the first two cards dealt is a misdeal. Players may be dealt two consecutive cards on the button. The following situations may also be cause for a misdeal, if during the initial deal a) two or more extra cards have been dealt b) the first card was dealt to the wrong position c) cards have been dealt to an empty seat or a player not entitled to a hand or d) a player has been dealt out who is entitled to a hand.”

Rule No. 77: “Players are entitled to be informed of the pot size in pot-limit games only. Dealers will not count the pot in limit and no-limit games. If requested, dealers may spread the pot so that it can be counted by a player.”

Rule No. 79: “At the end of the last round of betting, the player who made the last aggressive betting action in that betting round must show first. If there was no bet during the final round, the player to the left of the button shows first, and so on in a clockwise direction. In stud games, the player with the high board must show first. In razz, the lowest board shows first.”

Rule No. 81: “Dealers will be responsible for calling string bets/raises. All players at the table are encouraged to assist in calling a string bet/raise if a dealer fails to identify one. String bets/raises called by a player must be verified by a floor person. A string bet/raise is defined as attempting a bet or raise in multiple movements that include a return to a player’s stack without a prior verbal declaration of intent or include deception intended to induce action our of turn before a player’s action is complete.”

To view a PDF copy of the 2008 WSOP rulebook, click here.