Rules for 2009 WSOP – A Profanity Free Zone?

by , Mar 10, 2009 | 7:25 am

The World Series of Poker has released the rules for their 2009 event. There’s a couple of interesting changes from last year that will be interesting to see how they are enforced.

36. Harrah’s prohibits the use of obscene or foul language in any public area of the casino at any time. Any player who uses such language or makes a foul, profane, obscene or vulgar statement, or speaks abusively or in an intimidating manner to another player, a dealer or a Tournament staff member, will be penalized. These penalties will be levied based on Rules 31, 52 and 53.


Compare that to last year’s rule:

35. Any player who directs any profane and/or abusive language at another player, dealer or tournament staff member or who makes any profane and/or abusive comments about another player, dealer or tournament staff member will be penalized in accordance with Rules No. 31 and/or 51. In particular, the use of the so-called “f-bomb” and “c-bomb” as well as derivatives of those and similarly offensive terms, will subject the offending player to penalties if they are directed at or refer to another player, dealer, staff member, patron or official of Harrah’s or the WSOP. In Harrah’s sole and absolute discretion, it may impose at any time a zero-tolerance policy for profane language whether directed at another person or not.

The other rule change that stands out is the following:

43. Tournament participants may wear apparel with multiple logos, patches or promotional language. However, no individual logo, patch or block of promotional language is to be larger than 12 square inches. Temporary tattoos, adhesive strips for the skin, and “band-aids” with logos or promotional language are not permitted at any time.
A. No single company name or brand – or affiliated and similar name or brand – is to be represented more than once on any individual article of clothing.
B. During all Events taped for television coverage:
i. No more than three (3) players at the Final Table — and all other tables featured for television coverage — will be allowed to wear apparel with logos, patches or promotional language from the same entity.
ii. Should there be more than three (3) players representing the same entity at the start of a televised Final or feature table — and those players can not agree which player will remove or cover their logos for the common entity — a WSOP official will draw high-card prior to the start of play to determine which players will be allowed to wear the logos of the common entity. After the draw of high-card, the affected player(s) must either cover the relevant logo(s) or change their apparel.
iii. Under no circumstance may players seated at televised Final or Feature add logos, patches or promotional language to their apparel after the beginning of that day’s session of play.

This rule appears to mirror what the World Poker Tour has done in terms of limiting the number of sponsors per TV table, so there won’t be a return of the “PokerStars Six” at this year’s November Nine.

They’re also appearing to be proactive on the Band-Aid, adhesive strip and temporary tattoo trend that some college athletes have done (without the sponsorship of course).

Let the debate begin.


26 Comments to “Rules for 2009 WSOP – A Profanity Free Zone?”


  1. Jerry
    says:

    is rule 47 C viii (restrictions of logos) new?
    “Advertises any online gaming site that conducts business with U.S. residents.”

    won’t that eliminate pokerstars and full tilt logos?


  2. Mean Gene
    says:

    I envision Doyle Brunson reading this 17-page, 97-rule list, sighing heavily, and shaking his head. Things have changed since 1970.

    Harrah’s should sponsor a contest–whoever breaks the most WSOP rules gets a free Main Event seat. The person who comes in second gets a lifetime WSOP ban. Should make for some entertaining antics the first few days of July.


  3. Kevin Mathers
    says:

    US sites go the .net route.


  4. DanM
    says:

    ***Harrah’s should sponsor a contest–whoever breaks the most WSOP rules gets a free Main Event seat. The person who comes in second gets a lifetime WSOP ban.***

    Would chops be allowed?


  5. Aaron A.
    says:

    I wonder how many times Mike M. and Phil H. get “warned” before being tossed for their vulgar comments… then again, they’re the most entertaining poker players EVER and I love watching them!


  6. Poker Shrink
    says:

    “Any player who uses such language or makes a foul, profane, obscene or vulgar statement, or speaks abusively or in an intimidating manner to another player, a dealer or a Tournament staff member, will be penalized.”

    WILL be penalized? This is going to cause a disaster if they actually attempt to enforce it. WILL gives no leeway for a floor person to make a decision based on the incident, which is why most rules from the Tournament Director’s Association say MAY and not WILL.


  7. DanM
    says:

    Total hornets nest … what if a player says “cucking funt” or “uckfay ooyay” or cusses in a foreign language. Penalties for violating “English only?”

    And what about media — do we get penalized for cussing, too? Actually, that would be pretty funny, seeing Nolan or Seth coming up to Pauly saying, “sorry Pauly, but you called Tony G a’cocksucker’ and someone else a ‘douchebag’. We’re gonna have to assess a two-post penalty. So no blogging for you this round.”


  8. California Jen
    says:

    Rule 43, Section B about the logos just seems ridiculous. Yes, PokerStars and Full Tilt seem to dominate a lot of the final tables, but I think this rule goes too far and doesn’t address the problem.

    Assuming that the intention is to keep PS and FTP from eclipsing all other sites in deal-making with final table players, the outcome of the rule just hurts the players. If PS already has 3 players at the final table, then the player without a logo has to accept far less money from another site to wear a logo. So much for the players being able to do any negotiations.

    What the rules should have addressed (and didn’t, as far as I can tell) is the agents who smother the final table players with offers for representation. This was such a huge problem last year, when companies like Poker Royalty were accused of squeezing others out of the mix, and there was speculation that the WSOP rule-makers would attempt to address the issue this year. Guess not.


  9. Kevin Mathers
    says:

    There is this rule:

    iii. Under no circumstance may players seated at televised Final or Feature add logos, patches or promotional language to their apparel after the beginning of that day’s session of play.

    The PokerStars Six from last year all didn’t qualify via PokerStars, I believe the same is true for Full Tilt’s three players. Maybe they’re hoping again for the November Nine final table to get some mainstream sponsorship, and this is an attempt to block the online sites.


  10. Kevin Mathers
    says:

    Some other interesting rules:

    49. Calling-for-clock procedures: Once a reasonable amount of time, which is no less than two minutes has passed and a clock is called, a player will be given one (1) minute to act.

    52. E. Harrah’s will maintain a written log of all penalties issued throughout the duration of the WSOP.

    61. There will be no foreign objects on the table except for a maximum of one card cap. Card caps can be no larger than two (2) inches in diameter and no more than one-half (1/2) inch in depth. Players may not place any food or beverages on the poker table with the exception of one (1) capped bottle of water.


  11. DanM
    says:

    ***52. E. Harrah’s will maintain a written log of all penalties issued throughout the duration of the WSOP.***

    I smell an awesome post at the end of the Series.


  12. chris
    says:

    What the fuck? Just play poker.


  13. Mean Gene
    says:

    Does “Jesus Christ” count as profanity? That’s my default curse (Jesus CHRIST!) but Jerry Yang invoked quite often and got mad props for it. Will Harrah’s issue a Carlinesque list of words You Can’t Say At the World Series of Poker?


  14. DanM
    says:

    I still contend that Shrink’s idea for soccer-like yellow and red cards is the solution.


  15. TDSteve
    says:

    52 E. Harrah’s will maintain a written log of all penalties issued throughout the duration of the WSOP.

    otherwise known as the Phil Helmuth log


  16. Jason B
    says:

    I would like the odds to see if a betting house would even take a bet that Hellmuth doesnt get a penalty for verbal abuse. Then again, I would put 3 to 1 that Hellmuth wont make it through the first day this year in the ME.


  17. Phil
    says:

    Smells like the international sponsor doesn’t want a series of shows with other site’s logos, but isn’t willing to pony up and buy them on-site.

    Another example of a set of rules that are bad for poker and good for Harrah’s. Pathetic.


  18. BJ Nemeth
    says:

    I think Phil’s reasoning (comment above mine) is on the right track. What if PokerStars had 7 or 8 players at the final table? All of a sudden, the casual viewer thinks the entire thing is sponsored by PokerStars — and ESPN/Harrah’s isn’t receiving a dime from them.

    I haven’t read the full list of rules yet, but the logo rules seem pretty standard to me. I’d love to see the written log of penalties, and I think it’s a good idea, because it will (hopefully) force everyone to take the penalties more seriously.

    The Poker Shrink is exactly right — using “will” instead of “may” in the bad -language rule was a stupid, stupid thing to do.


  19. BJ Nemeth
    says:

    Upon further examination, last year’s bad-language rule was primarily focused on comments directed at other players, dealers, and floor staff, with the option for penalties for language on its own. (A disgusted “Fuck!” when you get rivered, for example.)

    The phrasing of this year’s rule is much more absolute. Anything profane or obscene, and you’re penalized, no ifs, ands, or buts. At least the obscenity clause saves us from the absurdity of Anna Benson, who a few years ago loudly verbalized every nasty thing she could imagine except for the word “fuck,” and thus avoided any penalties.


  20. Poker Shrink
    says:

    Greg Raymer’s fossil card cover will not qualify this year because of size and they neglected height, so those silly dolls and statues will still be allowed.

    Why don’t they ever ask poker players to comment on new rules? Real poker players not the worn out Players Advisory Council.


  21. Kevin Mathers
    says:

    Greg’s fossil card cover wouldn’t have qualified last year either.


  22. Bundas
    says:

    “Real poker players not the worn out Players Advisory Council.”

    I think this comment is actually false There are actually 2 Players Advisory Council 1 being an International Council and the members of that one are

    1)Wendeen H. Eolis : Council Chair
    2)Joseph Hachem
    3)Andrew Black
    4)Marcel Luske
    5)Gus Hansen
    6)Isabelle Mercier

    And the Players Advisory Council from the USA are

    1)Chris “Jesus” Ferguson : Council Chair
    2)Scotty Nguyen
    3)Jennifer Harman
    4)Howard Lederer
    5)Daniel Negreanu
    6)Robert Williamson III

    So it seems to me there are some pretty good Poker players and I don’t think there worn out…..


  23. Kevin Mathers
    says:

    I think Shrink’s point is that the PAC is full of players who actually don’t play many tournaments on the circuit. I believe you’re missing a few players from that list, but when the youngest player is Negreanu, you’re ignoring the opinions of the online poker generation who make up a larger amount of the tournament poker players.

    Also, when did Scotty Nguyen get on the PAC? I’ve seen players like Zolotow, Appleman, Tom Schneider, etc. discussed as being part of the PAC.


  24. Tom Schneider
    says:

    Yes, I am part of the PAC.

    The Logo rule: I don’t like it for several reasons, but there is one really good reason to have it. When viewing a final table of all Pokerstars logos the show looks more like an infomercial for Pokerstars. It also feels like when I go to the Commerce and sit down with a bunch of Vietnamese players all looking at each other’s cards speaking Vietnamese acting like they are ordering a spicy dog dish.

    As it relates to the cussing rule, I’m not crazy about the use of the word “prohibits” for many of the reasons already discussed above. I do think players should have an environment that is free from too much cussing, but expecting poker to clean up nicer than golf is not going to happen. It’s much like going to Dan’s house and hoping for a smoke free zone and ending up sitting next to the Marlboro man without the chiseled good looks.

    Unfortunately, Harrahs has to make rules to protect the weak…not the Hellmuths of the world.

    I hope being on the PAC allows me at least 2 “shits” and one “fuck” during the tournament. That sounded horrible didn’t it? I’ll sit one hand out.


  25. Biz
    says:

    KevMath

    “iii. Under no circumstance may players seated at televised Final or Feature add logos, patches or promotional language to their apparel after the beginning of that day’s session of play.”

    This rule existed last year and resulted in a scenario where Phil Ivey was given the superstar treatment. He’d forgotten to put a PokerRoad (I think?) patch on at the start of the day and tried to add it after the first break. He was at the feature table and this was quickly caught by ESPN. His response to the person telling him to remove the patch would earn him a penalty under 2009 rules. He continued to wear the patch through the rest of the day.


  26. Steve Of Utley
    says:

    Re: Rule 36, as Nigel Tufnel says “What’s wrong with being Profound?”