The logistical nightmare of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) makes for an
interesting scene that is best described with the word “zoo.” Basically,
it’s a bunch of poker starved animals caged inside a box not equipped to
handle them. It’s quite a hilarious picture, with grown men and women
shouting about “fairness” and people generally berating each other for
mistakes in play. Add in the people who have to run the mile and a half to
the bathroom in order to make it back before the blinds come and you have
the perfect recipe for ridiculousness. In short, the WSOP is awesome and any
person who claims to be a poker fan must consider making the pilgrimage to
poker Mecca before calling their career complete.
But before you come and make poker history, remember this – leave the “f”
word at home. Perhaps the most ridiculous rule in the zoo is that just one
cuss word, of the hundreds that exist, is illegal, and said word is deemed
vile enough to give you a 10 minute penalty.
Mike Matasow made the controversial “F” bomb rule famous in the 2005 Main
Event when he dropped more bombs than the Bush family did on Baghdad. In
2006, the rule is important enough to include in the preamble to every
tournament, including the lowly $125 satellite tournaments and side cash
I’m not saying I don’t understand why the rule is in place. Cleary, Harrah’s
wants to make the WSOP more TV and family friendly, drawing the young and
the conservative old into the booming poker world at the same time.
But seriously, when you’ve plopped down thousands to play in the Series and
some donkey sucks out on you and laughs, don’t you have the God-given right
to drop America’s favorite word several dozen times?
You’d do the same if you’ve stubbed your toe. For many of us, it’s a natural
thing to cry out when we’re hurt and there is nothing that hurts more than
watching your top-two-pair fall prey to the horrible human being that
paddles to the river.
Before I explain why the “F-Bomb” rule is obnoxious, consider this – there
is no specific rule against using any other cuss words, including racial
slurs and the alphabet of swears beginning with “a, b, s and yes, even c.”
There is a provision that allows dealers to deem attacks on another person
so crass, that a penalty can be assessed, but if you get sucked out on and
scream “Sh*t” at the top of your lungs, the “F Bomb” rule does not apply. So
be sure poker players, if you’re going to let fly a word, make sure it
begins with anything but “F.”
I think this rule needs to be reevaluated. In my opinion, the intent of the
rule is to keep the game clean and honorable. By eliminating a word that is
offensive to many, Harrah’s is trying to keep players from berating each
other with profane language.
I like that idea. Poker should be a gentlemen’s game and people should not
be allowed to harass people just because they feel like being an ass (I can
say that word, mind you).
The intent is the key. If a player mutters the “F Bomb” to themselves, a
common occurrence when someone is upset, there is room to deem the action a
mistake and should be treated as such.
Most dealers and players are aware of this, and if a violator truly did not
mean to offend, he usually covers his mouth in mock shame and everyone lets
it go. But if one player deems the word offensive, no matter how it’s used,
the bosses must enforce the rule and penalize the player.
You all know a player who would be willing to use this to their advantage.
He’s the same guy who constantly refers to the rulebook and throws it in
everyone’s face, especially when he’s holding a poor bluff.
This is where the rule becomes ridiculous. Dealers and bosses have the same
powers of common sense as the rest of us. I say, change the rule to match
its original intent. If the cuss was accidental, don’t let Mr. Rulebook use
his annoyingness as power. And if you think Captain Rules doesn’t exist,
believe me; he’s all over the Rio.
Let’s do the best we can to keep the zoo clean, but at the same time, let’s
remind the keepers that keeping animals inside a tiny little cage can
sometimes be a recipe for ridiculousness.
Even the best men and women makes mistakes. Let’s give the animals a chance
to be human.
Ryan McLane is a gaming industry reporter for Casino City and is assigned to
Post at 11:04 am UTC by Jerry
the poker beat. He is currently covering events at the World Series of
Poker. Email your comments and questions to him at firstname.lastname@example.org