ANZPT Sydney: Play that funky music

When you travel to different poker events around the world you soon discover that there are many nuisances and variations to the rules of this great game of Texas Holdem. It's simple to learn, but takes a lifetime to master as they say. Well, it can take a lifetime to master all of the rules variations anyway.

We've seen everything from rulings about minimum bet amounts, string betting, acting out of turn, recovering folded cards, forward motion, betting lines painted on the felt that are strictly enforced and even betting lines that are just painted there for show. We've seen rulings that we agree with, and some that just make us scratch our head in bemusement.

One of the sticking points for players at the tables is the use of mp3 players, iPods, iPads and other electronic devices at the table. A few years ago the use of such technology at the table was pretty strict, perhaps in fear of the unknown of what might be possible in terms of a potential security risk. If that whizz-bang technology can play music then surely it can read an opponent's soul right?

Fortunately technology has been slowly embraced by casinos around the world. It is now accepted as purely a form of refreshing entertainment for players to break the monotony of tournament poker, and not the evil workings of the devil.

Even here in Sydney, we've seen a relaxing of the rules within the first two levels of play.


The humble iPod still has a place at the poker table

At the start of the day it was announced that mp3 players and iPods were aok, but any transmitting device such as an iPhone or iPad were not allowed to be used at the tables. We presume there were a few grumbles from the players as that ruling was quickly adjusted.

"We've relaxed the rules regarding the use of transmitting devices at the table," announced a tournament official. "You may use an iPhone or iPad as long as the sim card is removed first."

With "Flight Mode" being deemed unacceptable, players wanting to use their iPhone or iPad at the table would have to jimmy open their phone and physically remove the sim card. Tournament staff even announced that they had a paperclip available for anyone to use if they were having trouble getting their sim card slot open!

"Ummm ok?" was the general consensus from players. Reluctant acceptance I guess you'd call it, but it appears that no one has really taken up the offer, preferring to stand up to text than remove their sim card to listen to music.

Tournament staff will be policing the players, with all devices required to remain in clear view at all times, with breaches potentially copping a one round penalty!

@PokerStars in Sydney