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Daniel Negreanu and Matt Savage Clash Over "No Disclosure" Rule

By Ian Hiaring, Rakeback.com Poker News Staff Writer

Daniel Negreanu Table TalkIf you’ve seen Daniel Negreanu play poker on television anytime over the last few years you know that talking is a big part of his game. Not trash talking, but talking through hands while they’re in progress. You’ll often see Negreanu talking to opponents during hands while attempting to find something in their reaction that helps him out.

This summer at the World Series of Poker, Negreanu’s talking got him into a little bit of trouble. In particular, the trouble was with the following “No Disclosure” rule.

Players are obligated to protect the other players in the tournament at all times. Therefore, players, whether in the hand or not, may not:
1. Disclose contents of live or folded hands,
2. Advise or criticize play at any time,
3. Read a hand that hasn’t been tabled.

This isn’t a rule that’s new by any means; it’s been a part of standard tournament poker play for seven years now. For the most part the enforcement of the rule has been non-existent, until this summer when Negreanu butted heads with WSOP officials over his normal table banter.

Negreanu’s strong opinion on the rule has resulted in a war of words with Matt Savage, arguably the leading authority on tournament rules and structure, regarding how (or even if) the rule should be enforced has led to some engaging posts from both himself and Savage.

Negreanu States His Case

On Monday, Negreanu wrote a lengthy post on his blog with numerous examples that he feels illustrates why the rule is ridiculous and needs to be removed, or at the very least amended. To sum up Negreanu’s argument, he basically states that the rule is there to prevent collusion between players, but any type of collusion of this nature would be easily spotted without the rule in place. Negreanu also makes the point that the rule is not being enforced in a uniform manner by tournament directors, which is leading to confusion among the players as to exactly what they can or can’t say at the table.

Savage Rebuttal

Savage’s position on the matter, which was posted on Pokerati.com on the same day, can be summed up with his statement:

“Personally, I would like to see Negreanu say anything he wants on television, as he is one of the most entertaining players to watch. His popularity and influence on the game of poker is immense. However, as a tournament director, I believe the integrity of the game is more important than the entertainment provided by a single event. I agree with his point that the rule is difficult to enforce but it needs to be there to provide a reason for TD’s to investigate possible collusion or soft play situations.”

Both Negreanu and Savage have the utmost respect for one another, and this has been a very civil war of words to this point. But it’s not the first time the two have disagreed on a rule. In 2007 the two had a similar disagreement regarding the rule that a player cannot expose their hand while it’s still in progress. Savage’s response on the 2+2 poker forum was simply titled Daniel Negreanu is WRONG!

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