Pokemon Organized Play Floor Rules
October 2003-2004 Edition
Rules effective October 1, 2003 for the 2003-2004 Tournament Season
These rules are used in conjunction with the most recent Pokémon trading card game rules. The latest descriptions on how specific tournament formats are run can be found on our website atop.pokemon-tcg.com. This document is a resource to preserve an equitable and consistent tournament environment for every match across the globe. These Pokémon Organized Play (POP) tournament rules apply to the Pokémon trading card game, and any other games supported by POP.
Anyone is allowed to participate in a Pokémon Organized
Play sanctioned event, except
Anyone in the event may not gamble on the outcome of any
match or standings of a sanctioned tournament. Spectators
attempting to wager on any outcome of the event should be
removed from the event site.
Tournament organizers are allowed to publish the results
of their events, subject to local, state, and national laws.
Pokémon USA reserves the exclusive rights to publish event
information such as the contents of a player's deck,
transcripts, video recordings or any other applicable
recounts of a Pokémon Organized Play sponsored event, as
well as any player suspensions resulting from those events.
Players, judges, and tournament organizers are required
to be familiar with the most recently published Pokémon
trading card game rules, as well as the relevant information
contained in this document.
Players are expected to participate in a sportsmanlike
manner at all times. Players participating in a constructed
deck tournament are required to bring their own deck
composed of cards for the appropriate format.
Judges are expected to administer impartial rulings, and
assist the tournament organizer and head judge in running a
quality event. Judges are expected to encourage
sportsmanlike behavior at all times.
The head judge serves as the final arbiter of all rulings
and rules interpretations for that
Spectators may watch a match, but cannot interfere with a match in any way. The only way a spectator can interact with an event is by contacting a judge to ask whether a specific play is legal or not. Spectators are expected to behave in a non-disruptive fashion.
The tournament organizer is in charge of the non-game
elements of the tournament. The
A player may appeal any ruling made by a judge to the
head judge of that tournament. The head judge is the final
authority on card rulings and interpretation of floor rules
for that event.
Players are expected to be at their matches when the round begins. If a player is more than 10 minutes late to the match, it is assumed that they have forfeited that round. Any player who does not arrive in the tournament area by the end of the round will be removed from the event.
Players will shuffle their decks and give their opponents the option to shuffle and/or cut their deck. If a judge decides a player (or players) is taking excessive amounts of time for shuffling before the game begins or during the game, the judge may assign penalties based on as if the player was late for the match
Players may not take notes during the match, with the exception of tracking the effects of cards in play.
Conceding a Match
A player may concede a match to his or her opponent at
any point during the round. Players are not allowed to
determine the winner by random means, and may not receive
anything from their opponent for conceding the match, or for
drawing with their opponent. Engaging in bribery or
collusion will result in both players being disqualified
from the tournament and/ or suspended from Pokémon Organized
Players may agree to declare their match an intentional draw at any point during a round of swiss pairing. Players report the intentional draw to the scorekeeper instead of reporting a win or loss. An intentional draw is scored the same as a regular draw.
Withdrawing from a Tournament
Any player desiring to withdraw from an event may do so.
That player notifies the scorekeeper by stating their first
and last name, and allowing the scorekeeper to drop them
from the event. If a player wishes to withdraw from the
tournament after pairings have been posted, that player will
receive a match loss before being removed from the
tournament. Players may not re-enter the tournament.
Players are expected to play at least the first round of
any Limited tournament. If a player leaves the event before
the first round of pairings have been posted, they will
receive a match loss for that round before being removed
from the event.
Players may only use cards legal for that tournament. In
the instance of a Limited tournament, players may only play
with cards that have been given to them for Sealed Deck
events, or cards they have drafted for Draft tournaments.
The head judge is the final authority on how a card is
interpreted during an event. If a player has a question on
how a card (or combination of cards) is supposed to
interact, they may ask the head judge before or during the
Players are required to sufficiently randomize their deck
at the start of the match, before
Players must keep all of the cards of their deck above
the edge of the table at all times.
A card that has been damaged or marked during the course of a tournament may be replaced, at the discretion of the head judge. During Limited-format tournaments, cards that have been damaged during the manufacturing process, it is the head judge's discretion on how the card or booster is replaced.
Card sleeves are legal for tournament play. Players may use Pokémon cards with different card backing only with opaque sleeves. All sleeves must be of uniform size, color, and approximately the same worn condition. Sleeves that do not meet this criteria will be treated as marked cards.
Players are responsible for providing their own markers
for their cards. Damage counters and markers denoting
Special Conditions may not placed in such a way that would
obscure the game card. If a player has a question about
whether their markers may be used, the player should discuss
the matter with the head judge before the event.
The head judge is the final arbiter of any ruling for the event. They may assign any penalty, ranging from cautioning the player for relatively minor problems, assigning a penalty for illegal card play or unsportsmanlike conduct, up to ejection from the tournament for cheating or significant unsportsmanlike conduct.
Players found cheating will be removed from the event to preserve the integrity of the tournament. The head judge may decide to reduce the penalty for lesser offenses and is the final arbiter of any penalty assigned during the tournament. Cheating is generally defined as any intentional act to gain advantage during a match through deceit or unfair play. Examples of cheating:
Unsportsmanlike conduct is not welcome in any Pokémon
event, whether or not that event is sanctioned by Pokémon
Organized Play. Everyone is encouraged to be polite and
respectful to each other, even during a disagreement. This
rule applies to spectators, players, and the tournament
staff. Anyone engaging in disruptive, unsportsmanlike
behavior will be asked to leave the event, subject to the
head judge's discretion.
Players should attempt to complete their match in the
allotted time. It is important for the players to avoid the
appearance of cheating or unsportsmanlike conduct,
especially when it comes to playing slowly. If the head
judge determines that a player is intentionally attempting
to stall out a match, it will be considered cheating, and
subject to the appropriate penalties.
Players using marked sleeves or cards may be asked to leave the event by the judging staff. In general, if it can be determined that the cards or sleeves are scuffed or discolored in a specific fashion, it will be considered a form of cheating. The judging staff may ask the player to replace damaged or worn sleeves/ cards, instead of removing the player from the event.
Official Tournament Formats
Constructed Deck Formats
Players gain and lose rating points after each match, in whichever category that match took place in. Each player is assigned a Pokémon Organized Play ID to track matches won and lost. If a player does not have a POP number, an ID will be assigned by the tournament organizer at the event.
Cards legal for constructed deck format
All Pokémon cards from trading card game expansion sets that have been released in the United States, including promotional cards, are legal for tournament play. Specific constructed deck formats may include additional rules on which card sets are allowed. Players who use Pokémon cards with different backs must play with uniform sleeves with opaque backs on all cards in the deck.
Tournament judges will base their card rulings and interpretations on a card, based on the event location's local language. Major tournaments that span multiple countries will default to the original intent and design of Pokémon cards produced in Japan. Pokémon Organized Play will issue card rulings based on that information.
All Pokémon trading card game sets and promotional trading game cards are allowed in POP-sanctioned tournaments as soon as they are released to the public. In addition, highly competitive tournaments supported through Pokémon Organized Play may include specific rules on which expansions will be allowed for those events. New expansions may not be allowed for such events. Please check our websiteop.pokemon-tcg.com for specific details on the event.
Definition of a Match
Each match consists of one game of Pokémon. A tournament
organizer may declare at the beginning of a tournament, that
a match consists of more than one game, but must state this
before the tournament starts.
Each round has a recommended time limit of 30 minutes. The head judge will announce the time limit for each round at the beginning of the event.
For tournaments that require decklists:
1. Whoever wins the coin toss chooses which player
Upon match completion, each player is responsible for
reporting the match results to the tournament judging staff.
Optionally, the tournament organizer may state at the
beginning of the event that only the winner of each match
reports the score.
If time for the match has been called, the current player
is allowed to finish their turn. At the end of that turn,
the player with the least amount of Prize cards left is
considered the winner. If both players have an equal number
of Prize cards, the game is a draw. Tournaments that include
multiple-game matches check games won by each player. If
both players have the same number of game wins for that
round, the match is a draw.
Each player will have a 60-card deck at all times. Players may not have more than 4 of any single card, with the standard exception for basic Energy cards. A card is defined by the name of the card.
Unlimited Constructed Deck Format
Unlimited decks may contain cards from any and all
Pokémon trading card game sets that have been released in
the United States, as well as all promotional cards. New
sets are allowed as soon as the product has been released.
Modified Constructed Deck Format
Modified decks may include cards from the following Pokemon trading card game sets:
With the exception of basic Energy cards and previously printed cards that appear in current sets, players may not use cards from older Pokémon sets. New sets are allowed as soon as the product has been released.
There are no cards currently banned in the Modified tournament environment.
Rules Specific to Limited Tournaments
Limited decks contain exactly 40 cards. Players who open
or draft multiple copies of a card are not limited to only 4
of any single card that is normally applied to the Pokémon
trading card game. Any extra cards are set aside for the
remainder of the event.
Players set aside 4 Prize cards at the start of each
game, instead of the normal 6.
Tournament organizers may provide basic Energy cards to
participants in the event. For events that supply basic
Energy, an equal amount will need to be made available to
each player. Tournament organizers will state during event
registration and before deck construction begins, whether or
not Basic energy will be provided. Players may only use the
actual cards they receive at the Limited Format event, for
that tournament. Participants who receive non-standard
booster packs (too many cards, too few cards, all of one
card or rarity, etc) must contact the head judge of the
event, for a possible product replacement.
Each player will have 6 booster packs for a Pokémon Sealed Deck tournament. Players add Basic Energy cards to build a 40-card deck. Please refer to the Pokémon Sealed Deck Format document found on theop.pokemon-tcg.com website for more details.
Booster Draft Format
Each player should receive 6 Pokémon booster packs. The suggested format is 6 booster packs of Pokémon-e TCG: EX Ruby & Sapphire, however, other breakdowns are allowed as long as the sets use similar Evolution paths for the Pokémon. After players have finished drafting, they may add Basic Energy cards to build a 40-card deck. Please refer to the Pokémon Booster Draft Format document for more details. This document can be found on theop.pokemon-tcg.com website.
Rochester Draft Format
Each player receives 6 Pokémon booster packs. The recommended format is 6 booster packs of Pokémon-e TCG EX Ruby & Sapphire, however, other breakdowns are allowed as long as the sets use similar Evolution paths for the Pokémon. Please refer to the Pokémon Rochester Draft Format document, found on theop.pokemon-tcg.com website.
Pokémon Organized Play may from time to time alter these rules, or make updates to these rules, and reserves the right to do so with or without prior notice.
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