Rules and Policies
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The Ranking System has one of the simplest ranking systems ever used for competitive play. We call it a "Ladder" because each player has a unique rank or "rung" that represents their standing among other players. The highest ranked player holds the #1 position. Someone ranked #2 is ranked below the #1 player. So, the goal is to "climb" the Ladder all the way to the top.

    • When you first join you are placed in the "Unranked" category of the Ladder.

    • You become "Ranked" after winning your first Ladder match. (Unranked users can play each other and the winner becomes ranked at the bottom of the ladder.)

    • When you defeat a higher ranked player you move up half the distance between their rank and your own. Example

    • Your rank on the Ladder does not go down if you lose a match unless your opponent is ranked DIRECTLY below you.

    • When other players beat people above you and jump over you in rank you will slide down.

    • Some special rules exist for players ranked in the Top Ten. These rules will be covered in a later section.

Account Rules

    Since your Ladder account is where all your records are kept we have some special policies regarding it. These are very important and you should pay close attention to them.

    • E-mail Address

      • Your E-mail address must be kept current on the site, as it is the only way we have of contacting you. Use the 'USER EDITOR' if you need to change it.

      • If your E-mail address is found to be invalid your account will be penalized or removed.

    • Ladder Names

      • If your Ladder name is offensive to other users or contains profanity your account will be removed.

      • If your Ladder name is found to be abusive towards another user your account will be removed.

      • If your Ladder name is found to be too similar to an existing user's nickname you will have to choose another.

      • You are only allowed to change your Ladder name once per week.

      • Your Ladder name must match the name you use in chat and play your matches under exactly. This includes spaces, underscores and other keyboard characters. If it doesn't the match is invalid and your opponent is not required to report any losses to you.

      • Players should never report a loss to a name that is different than the one their opponent used during the match.

    • Inactivity

      • If you haven't played a match in 365 days you will be automatically removed for inactivity in order to keep the Ladder as dynamic as possible and give everyone a chance to move up.

      • Removal for inactivity is completely automated. No exceptions are made to this rule. Our players want an active league full of opponents who can be easily found.

      • We offer optional "Gold & Platinum Membership" programs. One of the benefits to these program is the fact that you cannot be purged for inactivity. This program is recommended for frequent travelers or those in the military. Signup information can be found here.

    • Multiple Users

      • We only allow a set number of accounts from one location. If this number is exceeded your accounts will be investigated and possibly removed. We have an automated security system to keep track of this information, and all new account info is logged.

      • It is illegal for one person to have multiple accounts. Only one account is allowed per person, PERIOD.

      • It is illegal for more than one person to use or share the same account. You are more than welcome to each participate in the Ladder, but you will have to create separate accounts for each individual playing.


    Whether you are the one looking for a match or the one being asked to play there are some guidelines that need to be followed. Violating these could result in penalties. If you notice anyone violating these rules please feel free to contact us using the SUPPORT area.

    • Chat

      • The best way to find matches is to announce in chat that you are looking for a match. You will see other's doing the same. This lets everyone know you are interested in Ladder play.

      • When you are in a chat room trying to find a match you should be courteous and respectful to other people in the room. Repeatedly asking for a Ladder game tends to annoy people very quickly. This could make them not want to play you, and make it harder for YOU to move up the Ladder.

    • E-Mail:

      • Email challenges should be reserved for users in the top 10 of the Ladder, and only used then if you have trouble setting up a match via the normal methods.

      • If you are found to be issuing challenges via Email excessively and without first attempting to get a match via the traditional methods you will be penalized.

    • 15 Matches Per Day: You can only play the same person 15 times each day. You can play as many different people as you'd like on any given day.

    • Verify Information: We recommend that you make sure potential opponents belong to the Ladder before starting your match. This way if you have a problem you will have all of the information you need to resolve it quickly. You can do this very easily using our find player utility. It's not a bad idea to write this information down after you look it up.

    • Priority: If you have multiple people challenging you at once you should play the person with the highest rank.

    • First Come, First Served: The priority rule for accepting challenges only applies when you have multiple challenges at the same time. If you are challenged by someone you should not go to chat and actively seek someone higher in rank to challenge you, rather you need to accept the first challenger.

    • Specific Ranks: It is illegal to refuse matches based on Ladder rank. You may request a specific rank or range when advertising for a challenge, but you may not refuse a valid challenge simply because the challenger is not the rank you are wanting to play.

Playing a Match

    Once you have found an opponent and you are ready to start your match, there are some rules about the match to keep in mind.

    • Settings:

      • There are no illegal settings for Ladder matches as long as BOTH players agree to them before the match begins. If someone starts the game with incorrect settings you should point it out and immediately return to chat. This will allow you to make sure you both understand what the other player wants. You can then restart the match.

      • We have set default settings for some games. If your game has default settings they will be listed in the next section. If any of these rules conflict with overall Ladder rules, the game specific rules apply.

    • Failure to Finish Match:

      • Once you start a match you are responsible for completing it. If you have to leave before the game is finished for any reason it is considered a loss and you need to promptly report it.

      • Although it does not happen often it is possible that you or your opponent may be disconnected from the game or the Internet entirely before your match is finished. If one player was clearly losing at the time of disconnect then that person should be a good sport and report the loss. If there was no clear winner at that point in the match and it is not a game that allows you to continue then a rematch would be suggested. For more information regarding the proper procedures in the event of a disconnect please visit our FAQ.

      • If one or more users in a match leaves the match and the game allows it a substitute player can be selected to finish playing that for the person(s) who disconnected. The sub does get credit for the match if they win, but they not required to report any losses unless all match participants agree otherwise before gameplay is continued. The person who left the match is only required to report losses to his/her opponents if they left voluntarily or were already clearly going to lose at the time they lost connection.

    • Opponents:

      • You are not allowed to play Ladder matches against people who live in the same household as you. You can play friends and relatives who do not live with you, but you should limit matches against them to one or two a week. Remember, the idea of the Ladder is to see how you stack up against players from all over the world--not across the street.

      • You are not allowed to partner with people who live in the same household as you. This includes anyone who plays from the same physical location, whether or not they actually reside there.

      • You are not allowed to report losses to anyone who plays from the same computer as you do…ever. Our security software will detect this activity if it is attempted and participating accounts will be penalized or removed.

    • Sportsmanship:

      • The same rules that apply to behavior in chat (covered later in these rules) also apply during games. If we receive complaints about the behavior of a user steps will be taken to deal with the problem.

      • It is illegal to play in more than one Ladder match at a time. This slows down gameplay for everyone.


    The rules are determined for each individual tournament by the Tournament Director holding the event. If you click on the link for a specific tournament you will see a summary of that tourney, including a 'RULES' link where you can find out the specific rules for that event. Tournaments are exempt from Game Specific Rules unless the TD has specified otherwise on his/her rules page.

Game-Specific Rules

    To keep things as competitive as possible we often have special rules that only apply to certain games. The rules for the current ladder are listed here. If you have any suggestions for rule changes that would improve the Ladder please feel free to contact your ladder admin team.

      1. All games will be 500 points/12 hands or 60 minutes max. TD will keep track of start time. In Hardwood, game settings are Social, 500/100 or 12 hands (whichever comes first), no BN, Timeout Players ON, Cut Deck OFF.

      2. There will be NO Dnil's or OD's. In the event any player accidentally OD's, the hand will be skipped by all and a 100 point penalty will be assessed to the team who misbid. At Hoyle the hand will be completed and the 100 point penalty will be assessed manually if the dnil is successful. Please call a TD to the table in the event of a misbid.

      3. All tables will be unrated/protected (not private). No FF (forfeit) tables. (yahoo only)

      4. Top bracket will choose table and invite bottom bracket in all matches except for final between tourney #1 and tourney #2 winners.

      5. TD will choose table for final between tourney #1 winners and tourney #2 winners. The team whose name begins with the letter closest to "(to be determined at the start of each tournament)" will choose seats first.

      6. Watchers and cheering (lobby only) on your respective teams is encouraged and welcomed. However, there is to be no chat while a hand is being played and minimal between hands. If a player or TD feels that the chat is excessive, the TD will give 1 warning. If it continues, the TD has the right to have those watchers booted from the table. Hoyle: There will be NO use of sounds by watchers or players during any hand in play. Hardwood: Minimal fooms are allowed and only between hands.

      7. There is to be NO kibitzing by any member and only by a TD at the beginning of game and to verify a misbid. There is NO kibitzing by anyone, at anytime, other than the TD as stated above.

      8. All decisions made by the TD are to be respected. A TD may seek assistance on a ruling from the head admin (BOL_Belinda).

      9. All matches will be reported by the hosting TD only. TD Helpers will post winners in lobby and continue to do so until acknowledged by the hosting TD or BOL staff member.

      10. All BOL ID’s must match your league ID and must be able to verify via your league’s Player List.

      11. Subs: Should a player be late or get booted from the room, a sub may be used and must be seated within 5 minutes of the boot time. The sub must also be a registered member of the BOL. If both players are booted, the team is allowed 10 minutes to return. If neither player returns within the 10 minutes, the team is DQ’d due to time.

      12. While attending the BOL either as a player or in a support are representing your league. Appropriate behavior is expected at all times and violation of this rule could result in your league being suspended or even banned from BOL participation. Effective immediately, offensive, adult-oriented, inappropriate and/or sexually suggestive IDs are not allowed as participants or subs in BOL. In addition, no variation of the word “bitch” is acceptable. Participating leagues, at all times, are expected to keep in mind that this is a SPADES LEAGUE that is supported by people of all ages and there is absolutely no reason for IDs as mentioned above to be used at any time. As stated in previous BOL rules, if you have a “questionable” ID, change it before joining a BOL tournament. In keeping with another BOL rule, the ID you use for a BOL tournament (as a player or a sub) must match your league ID exactly and must be verifiable via your league’s Player List.

      13. MISCONDUCT.... There will be NO TOLERANCE of any kind for disruptive behavior in the lobby or the game. Under NO circumstances are you to go into another league room and spam trying to get players to join your league. There is to be NO spamming by any league during a BOL event. Such behavior will result in you being disqualified from the current BOL taking place and your league either being suspended for a period of time or banned completely.

      14. Any league caught in violation of Cases TOA will result in possible displinary action including dq of tourney and/or banishment of league from BOL.

      15. Yahoo ONLY… Because of the size of BOL tourneys in Yahoo, the hosting league must assure that no other tourneys will be scheduled by their league while the BOL is going on. If this becomes a problem, please let me know ASAP so other arrangements can be made… such as, moving it to Jub. All tourneys will be made and hosted by a BOL Admin who is familiar with BOL Rules and comfortable with running large tourneys.

      16. When playing in the finals on the 3rd Saturday, ALL pagers and IM services MUST be shut down or disabled. It is further recommended, that once you have entered into a game to play, you do not view any webpages. If you have AOL, all activity is viewed as "WAOL" and could be construed or mistaken as AOL Messenger. All games are monitored, and this is for your protection. If you must view a page, do it BETWEEN games. Hosting TD has the final say if a team is dq'd.

      Good luck to everyone and have a GREAT night!!!

Reporting the Match

    Once your game is completed the loser of the match is responsible for reporting it as soon as possible. You can report your matches using the "Report Loss" link located in the left hand frame. Here are some things to remember regarding reporting your losses.

    • Report Immediately: Losses are to be reported immediately after a game is completed…before any further Ladder matches are started. Not reporting promptly will result in penalty.

    • Who to Report To:

      • In one on one games the loser of the match reports.

      • In games where you play with a partner each member of the losing team reports a loss to both partners of the winning team, so at the end of the match you would either gain two wins or report two losses.

      • In 'free for all' matches…or matches in which multiple opponents are all competing against each other without partners each of the losers of the match reports a loss to the one overall winner.

      • When playing games with more than one opponent it is important that losses are reported in the proper order if rank will be affected by the order of report. You must report to the highest ranking opponent first in those cases. It is your responsibility to make sure you report in the correct order when necessary. Not doing so will result in penalty.

    • Reporting & Passwords: It is illegal to share your password with any other user for the purpose of reporting or any reason. If you are discovered using another user's password both of your accounts will be removed.

    • Problems Reporting: If you have a problem and cannot report your own loss follow the SUPPORT link and request assistance with this from Ladder Staff.

    • Unreported Matches:

      • Most unreported matches are a simple case of forgetfulness on the part of your opponent. If your opponent has not reported your match within an hour of the match you should send them a friendly E-mail reminder to post. In most cases this is all that is needed to get them to post.

      • If they still have not posted an hour after your E-mail reminder and you see them online playing other matches you should follow the SUPPORT link and submit an unreported match claim against them. Ladder staff will handle the situation from there for you.

      • If, however, you do not see them online after sending your Email reminder you should give them 24 hours to post their loss before submitting an unreported match claim against them in order to give them time to receive your E-mail.

      • You should never harass another user in chat or interrupt their other Ladder matches in an attempt to get them to report. If you see them online giving them one friendly reminder is acceptable, but beyond that you should let Ladder Staff settle the dispute for you.

      • For more information regarding the proper procedures for handling unreported matches visit the Ladder FAQ.

Expected Behavior

    As a member of you are representing us and all the other players when you are playing Ladder matches. Because we rely heavily on the support of the gaming networks and producers of the games that you play we have some guidelines for how you need to behave online. It's part of your duty to be respectable so that you don't give the Ladder (and other players!) a bad name.

    • Cheating:

      • It goes without saying that we won't stand for cheating of any kind. This includes, but is not limited to, breaking rules, using modified executables, reporting false results, or otherwise tampering with Ladder rankings.

      • If you are certain your opponent is cheating you should leave the match immediately and report the suspicious activity via the SUPPORT link on the Ladder page. You do not need to report the match as a loss. If your opponent submits an unreported match claim against you be sure to reply to the inquiry mail we send you explaining your reasoning or the match will be automatically posted against you.

    • Abuse:

      • If you encounter another Ladder user behaving in an unacceptable manner in chat the best thing to do is just ignore them. If you notice one particular user being abusive repeatedly please let us or your LadderOps know. Please be sure to include all pertinent information, such as the offender's username, and a brief explanation of the problems that you encountered.

      • There are many players available to challenge. It is illegal to continually harass one specific player for a match. If you need a match with a specific person and are having a problem getting it let us know via the SUPPORT link rather than harassing that individual, and we will help you resolve the conflict.

      • We encourage you to try to solve problems on your own before bringing it to the staff, but not to the point of creating hardship to yourself or harassing other users. We have one of the best support staffs available on the Internet. If you have a problem we are here to help you.

      • It is illegal to abuse or harrass another Ladder member. If you are observed being abusive in chat it could result in penalty. Depending upon the extent of the abuse you might not always receive a warning in these cases. It is important to remember that two wrongs do not make a right. In other words, if you are being harrassed by another Ladder member come to us for assistance. Do not take matters into your own hands or return the abuse, or you could find yourself in trouble as well.

    • Nice Guy Rule: Please note that behavior guidelines apply for all methods of communication. This includes chat, E-mail, message forums, ICQ, etc. Treat other members with respect!

Top Ten

    Because everyone dreams of being in the Top Ten we have some special rules that apply for these users. This keeps the competition for these slots in high gear. Only players who are ranked in the Top Ten need to worry about these.

    • Top of the Heap: Everyone wants a shot at #1; consequently there should be a lot of activity and movement in the top ranks of the Ladder. Remember that rank has priority when it comes to challenges. Keeping that in mind, the number one player should play the number two player as often as possible.

    • Inactivity: Players in the Top Ten must play at least once every 30 days. If they don't they are automatically dropped five rungs and their inactivity counter is reset. There are no exceptions to this rule.

    • Rank Hounding: Players in the Top Ten are expected to be as active after they reach the top ranks as they were before. In other words, if you are playing 20 games a day to make it to the Top Ten and then only play once a week to hold your rank you may be penalized.

    • Leapfrogging: Players in the Top Ten should try to play the person ranked directly below them at least once every three days. If you are found to be avoiding challenges that put your rank at risk your account will be penalized.

    • Challenges from Different Ranks:

      • Top Ten players must take challenges in order of rank as with other users.

      • Unless you are ranked in the top 25 of the Ladder it is illegal to E-mail Top Ten players requesting a match. Even then E-mail challenges should be reserved for situations in which you have failed in attempts to get a match via the traditional methods. If you receive a mail from a player outside of this range you should reply and gently remind them of the rules.

    • Play Lists: Use of 'playing lists' is strongly discouraged. If someone asks for a match and you are already playing simply tell him or her that. Lists only serve to foster discouragement on the part of the users who are constantly told they are being added only to rarely get the promised match. You are not expected to play every person on the Ladder just because you are ranked in the Top Ten. You fought your way up there one rung at a time and so must everyone else.

    • Fair Play: It should go without saying that other Top Ten players who challenge you should be treated with the utmost respect and courtesy. You should do your best to see that challenges of this nature are played as soon as possible for the benefit of both parties. Avoiding or delaying challenges from other Top Ten members will result in penalty.

    • Image:

      • Because everyone has got their eyes on the top ranks of the Ladder we expect the members of this elite group of players to conduct themselves appropriately. This means we will be keeping a closer eye on them than most. You are among the Top Ten players in the world in your chosen game. Set a good example!

      • There is a lot of competition and pressure associated with being ranked in the Top Ten. Remember that this is just a game and above all meant to be fun!

Fill in the Blank

    We can't cover every aspect of gaming in our rules. We have tried to be as thorough as possible and cover all the basics. However, just because something is not listed doesn't meant that it is allowed. Use common sense. If it is something that will adversely effect other players and you might think twice about doing it's probably against the rules. Our staff have the final say in such matters. If you have a specific question please feel free to contact us via E-mail.

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