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This came up for me at a tournament this weekend. I made it into the final where the first prize was sealed product with a value for the sake of discussion to be $100, and second prize was store credit to the value of $50.

I discussed with the store owner prior to discussing with my opponent, because I did not want to put myself into the position of accidentally offering a bribe and being disqualified.

after this discussion the split was offered, my exact words being "shall we split?", the response being essentially "yes" and we then discussed resolving that. We split the $50 store credit quite easily, and agreed that the best solution was for one of us to take and sell the sealed product and then split the proceeds after the fact.

this seemed like an optimal solution in this situation, but there are plenty of situations where apportioning prizes can be much more challenging. a prime example being when one player wants "bye"s to a tournament that the other is not attending.

1. What is the safest way to evaluate the value of the prizes during a split, without accidentally offering a bribe.

2. If players initially agree to a split, is the subsequent debating of the value of prizes vs byes potentially still going to lead to bribery?

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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

A 'split' is only possible if everything is divisible. It is basically just a shortcut for all remaining (generally 8 or 4) players all having to go around and individually agree with each other to evenly share any product they may win. Then separately all going back around and all agreeing to drop from the tournament. This is all completely allowed. The 'Split' rules just spell out explicitly and reassure organizers (who aren't by any means expected to be rules wonks) that this particular scenario that comes up often when FNM runs late is allowed by DCI.

You can make an agreement to share prizes any way you like, then actually play the match for real and report the real result. Or ID, or one player may choose to concede/drop. As long as there is no link between prize agreement and match result, it's fine.

If specific match results (including dropping from the tournament) are discussed, requested or offered, it's bribery, simple as that.

Sometimes it is not possible to agree to share a prize (like byes and blue envelopes) without implicitly offering a match result because DCI requires the prize be awarded to particular finishing positions. You are allowed to agree to split however you like only in the final round of the tournament. Basically at this point you're not harming other people's prospects in the tournament, forcing someone to play for a prize they won't use is stupid, and forcing "fake" matches harms the integrity of the game far more than letting people work out dividing prizes they don't want/won't use.

So to your two questions:

1) Don't mention or make any arrangements about match results and you can agree to do anything you want with transferable prizes you have won or may win.

2) If you've made an agreement that requires reporting a particular match result such that one player advances to claim a particular prize, that is bribery. If it's the final round of the tournament it's allowed for a player to drop.

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so where there are prizes + byes (and there hence has to be a clear winner) as long as both players do not discuss byes as part of the split and one of them drops, everything is fine? –  Patters Jul 30 '13 at 10:27
    
It seems pretty rare that there would be such a prize in consideration before the final round, when it is acceptable for a player to agree to drop. Honestly I cannot imagine a person being granted an unearned blue envelope or bye having the cajones to then sit there and try to negotiate over what % of their product winnings they think it's worth. Social convention is certainly to just give it all away. –  Affe Jul 30 '13 at 17:09
    
How far any particular judge is going to dig to decide if there was too much "wink-wink-nudge-nudge" after "Would you like all of the packs I win today?" is, well, judgement. Some people accept that some amount of that is a reality of paper-based play at that level, others feel they have a commission to 'clean up the game.' I would not personally pry into it if you genuinely had no intent or ability to attend the following event. –  Affe Jul 30 '13 at 17:20
    
Usually these kinds of investigations/DQs happen around the IDs and concessions that send someone into the T8 in the first place, not what happens once there. –  Affe Jul 30 '13 at 17:21
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You may only split cash and sealed product prizes, and only evenly. From the Tournament rules (chapter 5.2):

Players in the single-elimination rounds of a tournament offering only cash and/or unopened product as prizes may, with the permission of the Tournament Organizer, agree to split the prizes evenly. The players may end the tournament at that point, or continue to play. All players still in the tournament must agree to the arrangement.

With the example:

Example: In the finals of a 1-slot Pro Tour Qualifier that offers a travel award and an invitation to the winner, the two finalists may agree to split the tournament prizes, but this agreement cannot alter the results of the match. One player must drop from the tournament, leaving the travel award and the invitation to the player who did not drop from the tournament. That player is then free to split the remainder of the prizes as agreed upon. The travel award and invitation are a single item and may not be split.

My guess is it is probably fine to treat store credits as cash for purposes of splitting, but I'm not a Magic judge so do not take my word for it.

However, evaluating the value of byes/invitations for another tournament is by the definition above collusion, and definitely off limits.

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the way I am reading this implies that a tournament offering for example 4 force of wills for 1st and 2 wastelands for 2nd would not be allowed to split as they are not sealed product. Is that correct? –  Patters Jul 29 '13 at 12:32
    
That would be my interpretation also. I'm not sure how common such prizes are in sanctioned events though. –  tengfred Jul 29 '13 at 13:13
    
Certainly for legacy they are pretty common, and there are plenty of massive tournaments which do it (see Bazaar of moxen where top prize is power 9 for example) I guess we need to wait for a judge to weigh in with some official guidance –  Patters Jul 29 '13 at 13:43
    
You could agree with another player "Hey if we end up 1 and 2, would you like to sell the force of wills and wastelands and split the value?" at any time, there is no rule against that. If there is any influence on any match result, then it is bribery. –  Affe Jul 29 '13 at 18:57
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