Q: Please explain the "Burn Out" rule.

A: The burn out rule is a National strategy guideline. It rarely comes up and most players have probably never considered it as an option. The situation only comes up when a team is short players and must forfeit at least one match because they don't fall under the Team Survival clause. When this occurs, most teams play as many players as they have present and forfeit any remaining matches, which is usually the 5th match.

The burn out rule allows the following: If a team knows they have to forfeit a match, they don't necessarily have to make it the last match of the night. They can legally put up a player who isn't there that night (as long as the player is on the roster) and burn out one of the opposing teams players. For example: The third match is ready to play. Team #1 throws up Jimmy because they want to win and Jimmy is a strong player. Jimmy is an H/C-7. Team #2 doesn't have anyone on the team present they believe can beat Jimmy and they know they will have to forfeit a match because they are short players. They can throw up Dave who isn't there that night against Jimmy. Dave has 5 minutes to get to the table, but Dave isn't there so Jimmy wins by forfeit.

Several things need to be considered. First, Jimmy and the team get the win. A win is a win, but may understandably upset Jimmy. He came to play and may feel cheated by this strategy. One way to avoid this is to not throw up the better players blind. Another way is to know who the competition is. You can also count the number of players present to determine if they have 5 or less. This might at least tip you off to a possible burn out strategy. This can be tough during Titleholders where you are playing teams you do not know, but if a team is short players, you will probably recognize it pretty easily. Teams are not required to reveal their roster availability, so be careful and try to determine as best you can who they have to play.

The main point of this rule is that a forfeited match does not need to be the last match of the night. If a player is on the roster, they are legally allowed to be used in the match-ups, whether they are there or not. The time when this rule does not apply is when the player is not qualified to play because they don't have their 6 required matches. This would be in playoffs and Titleholders.