Rules and Policies
Copyright 1996 - 2019 Case's Ladder, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Copyright Policy.
These rules and methods of rank computation are protected under U.S.copyrightlaws.
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The Ranking System
    Case's Ladder has one of the simplest ranking systems ever used for competitive play. We call it a "Ladder" because each member holds a unique rank or "rung" that represents their standing among other members. The highest-ranked member holds the #1 Ladder position; for example, someone ranked #2 is ranked below the #1 member. The goal is to "climb" the Ladder all the way to the top!
    • When you first join, you are placed in an “Unranked” category on the Ladder.
    • You become "Ranked" after winning your first Ladder match. (Unranked members may play each other, and the winner becomes ranked at the bottom of the Ladder.)
    • When you defeat a member that is ranked higher on the Ladder, you move up in rank 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 members ranked below you are victorious against members ranked above you, it's possible the member will jump over you in rank and you will move down one rung. This depends on the ranks involved.
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.
    • Ladder Names
      • If your Ladder name is deemed offensive or contains profanity, your account may be removed.
      • If your Ladder name is deemed abusive towards another member, your account may be removed.
      • If your Ladder name is too similar to another member's Ladder name, then you need to choose a different Ladder name.
      • You are not allowed to change your Ladder name more than once per week. You should make sure the username is available at your gaming site (Yahoo!, Pogo, etc.) prior to making any changes to your Ladder name.
      • Your Ladder name must be an exact match of the username you play with at the gaming site, including spaces, underscores, and other keyboard characters. Upper-case and lower-case letters are an exception. If your Ladder name and your username at the gaming site do not match exactly, then your Ladder games will be considered invalid and your opponents are not required to report any losses to you.
    • E-mail Address
      • Your E-mail address must be kept current at all times, in case you need to be contacted. If your E-mail address is found to be invalid, then you will not be permitted to report Ladder games or have Ladder games reported to you. You can use the 'My Account' link to edit your E-mail address.
    • Password Security
      • You are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of your password.
      • You are not permitted to share your password with anyone for any reason.
    • Inactivity
      • In order to keep the Ladder as dynamic as possible, your account will be automatically deleted if you are inactive for 180 days. However, one of the features of our Premium Membership Program is never being deleted for inactivity. Information regarding our Premium Membership Program can be found here.
    • Multiple Users
      • Only one account is allowed per person. There are no exceptions to this rule.
      • It is forbidden for more than one person to use or share the same account.
      • Multiple accounts from the same location will be investigated and possibly removed. If more than one person from your household is a member of this Ladder, you should contact us using the SUPPORT links to advise us of the situation so the accounts will not be removed.
    A challenge is defined as a request for a match with a better-ranked member. Whether you are the challenger or the one being challenged, there are some rules that must be followed. Violating these rules may result in penalties. If you notice anyone violating these rules, please feel free to contact us using the SUPPORT links.
    • Chat
      • The best way to find Ladder matches is to announce in chat that you are looking for a Case's Ladder match so that other members will know you are interested in Ladder-play. You can also directly challenge a specific member in chat.
    • E-Mail:
      • If you are ranked in the Top 25 of the Ladder, then you may E-mail a member of the Top Ten to request a match. E-mail challenges should be reserved for situations in which you have failed in your attempts to get a match with a Top Ten member in chat.
      • You are forbidden to issue an E-mail challenge if you have played against a Top Ten member within the last seven days.
      • If you are found to be issuing E-mail challenges excessively and without first attempting to request a match in chat, then your account may be penalized.
    • IM Services
      • It is forbidden to use any type of Instant Messenger Service (ICQ, YIM, AIM, etc.) to request a match.
    • Formal Challenges
      • Most Ladders permit the use of Formal Challenges. A complete overview of the Formal Challenge system can be found here.
    • 3 Matches Per Day: You can only play the same person 3 times each day. You can play as many different people as you'd like on any given day.

    • Verify Information
      • We recommend you ensure a potential opponent is also a member of the Ladder before starting your match. You can do this very easily by searching for your opponent using the 'Find Player' link.
    • 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.
    • Priority
      • If you have multiple people challenging you at once you should play the person with the highest rank.
Playing a Match
    Once you are ready to start playing a Ladder match, there are some guidelines governing game play that you should keep in mind.
    • Settings:
      • There are no illegal settings for Ladder matches. However, all opponents must agree to the settings before the game begins. In the event there is a disagreement, then the default setting for your Ladder will apply; please refer to the Game-Specific Rules section regarding applicable default settings for your Ladder.
      • 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.
    • Incomplete Matches:
      • You are responsible for completing a match once it begins. If you leave an incomplete game for any reason and you are gone for more than 10 minutes, it is considered a loss and must be promptly reported to the Ladder. The remaining player is responsible for providing evidence of the missing player being gone for at least 10 minutes if an unreported match complaint is filed.
    • Substitute Players:
      • If one or more players in a 4-player match leaves and the match is not complete, then a substitute player can be selected to finish playing for the missing player(s). The substitute player receives credit for the game if declared the winner but is not responsible for reporting a loss in a losing situation, in which case the missing player is responsible for reporting the loss.
    • Opponents:
      • You are not allowed to play Ladder matches against members who live in the same household as you.
      • You are not allowed to partner in Ladder matches with members 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 another member that also plays from the same location as you. Our security software will detect this activity if it is attempted, and participating accounts may be penalized or removed.
    • Sportsmanship:
      • The same rules that apply to behavior in chat (covered in a later section) also apply during matches.
      • You are not permitted to participate in more than one Ladder match at a time.
Reporting the Match
    Once your match is completed, the loser of the match is responsible for reporting the loss immediately. You can report your matches using the "Report Loss" link located on the left-hand side navigation menu. If you have any problems reporting a loss, you should use the SUPPORT links to contact us immediately and request assistance.
    • Report Immediately:
      • Losses are to be reported immediately after a match is completed and before any further Ladder matches are started. Not reporting promptly may result in penalty
    • Reporting the Loss:
      • In one-on-one matches, the loser of the match reports the loss to the winner.
      • In partner matches, each member of the losing team reports a loss to both partners of the winning team. At the end of the match, you would either gain two wins or report two losses.
      • In “free for all” matches (matches in which multiple opponents are competing against each other without partners), each loser of the match must report a loss to one overall winner.
      • When playing matches with more than one opponent, it is important for losses to be 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 may result in a penalty.
      • When playing matches with at least one partner, the worst-ranked player must report the loss first if rank will be affected by the order of report. It is your responsibility to make sure you and your partner(s) report in the correct order when necessary. Not doing so may result in a penalty.
    • Unreported Matches:
      • If your opponent does not report their loss within one hour after completing the match or prior to starting another match, you should use the “Unreported Match” link under the SUPPORT heading, located on the left-hand side navigation menu, to submit an Unreported Match complaint and we will handle the situation for you.
      • You should never harass another member in chat or disrupt their other Ladder matches in an attempt to get the member to report a loss.
    The rules for a Tournament are determined by the Tournament Director hosting the event. You will find a summary of each individual Tournament, including a RULES page, if you follow the link for that specific Tournament. Game-specific Rules are exempt from Tournaments unless otherwise specified by the Tournament Director. Tournament matches do not count towards the maximum number of Ladder matches allowed per day against the same member, nor do they count towards the Rate of Play for Top Ten members.
Game-Specific Rules
    To keep things as competitive as possible, we often have special rules that only apply to specific Ladders. The rules for the current Ladder are listed here. If any of these rules, here under "Game-Specific Rules," appear to be in conflict with anything stated elsewhere in other sections of the rules, then the rule in this section takes precedence. Please feel free to use the SUPPORT links to submit any suggestions for changes to the rules.
      Game Specific Rules for the Hearts (VU Games) Ladder

      If any of these rules, here under "Game Specific Rules", appear to be in conflict with anything stated elsewhere in other sections of the rules, then the rule in this section takes precedence.

      Ladder Names

      Ladder name and VU Games chat names must match exactly. Even though the system supports the use of alt key characters, do not use them for chat or ladder names.

      Designated Play Area

      All ladder matches must be played in the "New Competitive Room". The ONLY exception is if the room is not available.

      Under no circumstances may VU Games ladder matches be played on another game server such as Zone or Yahoo.

      Legal Game

      Top 20: Use ladder room defaults as follows: Game to 100, queen breaks hearts, no hearts on 1st trick. A 50 point game can be played for anyone not in top 20, as long as it's advertised as such.

      Official Start of Game

      A game of hearts is considered started once the two of clubs has been played. No challenge will take precedence over the seated players at that time.

      Tie Breakers

      If two or three players are tied for first place at the end of a game, a tie breaker must be played immediately and the game is not considered over until the tiebreaker is finished. If a player loses connection or leaves before the tie breaker is completed, it is treated the same as leaving before the game is over and only a 5 minute wait is required. You default if you don't or can't play the tiebreaker.

      To play the tie breaker, only the tied players should reseat at the table, with bots filling any empty seats, and play a short game to 25 points (bot scores included, low human wins). If there is still a tie between any two of the humans upon a seat reaching 25 points, all continue playing until that first time that a hand ends with one human player as the winner.

      Disconnected Players

      3 or 4 players:

      In the event of a disconnection, for the first two times that a player loses connection during a game, the remaining players must hold the seat for at least 5 minutes to give the booted player a chance to return before replacing with a bot. Then, if the booted player does not return, they must continue playing the game with the bot.

      Games may not be aborted and MUST continue with the bot playing for the departed player. If any other player quits before completing the game with the bot, he/she must report losses in accordance with the quitting rule.

      The only exception to this is when a player loses connection during the first hand. Then, only if ALL players remaining at the table unanimously agree, it is permitted to reseat and restart the game with another player. If this is done, the booted player is not obligated to report a loss since he/she is no longer a participant in the game.

      A player who lost connection gets the win if the bot that finishes in his/her seat wins and had played less than all of the last two full hands. (When a player was booted right after the 2 of clubs is led, the bot did not play "all" of that hand.) It is a loss if the bot played for all of the last two hands or longer, with the second place player getting credit for the win in this event.

      Once continuing with the computer the booted player has 3 hands to return to table before losing his seat permanently.

      If all players agree, booted player may return after 3 complete hands. However players are under no obligation to do so.

      Booted player owes report to winner only.


      Remaining player should wait a minimum of 10 minutes for opponent to return. After 10 minutes the remaining player may choose to leave the game. Failure to wait at least 10 minutes, terminates the remaining player's right to claim win from booted player.

      If clearly losing, the booted player owes a report to remaining player.

      Substitutes for booted players are not permitted under any circumstances.

      Server Crash

      In the event that the entire server goes down, and no one can return, the game is considered null, and rematch scheduled at a later time.

      Top 20 Challenges

      Top twenty challenges must take priority over any other challenges issued to top twenty players. If you have multiple top twenty challenges at the same time, games must be given to the highest rank first.

      Valid Challenges

      A challenge is only valid if done according to the following guidelines:

      All challenges must be made in lobby when challenger and high rank are free.

      No challenges may be made at table while game is in progress.

      No challenges via PM or other messaging services.

      Use of the invite option is not a valid challenge. Invite may only be used after a lobby challenge has been accepted in the lobby.

      The challenger must have auto-decline turned off when challenging to facilitate high rank setting up the game.

      If the challenger does not turn off auto-decline after three requests by the high rank, the high rank may take the next highest challenger available.

      Top Ten

      The top 10 positioned players must play all top twenty challenges in the rank order of challenges made by players (if present and challenging). When two (2) Top 10s are in a game together each player should have the right to choose one of the other two (2) players.

      Play in rank order as much as possible, but do not hold up playing because person directly below you is not in the room. It is unrealistic to expect to play people in the exact order of rank.

      Even if you agree to play a specific player next, if a higher rank comes into room, is available to play, and challenges you, you must accept that challenge.

      It is recommended that when ready to play that you ask for ranks in the lobby and take highest available rank.

      Camping for up games is not allowed. If you are challenged and are free you should accept the challenge. The only exceptions are as follows:

      If you are there to play a challenge match arranged via email for a specific time, you will announce the scheduled time of match. If the opponent does not arrive within 10 minutes of that scheduled time, you must accept challenges.

      If the player directly above or below you is playing, but is almost finished with game, you may wait for them to finish and play. Almost through is defined as any player being within 13 points of reaching 100. NOTE: This rule only applies to a rank threatening matches. Example: Number 5 can use the rule to wait for #4 or #6. He can not use it to wait for #3.

      Table Settings

      The high ranked player chooses a table once a challenge is accepted.

      Once everyone has been seated tables options should be set to by invitation. Watchers must be permitted in games involving Top 20. However high rank may opt to mute watchers. If a ladder op requests to speak at the table, mute must be turned off.

      Number One Versus Number Two

      Top 1-2 challenges must be played at the earliest possible time. This match is no different from any other in that it should be issued in chat and played on the spot. If you wish to setup a time to play in the future that is fine, but rank threatening matches to either player cannot be avoided or postponed based on the time scheduled to play this match.


      If you are a Case's Ladder Player ranked in the Top 10 your first priority is to accept your challenges from Case's Ladder Players before other "league or ladder" games are played. You cannot tell any Case's Ladder Player that they have to wait until you play other "league or ladder" games. Case's Ladder games have priority over any other "ladder or league" games. If Case's Ladder games are not your priority you should ask for a rank reduction and make other "ladder or league" games your priority.

      Challenges Prior to a Tournament (Added 12/12/02)

      If you are challenged to a ladder match within 25 minutes prior to a tournament you should accept the challenge made to you, unless you have already registered in the tourney.

      Away From Keyboard (Added 08/13/07)

      Players must remove their name from the lobby chat when they are unavailable to accept challenges.

Top Ten
    The purpose of the Ladder is to climb to the top and the competition for the rungs in the Top Ten is high. As such, we have special rules that apply for members in the Top Ten.
    • Inactivity
      • Members in the Top Ten must play a Ladder match at least once every 2 day(s); otherwise, you will be automatically dropped five rungs and your inactivity counter is reset. There are no exceptions to this rule.
    • Rate of Play
      • Rate of play is the average number of Ladder matches a Top Ten member must play while remaining in the Top Ten.
      • Your initial Rate of Play is determined by the number of Ladder matches played two days prior to entering the Top Ten and the day you enter the Top Ten. The average number of Ladder matches played over the 3-day span is then multiplied by 75% to determine your Rate of Play. Your Rate of Play must be maintained over any 3-day average while remaining in the Top Ten.
      • Depending on the game for your Ladder, your LadderOp team may have a pre-determined minimum/maximum number for Rate of Play. Please review the GSRs for your Ladder or contact your LadderOp team via the SUPPORT link for more details.
      • Tournament matches are excluded from calculating and maintaining your Rate of Play. If you entered the Top Ten by playing tournament matches exclusively, then the pre-determined minimum number of matches established by the LadderOp team will be your initial Rate of Play.
    • Rank Defense
      • Members in the Top Ten must play the person ranked directly below them at least once every three days. A rank-defense match takes priority over other challenges, and any member that would be involved in a rank-defense match may initiate the challenge. For example, a match between rank #2 and rank #3 is considered a rank-defense match, and either member ranked in those positions can challenge the other to play the match. If either member, the better-ranked player or the worse-ranked player, is found to be avoiding a rank-defense match, then their account may be penalized.
    • Play Lists
      • The use of “play lists” is not permitted. A play list is defined as a list of members you will be playing after your current match. If someone challenges you for a match and you are already playing, advise the person that you are currently playing and you’re unable to accept their challenge.
Expected Behavior
    As a member of Case's Ladder, you are representing us and all other members when you are playing Ladder matches. It’s part of your responsibility as a member to act in a respectable manner within your Ladder community.
    • LadderOps:
      • LadderOps are members of the Ladder that volunteer to help reach a fair resolution when problems or disputes arise. If you have a problem in chat, look for a LadderOp to assist you. You can find a current listing of the LadderOps here.
      • Abuse of LadderOps in relation to them doing their jobs is forbidden. If you are found to be guilty of this, your account will be penalized. Remember that LadderOps are volunteers dedicating their time to help improve the quality of the Ladder for everyone.
      • If you have a complaint against a LadderOp or you want to appeal a LadderOp’s decision, click on the CONTACT US link found under the SUPPORT heading on the left-hand side navigation menu, then click on the “Op Complaint” link.
      • For more information regarding LadderOps, please visit the Case's Ladder FAQ.
    • Cheating:
      • It goes without saying that we will not tolerate cheating of any kind. This includes, but is not limited to, using modified executables, reporting false losses, or otherwise manipulating the Ladder rankings.
      • If you believe your opponent is cheating, then you should contact a LadderOp immediately if one is available in chat. If a LadderOp is not available, then you should use the SUPPORT links to contact us immediately after the match. Be prepared to provide the evidence to support your claim.
    • Abuse:
      • It is forbidden to continually harass one specific member for a match. If you are having a hard time getting a match with a specific member, contact us using the SUPPORT links and we will assist in resolving the problem.
      • We encourage you to try to solve problems on your own, but not to the point of creating hardship to yourself or harassing other members. If you have a problem, we are here to help you.
      • It is forbidden to abuse or harass another Ladder member. If you are observed being abusive in chat, it could result in a penalty. Depending upon the extent of the abuse you might not always receive a warning.
      • It is important to remember that two wrongs do not make a right. If you are being harassed by another Ladder member, come to us for assistance. Do not take matters into your own hands or return the abuse, or you could be penalized as well.
    • Nice Guy Rule
      • Please note that behavior guidelines govern all methods of communication. This includes chat, E-mail, message forums, instant messenger services, etc. Treat other members with respect!
Fill in the Blank
    Although we have tried to be as detailed as possible, we can’t cover every aspect of gaming in our rules. Please be advised that just because something is not stated in our rules and policies, then that does not mean it is allowed. Use common sense. If it is something that will adversely affect other members and you might think twice about it, then it’s probably against the rules. Our Staff will have the final say in such matters.
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Copyright 1996 - 2019 Case's Ladder / Thulium Software, LLC. All Rights Reserved.