re: Poker & Live Tournament Rules
This is all pretty standard - the fun thing about the first example was it was from this year's WSOP
and two reasonably well known pros were the players involved (IIRC it was Pearljammer and Dutch Boyd, and Boyd was the one who checked the nuts on the river). You'd think they would've known better
In that situation there should be a penalty given every time because there's only two possible explanations for it - either the player is soft-playing their opponent or they're stupid. In either case they deserve a penalty. The fact that you've never seen one probably just means either the tournament officials aren't paying attention or the other players never brought it up. Bring it up next time and see what happens.
The breaking tables thing is really a bigger deal in big tournaments where it can legitimately take a while to find your new seat. Your new table shouldn't be sitting around twiddling their thumbs waiting for their empty seat to be filled, they should continue playing. What it's meant to prevent is people deliberately stalling on the way to their new table so they either don't have to pay blinds or don't have to sit down in a disadvantageous spot (right into the BB, for example - if they waste five more minutes they could be in the cutoff instead).
On the last point, you shouldn't
have seen anyone penalised for asking - they just shouldn't get an answer unless it's a pot limit game. The rule is there to prevent stalling. What a lot of places will let you do instead is ask the dealer to spread the pot out a bit so you can do a rough visual count yourself. I've even seen them do that on High Stakes Poker a few times.