Strategy / A time clock at the WPT events?

A time clock at the WPT events?Dimanche, 9 mars 2014

You could see the writing on the wall! As more and more live players are also playing online, both amateurs and pros, they get hooked into the adrenaline of faster poker and the live version had to adjust. I have talked about it in the past, it's time to put a time clock in live poker tournaments. No matter where you play, it only takes one slow player at a table to destroy a nice structure...and a nice atmosphere.

It is unacceptable and irrational that a player can play 16 tournaments at once on his Sunday run online, then become a turtle at his local poker room the next day. To this day, I have yet to see someone hide his cards on his screen until he is up, then open them like a young girl opening her presents at Christmas. Especially when the player opens one card, stops to announce to the world he has a good card, waits for a reaction (which of course never happens) before opening his second card and fall into a coma again.

Well, finally this dark period of our favorite sport is about to end! In his blog on PartyPoker.com this week, Mike Sexton told everyone "The shot clock is on the way!" No date set yet but the new rule is expected for Season 13, so next year.

It must be said the WPT is working hard on this. Recently at the Los Angeles Poker Classic, they surveyed the players entered. After much talk, here is what the survey looked like as Sexton puts it:

Before making such a significant change to our tournament policy (and since it’s the players money), we felt it was important to take the temperature of the players to see if they would be interested in a ‘shot clock’. Thus, we agreed to take a survey to find out if they even want it, as well as get their input and suggestions. (How to implement it has yet to be determined, but technology is such that it can be done.)
The WPT decided to put out a survey form to all the entrants of the LA Poker Classic (LAPC) and let the players vote YES or NO as to whether or not they were in favor of a shot clock for WPT events. Here was our proposed idea of how a shot clock would work (but nothing is set in stone):
1. Players will have 30 seconds to act on their hand. If they take no action in that time, their hand will be declared dead and will be automatically folded.
2. Because players do sometimes face tough decisions that require additional time, each player will receive two “Time Buttons” to use during each day’s play. Each button can be put in the pot before their original 30 second clock expires and they will then have an additional 60 seconds to act on their hand. ”Time Buttons” may be used individually or in combination. Once used, “Time Buttons” will be collected by the dealer and no additional time will be available for the rest of the day’s play.
We then gave them several choices of when they would like to see the shot clock used (i.e., from the beginning of the tourney, ‘in the money’, or the final 3/4 tables).
____ YES Check here if you’re in favor of using a shot clock.
____ NO Check here if you are NOT in favor of a shot clock.
We had a NAME (optional) space and then some lines for player SUGGESTIONS for improvement.

It must be said they took this survey in the worst possible place in the world. Americans don't play online any more, California card rooms like the Commerce and the Bike welcome the largest crowds of regular live poker players and they are not used to the rapid pace of online poker.

Nonetheless, results were overwhelming! 80% of players surveyed said they would favor a shot clock. The comments section was filled with suggestions of course and these will help shape the form of this new tool. Suggestions included expanding the clock to 45 or 60 seconds, issuing more time buttons, changing it on an all-in situation, etc.

During the same LAPC there was one tournament using a shot clock and there again the players reaction was very positive. The same can be said about the Aussie Millions High Roller played earlier this year.

Slow poker is almost over, thanks to organizers everywhere, and especially the WPT crew, and of course to the players who have been complaining for a long time now. Under the dynamic Matt Savage, WPT Tournament Director, I'm sure the changes will be smooth and lead the way to faster poker everywhere.

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