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  • WSOP Main Event Brings Up Poker Shot Clock Topic Again

    Monday, November 12th, 2012 by Ryan

In terms of both online and live poker, there have been things that have been tossed around as ideas to potentially help make the game of poker better as a whole. One thing that is currently popular in the online poker world, but isn’t currently operating in the live poker world is the poker “shot clock”. In online poker, after a player sits to think for a bit, the clock is turned on, and they have the option to be able to ask for extra time if they want to as well. Live poker doesn’t quite have anything like this, but after the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event’s final table was fully televised, the question has come up yet again. The tournament’s final table was a very exciting one though, and even as it drew a ton of interest, the poker fans out there constantly saw what they consider “tanking” by the players at the table. This has led to the question of the poker shot clock, and the debate will rise once again.

If you watched the Main Event, you saw that quite a few of the players were stuck sitting and thinking over those decisions for far longer than you could possibly imagine. After a while, ESPN would even bring up a clock to show how long the player had actually been waiting for. At one point during the play, Daniel Negreanu sent out a tweet stating that “If there was any doubt about the need for a clock in poker, this (the Main Event play) is Exhibit A. This is painstakingly tilting for casual viewers.” While I do fully understand the fact that this was one of the biggest final tables in poker, and that these players were playing for over $8 million, it’s still slightly crazy to sit back and have to wait that long to see a call or fold.

There are quite a few questions that have come up about the potential of the poker shot clock, including things like how long the shot clock would run for, and also what tournaments would include this. Obviously those random tournaments throughout the world may not need a poker shot clock, but when you get to things like the big tournament such as the World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour, you’ll find that players are constantly left sitting and waiting, while the blinds slowly increase and begin to leave other players a bit on edge.

As far as the length of the potential shot clock goes, many people say that players actually know within about 15 to 30 seconds what they are going to do about the hand that’s in front of them. With that being said, I don’t think that the shot clock should be only 15 seconds though, and I think that it would have to be somewhere around 2-3 minutes more than likely. If you can’t make a decision within that time frame then there’s much more to worry about than the hand in front of you! If you do have the shot clock, you would need to have it run throughout the entire tournament, as I don’t think it’s really fair to have it just for a final table or any other way.

Currently in many tournaments you are actually able to call clock on the other players at the table during play if it is going too long, but obviously many people refuse to do this because they don’t want to be “that player”. The thing is, you have to remember that it is out of respect for fellow players that you wouldn’t call clock, and players should respect their opponents enough to not tank during those calls and run through the blind levels even faster.

This is a debate that will probably be ongoing until a final decision is made, but I do think that when all is said and done there’s a good chance that we could end up with a shot clock in poker. This is mainly due to the big time poker tournaments that get TV exposure such as the World Series of Poker, as the players have to sit and watch how long these decisions actually make during play.

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