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Mar 18, 2014

WPT gets Serious about Installing a Shot Clock - But is it a Good Idea?

By RTR Dennis

Shot Clock WPT Poker rakebac Rake The Rake

Shot Clock WPT Poker rakebac RakeTheRakeFor years, players have complained about tanking on the tournament circuit. Sure, there are plenty of tough decisions that require some extra time to sort through. But it's excruciating when a player constantly takes five minutes every turn just to muck terrible cards.

The World Poker Tour have thought long and hard about this issue, and they recently got the players' take on the matter. During the WPT L.A. Poker Classic, players were given surveys that asked if they think a tournament shot clock should be instated. Here are some of the proposals that the WPT listed with regard to their vision of the clock:

  • Each player has 30 seconds to act. If they fail to act within 30 seconds, their hand is dead.

  • Players can use a "Time Button" to get an extra 60 seconds. If they have more than one Time Button, they can use these consecutively during the same decision.

  • Players were asked if the clock should be used "In the Money," "Final Three Tables" or "Final Table Only."

An official announcement on the LAPC survey results has yet to be made. However, Mike Sexton did tweet that 80% of those who voted were in favor of the shot clock for Season XIII. So as you can see, the majority of players would rather have less time than risk waiting on serial tankers who act like folding 9-3(o) is a life-changing decision. But is this a good move for poker from an overall standpoint?

Shot clocks have been effectively used in online poker tournaments for years, with few complaints from anybody. Since most live tourney players are experienced in the online game, they shouldn't have too much difficulty making quick decisions. But then again, 30 seconds is pretty short for some decisions in the live game, especially when you're under the gun.

Two-time WPT champion Jonathan Little brought up another good point when he tweeted, "I think the whole shot clock idea is very shortsighted. The last thing you want is for amateurs to not play because they fear the clock @wpt." With poker doing so much to encourage more recreational player involvement these days, instating a hardline rule like a shot clock doesn't really back these efforts.

Perhaps the clock can work if it's milder than what was proposed on the survey. For example, a one or two-minute clock that's only used on the final three tables could be middle ground for everybody involved. And this would help cut down on some of the exhausting, marathon play that we see on the final table of major events.