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Marvin Rettenmaier – Why I’m Against Implementing A Shot Clock!

Posted by Marvin Rettenmaier & filed under Marvin Rettenmaier.

The WPT is thinking about implementing a shot clock, Mike Sexton wrote about favorably here and Lee Davy gave us his thoughts as well. The WPT ran a survey on it during the LA Poker Classic and the players voted 80% to 20% in favour of the shot clock, I’m in the 20%. People that I think are great for poker might be trying to do too much for the sport and are going for a revolution where there’s no change needed.

Don’t Get Me Wrong…

I’m not opposed to the shot clock because I take my time, I’m objective and if I’d think it improve the game of poker and it’d be against my personal interest I’d be in favour of it or at least I wouldn’t speak against it. But 30 seconds is not enough time, often counting out chips can take longer than that.

Ask Tom ‘durrrr’ Dwan

For instance at the Aussie Millions I played a hand against Tom ‘durrrr’ Dwan where I raised, he three-bet and the dealer then took 20 seconds to count out the chips after he three-bet. It would then give away the strength of my hand if I have to decide within a few seconds what I want to do.

So How Does This Make Poker Accessible?

We need to really ask what the goal of implementing a shot clock is. There has been a lot of talk about how we need to make poker more accessible and enjoyable for the amateur players rather than the pros. I think a shot clock would be detrimental to that goal.

Unlikely To Play Events

Paul Newey, who plays a lot of the High Roller events but is first and foremost a businessman, tweeted that he would stop playing events if they implemented a shot clock as he believed it only benefited experienced professional players.


So if a guy like Paul Newey, who has played a lot of Super High Rollers is considering not playing them anymore if they have a shot clock what do you think way less experienced amateurs are going to do?

This Could Easily Backfire

We’re putting up more barriers to poker with a shot clock, newcomers are already scared when they have to play in a live setting for the first time. Now you want to make it even harder by giving them time restrictions. I think 95% of poker players have realized that 30 seconds is not enough already. I’ve had people say to me that you should have something like one minute on the flop, two minutes on the turn and three minutes on the river. What’s going to change then exactly? No difference – you can call the clock if you wish to if people are tanking too much. There is also the phenomena of people using their rights. If you give somebody 30 seconds for a decision, he might take 30 seconds where otherwise he would have only taken 10.

How About Some Basic Manners?

Perhaps the real shift needs to be that it becomes more acceptable to call the clock earlier on opponents. I’ve had the clock called on me plenty of times and only a couple of times did I think it was out of line. An alternative would be an individual time bank as they have it in chess or online poker, but it still makes playing a poker tournament less attractive to an amateur.

Really Just Ask Yourself How Would You Feel?

I agree that poker should be fun to watch and I think that the people in charge are doing a great job at creating great poker shows. The WSOP Main Event final table is the only mainstream live broadcasted poker event and I don’t think you can blame people for taking a little more time on everyone’s most important poker day of their lives. How would you feel making a mistake that’d cost you a couple of million just because you didn’t take enough time or have enough time?

And I Hate To Say It But…

If the WPT do implement the shot clock and it fails I will be the guy saying, ‘I told you so!’ Even though a huge majority voted in favour of the shot clock but I don’t think players have really thought this through and are just thinking – yes, playing faster is awesome, let’s play more hands, but forget the greater spectrum and that it’s basically impossible to implement.

So what are your thoughts? Let me know below but don’t think about calling clock on me :)

  • A00465465 .

    I feel the players should be able to call the clock on an obsessive player who takes 30 seconds preflop. My suggestion is to have dealers set the countdown each time a clock is called. I would have a timer and weed out calling the floor over each time. This speeds the game up. Only down side is having players use this as an advantage. Overall the game is fine and can infact be fixed.

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