Some of the most common complaints at live poker tournaments relate to the speed of play.  Some players take an extraordinary amount of time to act on their hand.  This creates slow play which results in frustration by the players and getting out fewer hands per level.  The way to solve the problem and make poker a much more pleasant experience (to say nothing of getting out a lot more hands per day) is to incorporate a ‘shot clock’.

 Is it good/bad for the WPT? 

Some of the WPT staff (Adam Pliska, Angelica Hael, myself, Vince Van Patten, Matt Savage, and Tony Dunst) have occasional dinner/meetings to openly discuss how we feel we can improve the World Poker Tour and make it a better experience for the players.  A discussion at recent meetings has been about possibly using a ‘shot clock’.  Is it good/bad for the WPT?  Good for TV?  Will players want it?  And how and when do we implement it into our tournaments?

Our Survey Says… 

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.

The Results Are In And…

I’m happy to announce that players voted approximately 80% to 20% in favor of the shot clock.  And there were many added suggestions that will certainly be considered (such as expanding the clock from 30 seconds to 45-60 seconds, issuing players more “Time Buttons” per day, having a 30 second clock until you reach the money & then go to a 60 second clock, automatically extending the shot clock to 60 seconds when a player is faced with an all-in decision, etc.).

As For Me… 

In case you don’t/didn’t know, I’ve long been in favor of a shot clock in poker and believe that it’s not a matter of “if” it’s going to happen, but “when”.  I also believe that ‘when’ it happens, everybody will be saying, “This is great!  Why didn’t we implement the shot clock ten years ago?”

Coming Soon?

“Thank You” to the WPT for putting the ‘shot clock’ proposal to a vote by the players, and a sincere tip of the hat to the players for their vote and suggestions.  I’m guessing/hoping you’ll see some type of ‘shot clock’ incorporated by the WPT for Season 13.  And I say, “HOORAY!”

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4 Comments

  1. Sean Jazayeri on

    I played in the LAPC shot clock tournament, and it was great. I also watched the Aussie Millions High Roller with the shot clock and it was great as well. I look forward to it

  2. Although I see the need for a time limit, I feel 30 seconds is a bit fast. I would agree with a 60 second one though. It would just feel a bit less rushed and appropriate for the time allowed.

  3. I hear the people calling for it. I don’t see the need. If it’s coming I won’t stand in the way. I would suggest how ever that it be not extended but suspended for all ins and when tournaments are in the money. If the suspension is abused allow players to call a clock as they do now.

  4. Jorge Barbosa on

    I honestly think that the sample size of your survey is still insufficient. Moreover, the context of the survey and who presented it could be affecting those, rather, restricted results. I am reserved on this issue and think that more feedback, and wider feedback, with better statistical balance, should be pursued before taking a very serious step down that rocky (perhaps) road….