I asked my husband, Jim “Pocket Bullets” Paris, if there’s a time limit on the players’ action in his weekly poker game. He said no, unless someone is obviously wasting time on every hand, but that rarely happens.
But time has definitely been a factor on the professional circuit and stalling has become a concern recently in live tournaments, notably the World Series Of Poker. When a player takes too long to act, the game slows down, and with many of the coveted audience of millennials and GenZ’ers already thinking that poker is too slow to interest them, that’s NOT a good thing.
So, to pick up the pace to appeal to a broader audience, similar to the concept behind the Global Poker League (and by the way, where are you Alex Dreyfus?) and partially in response to the controversial slow-betting ‘speech play” of William Kassouf in last year’s WSOP Main Event, we saw a new clock rule at this year’s WSOP.
The two-minute rule was eliminated. (The old rule was that someone could call the clock after a “reasonable amount of time, which was actually two minutes. Then the dealer had to call for the floor manager. The floor manager slowly responded, walking over to ask the dealer if the player had a “reasonable amount of time.” If he answered yes, the floor manager gave the player another minute to make a decision on his hand!) That’s some serious time-wasting!
The new WSOP rule isn’t a great improvement. Now, players can call the clock whenever they want to. The same process occurs between the dealer and floor manager. The floor manager can then give the player anywhere between 0 and 30 seconds to make a decision.
Some of the older, iconic players love the clock. In fact, Daniel Negreanu has stated that he doesn’t like playing games without a shot clock and has reduced his No-Limit Hold’Em schedule until the WSOP institutes one. He’s not alone; a vast majority of players like the shot clock, especially those who also play online and are accustomed to a much faster pace.
The World Poker Tour, however, has heard the message loud and clear. They have announced that the WPT will be using a 30-second Action Clock during all Main Tour events, to be utilized one full table off the money bubble and remain in play until the conclusion of the tournament. Players will be limited to 30 seconds for each action, but will also receive time extension chips for use during difficult moments in the later stages of the tournament.
As Matt Savage, WPT Executive Tour Director, stated, “The World Poker Tour is proud to be the first to implement the Action Clock across its Main Events. He thinks that speeding up the game is a no-brainer.