WPT Tournament of Champions to Implement Shot Clock

 WPT Tournament of Champions to Implement Shot Clock

The World Poker Tour (WPT) Season XIV is coming to an end, but with that end comes the beginning of a tweak to the way major tournaments might be run in the future. Today, famed tournament director Matt Savage announced via Twitter that the season-concluding WPT Tournament of Champions will institute a “shot clock,” limiting the time players will have to make decisions.

The “Action Clock,” as it is called, will be controlled by the table’s dealer and will start as soon as the last card is dealt during the pre-flop round. Each time a player folds, the clock will be reset and start over.

If a player bets or raises pre-flop, the clock will not be started on the next player until the dealer counts the bet and announces its amount. If a player simply calls a bet, an action that would not require additional information from the dealer, the clock will begin immediately for the next player.

In a separate rules sheet specific to the WPT Tournament of Champions, it is stated that the Action Clock will be 30 seconds. Dealers will give players a 10-second warning; if a player does not act before the Action Clock expires, his hand will be folded if facing a bet or simply checked if not facing a bet, similar to how it works in online poker games. In a case where the player’s action is made exactly when the Action Clock expires, the player will be given the benefit of the doubt.

Also reminiscent of online poker, every player will be given a “time bank” of sorts in the form of “extension chips.” Four extension chips will be made available to each player and can be used at any time during the day – even multiple times in the same hand – to provide an extra 30 seconds to act. Extension chips do not carry over to the next day. Those who make the six-handed final table will receive four extension chips, but these do not stack on top of any chips left over from the previous day.

So far, this Action Clock has generally been well-received by the poker community. One of the biggest complaints tournament players have is how long players are allowed to “tank,” or ponder their decisions at the table. It is accepted that players have the right to think long and hard about major decisions such as whether or not to call an all-in on the river, but some players have reputations for tanking on virtually every action, even if it is a simple bet/fold pre-flop. For many, suffering through opponents’ constant tanking makes tournament poker unenjoyable. A shot clock is a welcome addition for many.

The WPT Tournament of Champions begins April 22nd at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, replacing the traditional WPT World Championship. Rather than being an open tournament, it is an invitational, with only past WPT title winners eligible to pay the $ 15,000 buy-in to participate.

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