Posts Tagged ‘Clock’

World Poker Tour Changes Tournament Formats, Goes To “Shot Clock” For Events

 World Poker Tour Changes Tournament Formats, Goes To “Shot Clock” For Events

After experimenting with it during its closer of season event for the past two years, the World Poker Tour became the first tournament circuit to shift its tournaments to run on a “shot clock.” Furthermore, the Season XVI events will be played in an eight-handed format, a change from the nine or ten player tables of past years.

The World Poker Tour is proud to be the first to implement the Action Clock across all of its Main Tour events,” said Matt Savage, the WPT’s Executive Tour Director, during the announcement of the rule changes. “Many players, both recreational and professional, have expressed concerns that unnecessary tanking has taken a lot of the fun out of poker. Poker should always be fun, and it was a no-brainer decision to bring the Action Clock to all WPT Main Tour events following its success in the WPT Tournament of Champions and WPT500 Los Angeles. With the Action Clock, more action equals more fun, and who doesn’t want more fun in poker?”

The “Action Clock” will be sponsored by Protection Poker and it will be used at all future WPT Main Tour events. The rule will not be utilized for the entirety of the tournament, however. It will be implemented when the tournament reaches the last table before the money bubble pops and last until the end of the tournament. There are also extensive rules on the options the players will have in making their decisions.

Once the “Action Clock” is implemented, each player will be given four “time extension” chips that are of 30 second value each. The players can use those as they see fit – one at a time or all at once for a critical decision – and if they use them all, they’re gone…for a bit. When the tournament reaches three tables, the remaining players are reset to six “time extension” chips with the same rules in effect. When the six-player final table is determined, those players will receive eight “time extension” chips to go to war with.

“Protection Poker is pleased to expand its partnership with the World Poker Tour to bring the Action Clock to all WPT Main Tour events,” said Cavin Quintanilla, the Chief Executive Officer of Gaming Advancement Marketing Entertainment, LLC, the ownership behind Protection Poker. “The World Poker Tour is poker’s most player-friendly tour, and we look forward to players experiencing the ‘Action Clock’ on a global scale.”

This rule is only being applied to the players one table from the money, but another rule change being implemented by Savage could have even more of an effect on WPT events. Traditionally, the WPT starts at a nine-player table – the industry standard, for the most part – with an occasional step to a 10-player table should the tournament be bigger than normal. For Season XVI and moving forward, the WPT will be working with the casino properties that hold their events and change over to an eight-handed table.

The change to an eight-handed table versus a nine- or even ten-handed table is significant for a couple of reasons. First, the play will move around the table incrementally quicker for the players, perhaps forcing the action in places where it would normally have been more sedate. Second, the move will make for a more comfortable setting for the players, something that is more important than the public might think.

As stated by Savage, the “Action Clock” has been utilized at the WPT Tournament of Champions for its two-year history. The players in the event, former WPT champions all, have stated that its usage was excellent for those tournaments. Two-time WPT champion Daniel Negreanu has been a loud proponent of the usage of a “shot clock” in poker, saying that playing the Tournament of Champions and other “shot clock” events have spoiled him to the point that he doesn’t like playing No Limit Hold’em events without the device.

There are those who aren’t enamored with the idea, however. Some believe that having the “shot clock” will be detrimental to newcomers taking part in WPT events because of the added pressure. There is also the question of its implementation. Poker professional Ari Engel brought this point up (noting he has played in only three tournaments implementing the “shot clock”) in stating on Twitter, “Have not played many…but when I did the clock was not implemented universally fairly. Need A+ dealers for shot clock.”

No indication was given during the announcement that this is only a test period, so it appears that the “Action Clock” rule is now the norm with the WPT. Whether other circuits implement it remains to be seen.

Poker News Daily

WSOP Alters “Calling Clock” Rule

 WSOP Alters “Calling Clock” Rule

The World Series of Poker has implemented a new rule for 2017 regarding how things will be handled when a player wants to “call clock” on an opponent. For those of you who are new to poker, “calling clock” or “calling the clock” is a formal process by which a player asks that a floor person force another player to make a decision on a hand if that player has taken too long to act.

The tricky part about calling clock has always been that it is very subjective. Who is to say, exactly, if a person is taking too long or is stalling? In one hand, protracted thought may be appropriate while it is not in another. Maybe someone who looks like they are stalling is really thinking hard. And how much time should be given by the floor?

The changes are not really much more concrete than they were, but they do seem to take into account tournament situations and give the floor leeway.

Previously, the rule gave all players a “reasonable amount of time,” which was defined as at least two minutes, to act in a hand. If the clock is called, the player in question gets one minute more to act, the final ten seconds of which are counted down by the floor person. If the player still hasn’t acted, his hand is dead. The floor person could also shorten the time if it is deemed that the player is intentionally stalling.

Here is the new rule:

Once a reasonable amount of time has passed and a clock is called, Floor People, in their sole discretion, may give the participant an additional 0 up to 30 seconds to make a decision. If action has not been taken when prompted by the Floor Person, there will be a 10-second countdown followed by a declaration or stopwatch alarm. If a participant has not acted before the declaration or alarm sounds, the hand will be dead.  Rio, in its sole and absolute discretion, reserves the right, at any time, to invoke a clock or speed up the amount of time allotted for a clock. Any participant intentionally stalling the progress of the game or unnecessarily calling the clock will incur a penalty in accordance with Rules 40, 113, and 114.

As you can see, there is no two minute minimum applied to the “reasonable amount of time.” Additionally, the clock time is shortened from one minute to anywhere from zero to thirty seconds plus a ten second countdown.

The new rule also gives the Rio (and by extension, the floor person), the flexibility to call clock without a player asking for it.

One point of interest from the WSOP’s notes about the new rule is that the floor person can also decide to not start a clock on a player, even if someone at the table asked for one. There are plenty of situations where tanking for several minutes should be permitted and if an impatient player wants clock called, the floor can easily deny the request, ruling that the hand is a crucial one in a key spot in the tournament, so those involved should be granted all the time they need.

Poker News Daily

PokerStars Launches Beat the Clock Tourneys

 PokerStars Launches Beat the Clock Tourneys

PokerStars introduced a new game variation today and for once, it wasn’t a type of Spin & Go. In “Beat the Clock” games, it is not winning that matters (it still does, of course) as much as it is not getting eliminated.

That may sound like the same thing, so allow me to explain. PokerStars Beat the Clock games are one dollar, 48-player Sit-and-Go tournaments played with the fast fold, Zoom Poker format. As a reminder, that last part means that as soon as a player folds, he is taken to a different table to immediately play a new hand. In a large enough Zoom Poker cash game pool, this may mean that a player won’t see the same opponents for quite some time, but with a field of only 48, the same players will be facing each other over and over again.

The big catch in Beat the Clock, though, is that all games last five minutes, max. They could end before that if 47 players are eliminated, but even if multiple players are still alive, the tournament will end automatically after five minutes.

Anyone remaining at the tables when the five minutes are up will receive a cash prize based on how many chips they had at the buzzer. Let’s look at an example of how this works, straight from PokerStars:

Each tournament has 240,000 chips in play (starting stacks are 5,000 chips) and a total prize pool of $ 43.20 (10 cents of the dollar buy-in is removed as the tourney fee). If a player has 12,000 chips when the time runs out, that means he has 5 percent of the chips in play. Multiply that 5 percent by $ 43.20 and you get $ 2.16, which is the prize that player will receive.

Depending on how the math works out, some prizes could be rounded down to the nearest cent, but fear not – PokerStars isn’t taking that money in an Office Space-like scheme. The rounded-off pennies will be added to the winner’s cut.

At first glance, it looks like it could be possible to just fold one’s way to a profit, or at least play extremely tight, but that will probably be quite difficult. The tables in Beat the Clock tournaments are only four handed, so blinds will come around frequently. Blind levels are also only one minute long. Add in the Zoom Poker element and everyone will be involved in hands non-stop, making it extremely hard to just try to hang on and finish out the five minutes with chips.

At the same time, these could very well smooth out variance compared to regular Zoom Poker tournaments. The bigger wins might be harder to come by, but that will be evened out by more small cashes (even if they are for less money than the buy-in), rather than straight busts.

In a press release, Severin Rasset, Director of Poker Innovation and Operations at PokerStars said, “We are constantly looking to innovate at PokerStars and believe Beat The Clock is a great new addition to our poker offering. It’s the perfect format for those who want to fit in some quick, intense poker action and is ideal for mobile play, where, in just five minutes, players can experience all the emotions and excitement that only poker provides.”

Poker News Daily

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.

Poker News Daily



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