Posts Tagged ‘Shot’

Shot Clock, Big Blind Ante Coming to 2018 WSOP in Limited Trial

 Shot Clock, Big Blind Ante Coming to 2018 WSOP in Limited Trial

The World Series of Poker announced a couple of procedural additions to the 2018 WSOP: a shot clock and a big blind ante. WSOP social media manager Kevin Mathers originally tweeted that the shot clock would be for the $ 1 million Big One for One Drop event, though a few minutes later, the official WSOP Twitter account clarified that the shot clock will be implemented in $ 50,000 and $ 100,000 buy-in events, as well.

A poker shot clock has become more popular in recent years as players have pushed for faster pace of play in tournaments. Nobody begrudges another player for taking time to consider a tough or important decision, but what people don’t like is multi-minute tanking or unnecessarily long thought processes for actions that should be relatively straight forward. As such, like we see in online poker, the WSOP will put a timer on players, limiting how long they can consider their actions.

The World Poker Tour introduced the Action Clock last year, which is implemented when a tournament is one table away from the money bubble. The Action Clock gives players 30 seconds to act before being forced to check or fold. All players receive a limited number of time extension chips that provide an additional 30 seconds if needed.

The World Series of Poker has not provided details of exactly how the shot clock will work, but obviously will give more information as the WSOP draws nearer.

The big blind ante is also a potential time saver. This feature is simple: when the tournament reaches the point where antes are required the big blind pays all of the antes for the table instead of having each player pay their own individually.

What this does is help avoid situations where players forget to ante-up and then have to be reminded to do so or, importantly, situations where there is confusion as to whether or not everyone has paid their ante. In those cases, there can be arguments and time wasted while things get sorted out. The big blind ante just makes things easier.

The reason these things are only being introduced during high roller-type tournaments is likely for testing reasons. These are things that can really only be tested in live tournament conditions, but it is risky to roll them out to the entire WSOP right away. The shot clock and big blind ante aren’t absolutely necessary additions, so there is no rush for a wide introduction. Test them out in smaller-field events, so how everything goes, and then make plans for next year.

Last year, the World Series of Poker announced rule changes in May. We don’t know if that’s when rule changes will be announced this year, but it was just about three weeks from the start of the WSOP, so we’re guessing the time frame will be similar in 2018. It is at that time that would expect the full shot clock and big blind ante rules to be made public.

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New Hampshire Online Gambling Bill Quickly Shot Down

 New Hampshire Online Gambling Bill Quickly Shot Down

Two weeks ago, I wrote an article titled, “New Hampshire Online Gambling Bill in Play.” Well, it isn’t anymore. Halloween was truly a day to realize our fears, as in an Executive Session, the New Hampshire House Ways and Means Committee unanimously struck down HB 562, a bill which have legalized online gambling in the state.

This wasn’t entirely unexpected, as it was probably a longshot that the bill would pass, but seeing it demolished so definitively is a bit eyebrow-raising.

HB 562 was originally introduced on January 5th and quickly referred to the House Ways and Means Committee. It had a public hearing and then an Executive Session (essentially a committee meeting to deliberate the bill) in February, but that was it.

All of a sudden in mid-October, though, a new Executive Session was scheduled for the bill. At the end of the session, the committee members would submit a report to the Clerk of the House denoting “Ought to pass,” “Ought to pass as amended,” “Inexpedient to legislate,” “Refer to interim study,” or “Re-refer to Committee.”

The first two options were the good ones, the third – Inexpedient to legislate – the very bad one. And guess what was submitted to the Clerk by a 23-0 count? Yup. The baddie. Online gambling is now dead in New Hampshire until next year.

Even had the bill passed committee and eventually made headway on the floor of the House or even the Senate, regulations still needed to be hashed out. HB 562 was really just a skeleton bill with the majority of the text in just one paragraph:

This bill exempts gambling done over the Internet from gambling offenses under RSA 647. The Department of Justice to date has neither investigated nor prosecuted online gaming offenses and therefore does not expect this bill to have any impact on expenditures. To the extent this bill legalizes a form of gambling, it may have an indeterminable impact on lottery and charitable gaming revenue. Lottery and charitable gaming revenue is credited to the lottery fund, with net revenues after Lottery Commission expenditures being credited to the state education trust fund.

Going back a few paragraphs, I should amend my statement that “Online gambling is now dead in New Hampshire until next year.”

That is not exactly true. Online poker and casino games are, but in July, the state legislature passed a bill to permit online lottery ticket sales. No tickets have been sold over the internet yet, but they will start early next year. An optimist might think that if online lottery sales do well and the lottery commission is successful with its regulation of them that it might make lawmakers more confident that online poker regulations could work.

New Hampshire would certainly have to form an internet gaming compact with other states if online poker even becomes legalized, though. With an estimated 1.3 million residents, it is less than half the size of Nevada, which can barely support one online poker room. New Jersey recently decided to merge player pools with Nevada and Delaware and Pennsylvania, which last week legalized online gambling, is expected to do the same. If online gambling ever becomes a reality in New Hampshire, the state would have to join forces with other states.

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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.

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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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