Sunday, January 19, 2014

Time for Poker to Call the Clock on Everyone

     One of the the common issues over the past few years, and certainly getting worse, is the amount of time some players take to make decisions.  It's a huge problem, and seems to run rampant ever since Tom "Durrrr" Dwan got famous on televised poker.  And yet, that is likely one of the things that hurts televised poker events the most.

"Something to prevent SLOW PLAY! IMO slow play is the #1 issue for the games future as it not only destroys structures but also takes a lot of the enjoyment out of the game for people which is terrible."

     Online players, are capable of playing up to 24 tables at once, making decisions at each in far less than 30 secs.  Even *I* was able to do this, and although I have been in the video game world for years, I am no spring chicken!  Now some would argue that your win rate drops with this many tables and playing fewer will generate a higher level of play and bb/100 (big blind per 100 hands).  And I do agree, as my win rate was dropping down to break even (or rakeback pro) the closer I got to 24 tables, but this is STILL light years faster than live tournaments.  Even those multi-tabling SNG's or MTT's are usually playing 4 to 12 tables at one time.

     Compare this to your live tournaments, where some players are taking up to 6 mins when tanking over tough decisions, and even taking more than a minute for EVERY decision.  At. One. Table! This creates a couple of problems.

     One problem, is the amount of time given per level determines the amount of play in the tournament structure.  The more time a player takes relative to the other tables, the less hands that table gets to play in relation to the rest of the tables.  This reduces the amount of hands you get to play in the tournament, which has a direct effect on using skill to overcome luck.  Most players would prefer to the ability to use this edge, especially those who play the circuits on a regular basis.

     Another problem, and the more obvious one, is the "watchability" of a poker tournament.  The slower the game moves, the worse it is to watch.  If players are not taking forever with each decision, then televised poker becomes more attractive to the viewing public, and therefore the sponsors that come with that viewer consumption.  I am a diehard poker fan, who watched a full week of EPT live streams in the form of the PCA broadcasts, and even someone like me, would LOVE to see a Time Clock implemented to fairly encourage everyone to move the game along.  In fact, I don't think I've heard of anyone who disagrees that a time clock would be a bad idea.  If you disagree, please feel free to comment below, or tweet at me @TheWookieWay

     My suggestion is to call the clock on EVERYONE!  Some standard default of 1 min, before auto clock called, and you have 30 secs (or maybe even 20).  I like the idea of a Time Bank, so the quicker you go, the more time you have when you really need it, but that might be a logistic problem compared to online play for now.  And these are details that can be worked out over time, after the initial time clock idea has time to sink in with all the live players, most of whom already play online.  So I'll bet, it will be a quick adjustment to the majority of players.

     After all, some of aren't getting any younger, you know??

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