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The World Poker Tour will host its $15,000 buy-in Tournament of Champions live poker event beginning Friday, April 22nd, at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Florida.

Last month, WPT Executive Tour Director Matt Savage announced that the event will feature a 30-second Action Clock with a limited amount of extensions granted to each participant.

Savage, who has become the highest profile poker tournament director throughout the world in recent years, had the following to say when asked about the topic by PokerUpdate.

“After consulting with several WPT Champions Club members, the WPT Tournament of Champions will be played with the Action Clock created by Protection Poker. The addition of a 30-second shot clock will help ensure an efficient pace of play and inject an added level of strategy for the WPT Tournament of Champions.”

The incorporation of an Action Clock is currently a hot topic of discussion on the TwoPlusTwo News, Views & Gossip forum, with most contributing members posting positive feedback on the changes.

Read More: Here’s Why Most Major Tournaments Won’t Use a Shot Clock

Does Live Poker Action Require A Shot Clock?

Finding ways to make live poker action more viewer-friendly has been a fiercely debated issue for years, with many in the industry in favor of speeding up the action in major events.

Those of us who tuned in to the 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event November Nine telecast on ESPN couldn’t help but notice Zvi Stern‘s incessant slow pace, and the snail’s-pace play of 2013 WPT winner Jordan Cristos has been widely publicized.

Cristos, who has earned well over $2 million in combined career live and online poker tournament cashes, has consistently defended his playstyle — and is clearly against the shot clock incorporation. Results-based or not (I wouldn’t know since Cristos’ poker skill level is obviously light years ahead of my own), the former WPT winner offers a legitimate argument and the conclusion one can take from his social media posts is that he genuinely believes the time limit will affect his expectation.

Indeed, such a move by a major poker event host like the WPT does bring up the question as to how much leeway each poker tournament competitor is afforded in live events where rake is included as part of an entry fee.

However, the time-based rules at this year’s Tournament of Champions will be enforced upon all entrants — so it’s going to be interesting to watch how the action plays out starting next week. Viewers of the WPT Tournament of Champions cast can expect prominent face time for the Action Clock once the cards are in the air.

The attention span of your average viewer has been shortened in recent years, meaning a format in which there are more hands dealt and faster action may turn live poker into more compelling TV.

In this poker fan’s opinion, the new rule will come as a welcome change, but it likely won’t be without some initial hiccups. In today’s world of immediate social media feedback, established live poker pros will be quick to point out any shortcomings in the new setup that could potentially affect a player’s expectation, so there should be plenty of pros and cons brought forth as a result of the Season 14 WPT marquee event.

Will the incorporation of a 30-second Action Clock be good for live poker in the long run? Will time limits eventually become a mainstay at live events? Only time will tell.

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David Huber

David Huber has been involved in the poker industry for more than a decade: initially as a professional online poker player and later as an editor, consultant, writer, and forum manager. Known as "dhubermex" online, David's poker-related work has been heavily published across numerous websites since 2004.

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