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Poker "Shot Clock" Debated

Poker players taking too long to make decisions in live tournament action and whether the institution of some sort of poker “shot clock” would improve the game has long been an issue for tournament players.

The matter came up again in recent days when Daniel Negreanu tweeted that “Poker needs a shot clock of some kind. It’s become silly at this point how long each hand takes, often in mundane situations.” This prompted other pros to weigh in on the debate, with Tow Dwan admitting his guilt in “tanking” and also taking responsibility for what many view as an epidemic, CardPlayer reported.

“O and btw I agree that I sorta caused ppl taking so long (woulda happened anyway but maybe few yrs later),” Dwan tweeted. “But I think lots now approach it.”

Dwan’s admission of taking his sweet time to make decisions coincided with what Doyle Brunson said of the young poker pro, stating that Dwan was“one of the slowest players [he] had ever played with.” But Dwan believing that he was responsible for other players taking too long to call, raise or fold seemingly rubbed a few other players the wrong way. “Tom Dwan you’re giving yourself WAY too much credit,” tweeted whitespur.

Whether or not Dwan is at fault, the debate will surely continue. The time clock used in online poker for each player to make a decision before being timed out does do a lot to keep the game moving along. Whether such a clock would be feasible in live action remains to be seen. As players know all too well, the live game is much different and players taking excessive time to make decisions are often evaluating possible tells from their opponents.

Another factor to consider is that the the level of play of a Negreanu or Brunson is sometimes well beyond that of their competition at the table, so the decision-making process comes a bit easier to them. In any event, unless someone can conceive of a solution to use a timer or shot clock in live tournaments similar to online poker action, tanking will remain part of the live game.

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Charles Rettmuller

Charles has been an avid poker player for a number of years, both live and online. He holds a degree in journalism and previously worked as a reporter for a Chicago-based newspaper. Charles joined the PokerUpdate team in early 2012 and writes daily news articles for the site.