Poker shot clocks have been a controversial topic over the last few years.
While few think they should be in every single event, many in the poker community have argued that having a set time limit for players would both speed up the sometimes glacial pace of play that occurs as players start to spend minutes on every decision, and that it could help make poker appear more like a sport on television.
Now, one major UK poker room has introduced a shot clock in tournament play, and the feedback seems to be mostly positive.
Dusk Till Dawn, probably the most famous poker room in the UK, added the shot clock to several weeknight tournaments recently. Players now have 20 seconds to make a decision before their hand will be declared dead, though they also have a single one-minute time bank that can be cashed in just in case they come a legitimately difficult decisions that they want to spend their time on.
Player Feedback Led to Shot Clock’s Introduction
The shot clock seems to have been introduced because of player feedback, as some patrons were unhappy about having to deal with opponents tanking for minutes at a time.
“We’re always listening to customer feedback and always act on it where possible, and it’s with great excitement I can confirm we will be using our Turbo ‘Shot Clock’ system in our weeknight comps at the club,” said Dusk till Dawn Club Director Simon Trumper.
There are a couple benefits to such a system. For one, it speeds up the general pace of play, which allows tournaments to finish faster: certainly something that appeals to casual players who would rather save a little time and get home earlier after a short nightly tournament.
But just as importantly, it allows more hands to be played on each blinds level, meaning that there’s more play to be had in the final stages of the tournaments, a welcome change for those used to seeing final tables turn into short-stacked shoving contests in many local, small buy-in events.
“This means you will get more play in the tournament at ‘the business’ end and hopefully speed things up for those of you who have work the following day,” Trumper said.
Global Poker Masters Will Feature Clock
This is far from the only time a shot clock has been implemented in poker, and there may be some more high-profile use of shot clocks in the near future. In the upcoming Global Poker Masters World Cup, a 30-second shot clock will be used at all times to keep the action going. This is part of Global Poker Index CEO Alex Dreyfus’ efforts to “sportify” poker.
The World Poker Tour (WPT) has also flirted with the idea of adding a shot clock to at least some of their events. In a recent interview, WPT President Adam Pliska told Lee Davy that the tour was hoping to at least give the shot clock a try once before the end of the current season.
About a year ago, commentator Mike Sexton predicted that it would be coming to the tour and elsewhere in the poker world soon, citing a survey of WPT players at one event that showed a full 80 percent would favor the introduction of a shot clock.