The Shot Clock Debate

The contentious issue of players taking too long to make their decisions in live tournaments has again reared its head recently, with many players now calling for some form of shot clock to speed up the whole process.

The debate was re-opened a few days ago when Daniel Negreanu tweeted that “Poker really needs to make use of some kind of shot clock. The situation has become silly now with just how long it takes for a hand to be completed, often in situations when they really needn’t be”. This of course led to a flurry of replies from other pros putting their opinion on the topic.

Tom Dwan even admitted his own guilt at “tanking” in hands and even claimed to be partly responsible for the whole recent epidemic of it. He tweeted “oh and by the way I do agree that I might have caused many people taking so long (though it would have happened anyway, just probably a few years later), but I think lots of players now approach it”.

Many players agree that Dwan takes far too long to play his hands with Doyle Brunson once saying that the young pro was one of the slowest poker players that he had ever played against.

Dwan’s tweet regarding how he feels that he started the trend of which other players are now following him on did seem to rub one or two of the other players up the wrong way with one replying “ Tom Dwan, you are certainly giving yourself far too much credit”

Many players feel that the whole time issue is mainly down to “Hollywood” calls, where they are milking the attention of everybody, especially in televised games.

Despite whether or not Dwan is responsible for all of this, this is a debate that is going to keep running. Many players feel that a shot clock much like the ones used in online poker would ensure that each game is timed in an efficient manner. In this scenario any player that is timed out would be out of the hand and would lose all staked chips.

The main bone of contention though is that the live game is a completely different kettle of fish compared to online play. Many top pros take long because they are trying to evaluate an opponent’s tells. Although experienced pros like Brunson and Negreanu may be able to make their calls quickly, other players are not as experienced or as skilled as them to be able to do so.

Only time will tell if we will ever see shot clocks in live events.