One of the biggest talking points surrounding the last few World Series of Poker Main Event final tables has been the pace of play and the time it takes for players to make in-game decisions. This problem is not just isolated to the Main Event but throughout the entire poker world and this year, the WSOP has introduced a rule change designed to improve the pace of play and prevent habitual stalling in all events.
Rather than implementing a firm “shot clock,” something that has been done in events around the world over the last few years, the WSOP is instead taking a more situational approach. The rule on calling the clock has been revised and the main points are highlighted below:
Under the previous rule, players could only call the clock after a “reasonable amount of time” has passed. Two minutes was defined as a “reasonable amount of time” but that two-minute guideline has been removed. Now, players may call the clock at any point. This change will not only speed up the game but also prevent players from abusing situations in tournaments where stalling may occur based on pay jumps.
The new rule also allows floor personnel to initiate a clock and gives that floor person discretion on how much time the player will have to act on their hand. Players will be given anywhere from 0 to 30 seconds, plus a 10-second countdown.
Floor personnel also have discretion on initiating a clock when player requests the clock on another player, to prevent the abuse of calling the clock. Players who appear to be deliberately stalling the progress of the game or who frequently call for the clock unnecessarily will be subject to penalties as well.
While the biggest rule changes involve the elimination of the two-minute “reasonable amount of time” guideline and that floor personnel can now call the clock, the entire rule is intended to discourage stalling or taking an unreasonable amount of time for straightforward decisions. That is something that has been prevalent at major final tables and deep in major tournaments for the last few years and is generally perceived as a growing, negative trend in poker. This situational approach should do that and then some and the new clock rule will hit the felt later this month, when the World Series of Poker begins on May 31st.