Last year the WPT introduced an action clock for its Tournament of Champions. This new addition to the game was welcomed by many players tired of suffering through tables with a habitual slow player. Before finalizing their decision to use the clock, the WPT took a live poll of players at a different event to get their thoughts on the idea. When introduced to the concept of a 30 second action clock (sometimes referred to as a shot clock), 80% of players were in favor. Reviews of the clock after the TOC were generally positive, with players welcoming the way that it sped up play. However, a few players did feel that the addition of the clock distracted them from making optimal decisions.

Then came the 2016 WSOP Main Event. We all know by now the annoyance that William Kassouf’s slow play inflicted on his tablemates. In addition to his ubiquitous speech play, Kassouf made a habit of waiting 20 or 30 seconds before he even looked at his hand. He also often took an agonizingly long time to fold even the most trashy of his holdings. Players who had the misfortune of finding themselves on his table would have likely paid good money to introduce an action clock right there and then.

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Surprisingly, the action clock has not yet received wide acceptance. It has been used only occasionally since its introduction. A shot clock popped up at the Pokerstars Bahamas $25k event and, most recently, this month at the LA Poker Classic Heads Up event. However, use of the clock is still the exception rather than the norm.

Personally, I’m a big fan of the action clock. I would love to see widespread use of a shot clock, all the way from the WSOP down to my local cardroom. My regular weekly tournament would be greatly enhanced by the ability to move the game along when the drunk kid at the other end of the table takes 5 minutes to decide whether he’s going to fold his 2-5s. And heck, why limit the action clock to tournament play? Let’s put one right next to the card shuffler in cash tables and keep the action moving there too. If a simple device can bring an end to stalling and excessive tanking, everybody wins.


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