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Coming soon to a poker table near you: the Poker Shot Clock

Have you ever played a game with friends – any game, really – where your friends took a ridiculously long time to make their move?

No wonder nobody likes to play Monopoly anymore – if you played by the official rules, the game would be over in an hour.  Web Watch witnessed a Bunko night where the “lead table” decided to stop rolling dice and have a conversation — the other three tables revolted and demanded that the round end after 10 minutes had passed.

Party poopers, it seems.

Poker Ace Portable Tournament Director Timer
Poker Ace Portable Tournament Director Timer

But there are some games – baseball comes to mind – that don’t have a time limit. They could go on and on forever, merely at the whim of the participants.

Poker is one of those games.  Some players enjoy “slow playing” a hand, taking their time to make a decision.  Slowing down the game on purpose can make all sorts of things happen — you could, for instance, slow play long enough for the Big Blinds to increase for the next player to the point where they automatically have to go all-in on the next round (as opposed to maybe having at least two chances to make a comeback run at it).

So that’s what MIKE SEXTON AND THE WORLD POKER TOUR (WPT) has been thinking about.  There has to be a way to speed up the game for all players, making it more fair across the board, and yet still keep some strategy in the mix to keep it honest and interesting.

That’s where they’ve drafted a proposed POKER SHOT CLOCK for use in future tournaments.  It’s not quite ready for primetime as of this writing, but the proposal looks pretty reasonable to us.  On the plus side, Mike and the WPT solicited feedback from players to ensure that they met everyone’s needs before continuing.

Here’s the base proposal:

  • Every player must act on their hand within 30 seconds.
  • If you don’t act within those 30 seconds, your hand is automatically folded for you
  • Every player will receive two “Extra Time” chips that can be played by being tossed into the pot before their 30 second clock ticks to zero.  Each chip will buy an additional 60 seconds when used.
  • When a chip is tossed into the pot, it gets returned to the house and taken out of commission for the rest of the game.  In other words, the winner of the pot does not win the Extra Time chips for their own later use.

It’s very similar to the Red Flags used in football for an Instant Replay review.  You have to give something to the player to indicate that they need more time, so why not make it a chip?

For us, the biggest pro is that it keeps the games moving super-fast.  The con?  The game will be moving super-fast for some people who aren’t ready to keep up.

Of course, if you’re playing in a WPT tournament, you better be at the top of the game anyway.  So why not put a professional spin on the game?

What do you think?  Is this something that should drift down to home poker games?  Leave your thoughts below: