Tuesday, October 08, 2013

The Poker Shot Clock (Again)

I think I’m turning into a night blogger.

Long ago -- back when I worked a full-time job every weekday -- I’d get up an hour or two early each day to write here. Then writing became the full-time job, although I’d usually still post here during the morning hours or at least by noon. Now I’m finding my days are too full of other obligations for me to get over here until the late afternoon or evening.

I don’t suppose it matters too greatly as time here on the internet tends to be reduced down to a kind of perpetual present, anyway, with nothing much seeming to matter except for what is happening right now or perhaps only just recently happened, in which case right now is filled up with everyone repeating to each other what just was.

Speaking of time and the seeming lack thereof, I was skimming through Two Plus Two a couple of days ago and saw how a thread started almost exactly one year ago titled “Should there be a ‘shot clock’ in live tournaments?” had gotten bumped to the front page once again in response to some of the WSOP Main Event coverage currently being shown on ESPN.

One of the posters embedded a hand from Day 4 involving Yevginiy Timoshenko and Adam Friedman in which Timoshenko took a long time (about two minutes, we’re told) to make a decision, during which time Norman Chad brought up the shot clock idea.

Last week I watched some of the broadcast and saw another hand from Day 6, kind of a memorable one involving Carlos Mortensen and Jorn Walthaus in which Mortensen folded on the river after having the clock called on him.

I say the hand was memorable because Jay “WhoJedi” Newnum was there taking photos for BLUFF, and he snapped a very cool picture of Mortensen tossing away his hand that revealed he was folding pocket kings (see left, click to enlarge). For more about that hand, check out this Betfair piece I wrote a while back describing the situation.

Both of those hands happened at the feature table, and as it happened both saw players not involved in the hands being the ones to call the clock.

I know there are some who are very much in favor of having some sort of shot clock in poker, but to me the current system almost always seems to be satisfactory with only occasional exceptions. It reminds me a lot of the current situation in Major League Baseball, perhaps because with the playoffs underway I’ve been paying a little more attention to baseball than I normally do.

In fact just today I was listening to the latest B.S. Report with Bill Simmons in which he had Bob Costas as a guest and among the topics they covered was the one about baseball games being too long and often unnecessarily drawn out by batters stepping out frequently and pitchers taking more and more time between pitches.

There, too, people will sometime argue in favor of a “shot clock” (or the equivalent). While I’m mostly a purist when it comes to baseball (including still being anti-DH), I could imagine something like that being put in place without too much of an intrusion. I don’t think I’d like to see the same become the norm in poker, though, not because I’m a purist but just because I think it would change the game too radically.

Anyhow, thanks for your patience today as I took most of the day before posting. And I appreciate no one calling the clock on me.

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Blogger Eddie said...

It should be like golf, where there are penalties if your group is taking too long. It's cumulative, so you can take time on tough decisions, and make up for it on easy ones.

10/09/2013 6:23 PM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Eddie, your comment about groups taking too long reminds me of Day 7 of this year's WSOP Main Event where I was assigned along with Donnie Peters to help cover the Secondary Feature Table for PokerNews.

There were 27 players left to start the day, so there were three tables altogether (the Main Feature, the Secondary Feature, and the Outer). We were doing hand-for-hand coverage, and so were numbering hands as we went. We were amazed at the end of the first two-hour level to discover that our table -- which included a few players who were especially deliberate with their actions -- had only played 30 hands total while the other two tables had played 48 (Main) and 55 (Outer)!

10/09/2013 7:22 PM  

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