WPT Tournament of Champions unveils new shot clock rules

Many games and sports which grace our screens will have reached a point where the rules and presentation of major events have reached their pinnacle. Poker is not one of those games, and continues to evolve as it seeks to become more marketable. With poker players looking to gain any tiny advantage or physical tell by tanking for several minutes, and doing so frequently – the shot clock evolutionary step has finally arrived. The WPT Tournament of Champions is an invitational $15,000 buy in event, which is only open to former WPT champions.

The tournament is rake free, and will begin on April 22nd at the Seminole Hard Rock in Florida. The shot clock rules will be trialled in this event, and it is perhaps the ideal setting, as the organisers won’t have to worry about players staying away from the tournament through uncertainty about the rule change. It is a rake free event with an overlay, after all.

Poker goes on the clock

WPT announcer Mike Sexton has long been an advocate of the shot clock in poker, and will undoubtedly be pleased to see its introduction on April 22nd. He remarked: “In over 90 percent of the hands, you can make a decision within that time. It makes it more fun for players, the dealers and everybody watching.” The time limit involved is a fairly small window of 30 seconds, although players will have additional time bank chips (30 secs extra) that can be put to use in the event of a particularly tough decision.

These rule changes have been in the pipeline for some time when it comes to live poker, but the 2015 WSOP Main Event final table undoubtedly fuelled the decision to introduce them here. Having players take absurd amounts of time on the simplest of folds in poker’s showpiece annual event wasn’t just bad for audiences, it was bad for the game as a whole. An argument will be made by some players that “hollywooding” is a strategic part of the game, used to make their opponents uncomfortable or allow for them to pick up extra information. The answer to that argument is simple. Making poker unwatchable for the general public is very bad for the long term health of the game, so it simply must change.

Mike Sexton

Mike Sexton 

Added prizepool

The WPT Tournament of Champions will be a rare event in which there is a large overlay, with an additional $100,000 in the prize pool. In addition to that, Monster, who are the official suppliers of the headphones and speakers for the event, have added a 2016 Corvette to the prize pool too.

Article by Craig B.

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