PokerStars introduces Shot Clocks and Big Blind Antes at EPT Monte Carlo Main Event

PokerStars has released an announcement this week outlining plans for EPT Monte Carlo, which gets underway on April 24th. While the event itself is an exciting one on the calendar, there were interesting changes spoken of in the announcement which could go on to impact tournament games heavily in years to come.

Shot Clocks to be used in the EPT Monte Carlo Main Event

Shot clok PokerStars
Shot clock – Photo Long Guan Courtesy of PokeStars

One of the biggest problems tournament poker has faced in recent times has been the question of how to police time use by players. With blinds and player eliminations changing with the passage of time, and the spectre of timing tells spooking players into tanking at the table, poker by its very nature has always had a possible problem brewing in the background. It is only in recent years however, that players have started using large amounts of time on a consistent basis, damaging the flow of the game and amateur enjoyment in the process.

Shot clocks always seemed to be a logical route forward, and in the last year, they have been successfully implemented at several major live poker tournaments. While they may have been in an experimental phase and not in global widespread use at first, they are now becoming more common. This is highlighted by the fact that PokerStars has now announced that they will be a part of the 2018 EPT Monte Carlo Main Event starting from the start of Day 2

More: Can the introduction of a shot clock transform the game of poker for the better?

Big Blind Ante

Shot clocks appear to have largely solved the issue of excessive tanking by players, but what of natural processes in the game that slow things down and could feasibly be updated?

Enter the latest hot topic: big blind ante. Essentially, a big blind ante involves one seat at the table posting all the antes for the table, rather than individual players all taking up time while placing or sometimes forgetting to place this one small bet. This shift in ante placement has already been trialled in a few places, including the ARIA, who are credited with bringing the idea to the table.

According to this week’s announcement by PokerStars this latest change will be in effect, at all Holdem events at EPT Monte Carlo.

The new big blind ante system has been hailed as a great step forward by many players, but there are still some reservations hovering in the air. Short stacks may be heavily affected, and recreational players confused by the change. But, in many events, including this year’s WSOP both big blind ante and shot clock systems will be used in High Roller Events.

More: WSOP introduces the Big Blind Ante to speed up games

Tanking and time issues have plagued poker for years now, and while ideas that address these problems are certainly welcome, only time will tell if these ideas, once refined, are the best way forward.

Article by Craig Bradshaw