Thursday, November 10, 2011

Almost-Live Televised Poker and Play Clocks - A Match Made in Heaven?

There's been a lot of buzz about the "almost-live" WSOP final table and what came out of it. Personally, I was fascinated by it, and probably most hardcore fans and poker players were too. It did, however, go on for a very long time, and that led a lot of pundits to talk about the viability of such broadcasts going forward. In this week's 2+2 Pokercast, we talked about whether a casual fan of poker would have enjoyed the show or turned it off because they felt it was too long or slow-paced. Indeed it seems to be a common sentiment on Twitter that the broadcast was perhaps too dry for casual viewers, especially those used to seeing fast-paced, slickly-edited poker productions.

My aggressive, maybe even slightly insane solution? 60-second play clock on all postflop actions, and 30-second play clock on all preflop actions. The clock starts running from the time you're informed by the dealer of the bet size. Players would get one or more timeouts, maybe even as many as one per level, to tank on really monumental decisions or to draw out a read from an opponent.

Does it change the game quite dramatically? Yes, but obviously that ship has sailed long ago with both the creation of the November Nine a few years back and now every hand revealed on a 15-minute delay. This would be a less-significant strategy change than the revealed hole cards by a substantial margin.

And honestly, I think the majority of players -- and by this I mean across all players, not just pros -- would enjoy the pace of the game. Imagine if you never had to watch another guy tank for 4 minutes in a pot that doesn't involve you at all, ever again? I'd love it!

Let me hear your thoughts in the poll below or in the comments.

Would you support going to a play clock for major poker tournaments?


  1. I think you want your cart to pull your horse. TV coverage should document the game, not drive it.

  2. I think the last four years have demonstrated that the ship has loooooong sailed on that one, Patti.

  3. the 60 second rule would be a good idea even if the camera weren't there.

  4. I might be for it if they were given, maybe two-four times an hour, the ability to ask for time on a decision - because I can there being the occasional really tough decision, but not every decision should take a long time. And I don't know about those players, but a lot of the times when I "tank" I end up making a worse play that I would have otherwise because I end up over-thinking things or talking myself into a bad decision. Basically, if I stray from my original plan of how to play a hand, I am usually wrong - and when I stray it is usually because I tanked.