The Slowest Player in Poker?6 years ago
There’s always one at every poker table. Whether it’s the guy who can’t stop talking, the guy who always has to explain why everyone else is so bad, the guy who always throws his cards at the dealer, or the guy who takes forever on every decision.
This last one is young US pro Jordan Cristos, and he’s been ruffling feathers again at the WSOP by taking at least 15 seconds on every single decision! His horribly slow play has drawn criticism before, from Daniel Negreanu no less, but this time it was Chris Klodnicki who took Cristos to task.
"You gotta do us a favor," Klodnicki said to Cristos, asking him to speed up his play. "You take 15 seconds every single time," talking about his preflop decisions.
Cristos, who has defended his slow play on many occasions did so again, replying:
I get 15 seconds in a $50 online tournament - this is the Main Event."
I'm just saying," Klodnicki continued. "You have to speed up your preflop actions. Otherwise, when you're in a big hand and you actually do need to think, I'm going to clock you after 15 seconds."
And that’s exactly what happened on the very next hand as, according to the WSOP report:
The two continue to pass the conversation back and forth as the next hand is dealt out. It comes to Cristos, and he pauses briefly after checking his cards. Klodnicki is clearly uncomfortable as he watches Cristos operate, and he bites his tongue for just a few seconds before he can't help it anymore. "Clock," he says after maybe 15 seconds."
At this point the floor was called over and explained that he’d already spoken to Cristos about this previously in the session, telling the Californian pro:
If I have to keep coming over here, you're going to keep having your clock reduced, all the way down to zero. And then when I have to come over again, your hand is just dead."
With most of the table supporting Klodnicki, it didn’t take long before the tense atmosphere became a little nastier. Cristos asked for a second opinion, and as the two floormen began discussing the matter the next hand witnessed a similar pause from Cristos.
See, that thing you're doing right there," Klodnicki started, "Squeezing your cards like that. What's going through your head? Are you trying to figure out how much to raise? What could you possibly be doing?"
By this time Cristos had decided to fight back, sarcastically replying:
I would be frustrated if I was sitting here watching me win all the pots and stuff, too."
"You're unbearably slow. You're affecting the game in a negative way," said Klodnicki, exactly the charge laid at Cristos’ door by Daniel Negreanu last year after a Twitter spat erupted over his ‘tanking’ on every hand.
"I'm not gonna change - I'm going to take ten or fifteen seconds preflop. This is the Main Event," said a stubborn Cristos.
"I was trying to be respectful about it, but..." Klodnicki said, perhaps realising he was getting nowhere.
"You tried to be respectful about it in a dick way," retorted Cristos, to which Kodnicki admitted, "I've definitely been a jerk about it in the past, but I feel like some of these decisions are pretty basic."
"You might be a poker genius. I might be a complete moron," said Cristos ending the conversation for now at least. "But for me they're not basic. Ever."
Some people gain a reputation based on one incident, perhaps unfairly carrying the weight of that through the years. Cristos, however, is not in this boat. He has consistently refused to change his ways.
Some of his tweets last year appeared in an article by Daniel Negreanu on Fullcontactpoker, where the Canadian disagreed entirely with Cristos’ behaviour and defense of his behaviour.
DarryllFish RealKidPoker SavagePoker I acknowledge a lot of peers/elites disagree with me but that won't change who I am or how I operate,” tweeted Cristos, as well as “SavagePoker poker is a game of patience and I'm fine with making k's while they complain. #goodformygame #cameforme #tankingchangedmylife.”
Negreanu, who is always happy to publicly discuss disagreements and give his own view on poker matters wrote:
Got it, you came for you. Got it, you see it as good for your game. Got it, you are gonna do you and not change at the community's request. Fair enough,” he continued, “but later you claim that we should all "respect the game and respect your tanks," but if you are unwilling to respect the structure and the other players, why would that warrant us respecting the fact that you are sabotaging the structures for the rest of us?”
Cristos, as you’ve probably realized by now, also has no problem with defending his position publicly, tweeting:
RealKidPoker DarryllFish SavagePoker Ive never clocked anyone in my life cause I respect the community and the game. Get off ur horse KP.”
I clock people because I actually DO respect the community and the game!” Negreanu wrote in his piece. “You came for YOU, remember? You are focusing solely on what you think is best for you, and despite the community telling you that you are being excessive with your tanking, you ignore their pleas to have you act more quickly.”
Not pulling any punches, he continued:
You have every right to do that. It's extremely selfish and shortsighted, but for now, you have that right as we don't have a shot clock in poker.”
Another of Christos’ tweets which Negreanu took issue with read:
RealKidPoker DarryllFish SavagePoker so much hate for thinking thru decisions like everyone does when it's crucial. I don't get it.”
Negreanu, naturally, was only too happy to clarify things.
Let me try and explain it for you,” he began. “No one is saying that it's inappropriate to take your time when decisions are crucial. However, when you are under the gun, first to act, and go into the tank, most everyone agrees that this is crossing a line! When someone 4-bets you before the flop and you take more than 2 minutes to respond, most everyone agrees that this is excessive tanking.”
As with Klodnicki and most everyone else in the poker community, Negreanu states the obvious which either escapes or doesn’t fit in with Cristos’ egocentric view of poker.
We can all agree that there is a line somewhere,” he states. “If a player took 20 minutes per decision, I would imagine even Jordan Cristos would think that is crossing the line? So there is a line, there has to be, and the vast majority in the poker community that Jordan Cristos claims to respect think he is crossing it far too often. He claims he isn't going to change. He has that right, but no sir, that will not earn the respect of the community.”
I have no problem with you personally,” wrote Negreanu, adding, “you seem like a really nice kid. Having said that, I vehemently disagree with it being OK for you to consistently take as much time as you wish to make decisions. In the future, when I call the clock on you repeatedly, it isn't personal. I'm just doing what's best for me, the structure, the other players at the table, the poker community, the broadcast, the fans, and ultimately YOU.”
Cristos is not alone in the poker community when it comes to slow play. Byron Kaverman apparently holds the title of most-annoyingly slow player among the top pros, but it is Cristos who will now face the wrath of the WSOP and fellow players for this latest public spat.
So readers, what do you think? Should players be allowed to take as long as they want for every decision? Should Cristos be penalized for continued slow play? Should a shot-clock be introduced as they did at the Super High Roller Bowl recently? Answers in the comments section below please!
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