WSOP Update Rules To Stop Players Unnecessarily Tanking

3 years ago
WSOP Update Rules To Stop Players Unnecessarily Tanking
11 May

Whether it’s watching poker on TV or being stuck in a tournament where the blinds are rising and you’re desperate to make a move, or even just playing for fun, there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to make your blood boil – players taking forever to make their play. The WSOP this year, however, has decided to crack down on the snails, and have introduced new rules on slow play!

Spurred on by repeated calls from the majority of poker players to deal with the antics of the likes of William Kassouf, the WSOP released a rules’ statement yesterday which explained their reasoning and the details of the new approach.

“WSOP is introducing a rule change designed to improve the pace of play and prevent habitual stalling, an issue that has gotten worse, in part perhaps because of the wording of our old rule. Rather than implementing a firm “shot clock,” we have opted to take a more situational approach and the rule on calling the clock has been revised.”

2 minutes too long?

The first change is to the ‘reasonable amount of time’ guideline which governed when a clock could be called on a player. Previously 2 minutes, that rule has now been changed to:

"Participants may now call the clock at any point if they feel a participant at the table is taking longer than is reasonable for the game situation."

Naturally, a rule has been put in place to deal to prevent abuse of such a flexible approach, with the WSOP stating that:

“If a participant requests a clock, floor persons have the right not to initiate a clock at that time, based on game situation. (This is intended to prevent abuse of calling the clock.) The floor person may then initiate a clock once he/she deems an appropriate amount of time has passed.”

0-30seconds in no time

The length of the clock when called on a player has also been changed, from the traditional 1 minute to a new, again more flexible, time.

“When a floor person initiates a clock, the participant will be given anywhere from 0 to 30 seconds, plus a 10-second countdown. The exact amount of time will be up to the discretion of the floor person.”

Slowcoach of the year award

The speed of play from some has been the cause of much resentment over the years, last year’s WSOP seeing a war of words develop between Jordan Cristos and Chris Klodnicki, the latter telling the young American pro "You're unbearably slow. You're affecting the game in a negative way," a charge also levelled at Cristos by Daniel Negreanu.

Yesterday Negreanu tweeted of the rule changes…

The new wording of rule 80 also allows for non-players to get involved if play grinds to a halt because of one players actions, the WSOP notes stating that:

“Floor persons have the authority to issue a clock without prompting from a participant.”

The WSOP approach is a measured affair, stopping short of the shot-clock which has been introduced at several big events over the last year or two, officials hoping that it will have the same effect but with more leeway for staff to work with.

The new rule 80 also seeks to take care of those who habitually or deliberately stall, and also those who “frequently call for a clock unnecessarily”, with the hope that players will be “respectful of opponents who are involved in a hand.”

The New Rule 80 in full:

Calling-for-clock: Once a reasonable amount of time has passed and a clock is called, Floor People, in their sole discretion, may give the participant an additional 0 up to 30 seconds to make a decision. If action has not been taken when prompted by the Floor Person, there will be a 10-second countdown followed by a declaration or stopwatch alarm. If a participant has not acted before the declaration or alarm sounds, the hand will be dead. Rio, in its sole and absolute discretion, reserves the right, at any time, to invoke a clock or speed up the amount of time allotted for a clock. Any participant intentionally stalling the progress of the game or unnecessarily calling the clock will incur a penalty in accordance with Rules 40, 113, and 114.

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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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