2015 WSOP Main Event brings up Poker Shot Clock Again

by Jeremy Olson on November 12, 2015

There’s been plenty of discussion over the past few years about adding a shot clock to live poker tournaments. The idea is to prevent certain players from excessive tanking without making others look like jerks for calling the clock. Up until now, the shot-clock debate had largely gone away; but after the 2015 WSOP Main Event final table, it’s the game’s hottest topic.

We can thank Ofer Zvi Stern for this since he tanked forever on easy decisions in Day 1. Stern would later say that he wanted to be sure that he was making the correct decision with so much money on the line. But his long thought process ended up pissing off lots of players and Main Event viewers.

Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth, who both did November Nine commentary for ESPN, are both in agreement that something needs to be done to prevent such tanking in the future.

“We need to change the rules of poker; slow play should be warned and then penalized,” Hellmuth said.

Negreanu tweeted, “Without significant rule changes I’m concerned live poker on TV may do more harm than good.”

Usually when big-name pros like Negreanu and Hellmuth unify on an issue, something gets done about it. However, tournament director Jack Effel isn’t quite sold on the idea of a shot clock yet.

“The first thing that scares me when I think about the shot clock is that if you put someone on a shot clock, and everybody is on that same shot clock, then everybody is going to use that same amount of time before they act every single hand,” said Effel. “So that guy who may have folded in five or 10 seconds are now taking 30, and that might pose a problem. I don’t know how it would play out naturally. It would need some more R and D and some trial to see whether or not it would be good.”

While Effel certainly has a big say on whether or not the WSOP adds a shot clock, it appears that, following the 2015 Main Event final table, there are more people wanting this change than not.