Does Poker Need a Shot Clock?
I just read a short argument over on PokerNews.com regarding whether a shot clock would be good or bad for poker. The argument stems off of a couple of recent events.
First, the $250,000 Challenge at Aussie Million incorporated a shot clock during their event and it was deemed a success. Next, the World Poker Tour is considering whether to use a shot clock during their Main Event's.
If you would have asked me this question back in 2006 when I was playing semi-professionally, I would have told you "hell no." A shot clock was absolutely not necessary for the game and the person that came up with the idea did not understand poker.
Now, my opinion is vastly different. In recent year, there are way too many players taking excessive amounts of time for the simplest decisions. Heaven forbid they make a call in less than 10 seconds because they made an 8 second call at the WPT Transylvania and had the nuts, so they don't want an 8 second call to be associated with having the nuts. (I have heard stranger reasons for prolonged calls.)
While I do not agree that a shot clock should be used for every event, I think that a reasonable use of one during major tournaments is an acceptable measure to keep the game moving at a reasonable pace.
The method that Chad Holloway suggested in the PokerNews article is a fair model, but I don't necessarily agree with no shot clock on the final table.
With that said, this is my personal take on how a shot clock should be instituted:
Day 1 and Day 2 of an event - 30 second shot clock. In most cases, there is no real reason to have more time than this.
ITM - Once an event is in the money, extend the time limit to 60 seconds and continue this until the final table.
Final Table - Once the final table is reached, extend the shot clock to 2 minutes.
All-In Situations - It is my opinion that a player facing an all-in situation be allowed to have extra time. Essentially, double the time limit for a player to act. Day 1 and Day 2 would be one minute. In the money would be two minutes.
At the final table, the player can take all the time they need, but once 5 minutes has been exceeded a clock can be called.
I don't believe a shot clock is bad for poker. On the contrary, I think that it is something that will help speed up the game and reduce some of the hollywooding we are forced to endure.