The World Poker Tour’s (WPT) latest season will feature a new event, the WPT Tournament of Champions. This event will have all the WTP main event champions from this season along with WPT “Champions Club” members who have won main events in previous seasons. The tournament stars on April 22 and promises to be a big attraction given the abundance of high-ranking players in the event.
The WPT Tournament of Champions is making news due to it being the first major WPT event to use a 30-second shot clock. This is basically a 30-second time extension a player can use at any time. The player would be given five such 30-second extensions before the finals and four-30 seconds extensions in the final. This is in addition to the introduction of the ‘Action clock’ which puts a time limit on the players’ reaction.
The decision to include the 30-second shot clock has been met with mixed reactions. Live Poker on television used to be a pretty mundane affair with many complaining over the fact that players take a long time before making a move. These intervals taken by players are known as ‘tanking’ in poker parlance and have been cited as one of the major roadblocks for wider Poker viewership on television.
The WPT has decided to speed up the action and reduce the tanking time while at the same time giving players an option to extend their tanking time by 30 seconds. These changes are pretty similar to the changes made to chess in order to make the game more viewer friendly. The 30-second extension also adds a strategic element to the game which might make the action even more interesting for the viewers.
WPT Executive tour director Matt Savage has contemplated making this change for a long time but has been hesitant as he knew it would bring mix reactions from players. He conducted a survey back in 2014 during the 2014 WPT L.A. Poker Classic main event to see how many players would be in favor of using a stop clock. More than eighty percent of players surveyed had no problems in using a stop clock.
Daniel Negreanu, considered by many to be the great poker player of this generation wants the stop clock to be implemented. In a statement, Negreanu said “Without significant rule changes I’m concerned live poker on TV may do more harm than good. So many people are turned off by the slow pace of play.”