Shot Clock, Big Blind Ante Coming to 2018 WSOP in Limited Trial

 Shot Clock, Big Blind Ante Coming to 2018 WSOP in Limited Trial

The World Series of Poker announced a couple of procedural additions to the 2018 WSOP: a shot clock and a big blind ante. WSOP social media manager Kevin Mathers originally tweeted that the shot clock would be for the $ 1 million Big One for One Drop event, though a few minutes later, the official WSOP Twitter account clarified that the shot clock will be implemented in $ 50,000 and $ 100,000 buy-in events, as well.

A poker shot clock has become more popular in recent years as players have pushed for faster pace of play in tournaments. Nobody begrudges another player for taking time to consider a tough or important decision, but what people don’t like is multi-minute tanking or unnecessarily long thought processes for actions that should be relatively straight forward. As such, like we see in online poker, the WSOP will put a timer on players, limiting how long they can consider their actions.

The World Poker Tour introduced the Action Clock last year, which is implemented when a tournament is one table away from the money bubble. The Action Clock gives players 30 seconds to act before being forced to check or fold. All players receive a limited number of time extension chips that provide an additional 30 seconds if needed.

The World Series of Poker has not provided details of exactly how the shot clock will work, but obviously will give more information as the WSOP draws nearer.

The big blind ante is also a potential time saver. This feature is simple: when the tournament reaches the point where antes are required the big blind pays all of the antes for the table instead of having each player pay their own individually.

What this does is help avoid situations where players forget to ante-up and then have to be reminded to do so or, importantly, situations where there is confusion as to whether or not everyone has paid their ante. In those cases, there can be arguments and time wasted while things get sorted out. The big blind ante just makes things easier.

The reason these things are only being introduced during high roller-type tournaments is likely for testing reasons. These are things that can really only be tested in live tournament conditions, but it is risky to roll them out to the entire WSOP right away. The shot clock and big blind ante aren’t absolutely necessary additions, so there is no rush for a wide introduction. Test them out in smaller-field events, so how everything goes, and then make plans for next year.

Last year, the World Series of Poker announced rule changes in May. We don’t know if that’s when rule changes will be announced this year, but it was just about three weeks from the start of the WSOP, so we’re guessing the time frame will be similar in 2018. It is at that time that would expect the full shot clock and big blind ante rules to be made public.

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