ANZPT Perth: The pressures of time

There's been a lot of talk in recent times about whether tournament poker should have a shot clock. Should players have a limited amount of time to make a decision in order to speed up the game? Or should they be allowed to take their time, considering we are playing for a rather large first-place prize of $114,000.

Well, we did just see one player use his maximum time allowance which made us ponder this very topic.

"I've never taken that long over a decision in my life," chirped Ivan Zalac just moments after being involved in a big hand. Unfortunately for the popular ANZPT personality, the pot had been sent the way of his opponent.


The board read 3♣A♦5♦J♠J♥ when Zalac's opponent bet 17,500 into the middle in an overbet of the pot. The decision had Zalac perplexed.

After a good five minutes of thought, the clock was called on Zalac and after one more minute had passed, his hand was declared dead.

"Did you bluff?" probed Zalac. "Your heart was pounding so big, I thought they were going to call an ambulance!"

It's the first time we've seen the clock called in this tournament, and when we look at the big screen and see just 58 players remaining, it's hard to understand why people feel the need to accelerate tournament poker by introducing a shot clock. Most players move thing along pretty quickly, but when there's a big decision, the players are well within their rights to take their time, as Zalac did in the above hand.

Thinking back to this event two years ago and I can remember how Grant Levy was able to pressure his opponents in some big, deep-stacked pots. Grant would take his time, with his experience proving too strong over younger opponents who couldn't stand the heat. Levy's victory was impressive and illustrates the importance of being allowed to use time to pressure opponents into making mistakes.


While the attrition rate in tournaments is so high, and players are playing with such complexity, then there's no need for a shot clock. Let's allow the psychological warfare unfold!


@PokerStars in Perth