APPT Seoul: Tankers and stallers

You've probably heard us use phrases such as "in the tank" and "stalling" when we write up various hand histories at the tournaments we visit. Usually we try to provide some sort of adjective to help describe the situation to the readers at home when a player is taking a long time over his or her decision. While both terms describe the same action, they have very different meanings.

Players "in the tank" or the "think tank" probably have a tournament-changing decision that's causing them some headaches. We have no problem with players taking their time over the big decisions. The decisions that matter. We're playing for big money here, and you have every right to take your time when there's a big pot in the middle.

But when there's not a big pot, we highly recommend that you stay away from the tank. Otherwise you may experience the fury of your table mates, the tournament staff, or Lord help us, the poker media!


This lovely dealer is sick of waiting for you too...

It seems to be a growing trend, especially in Macau, for players to act slooooooowly in general. Sure, you can wait for your turn to act before you look at your cards that's fine, but for the love of God, be ready when it is your turn. How often do we see this scenario...

Preflop action folds to Mr.Time Waster. He's not paying attention so he needs to give the dealer the "Oh, is it on me?" look of approval before sitting up in his chair. He stops riffling chips and adds them neatly to his stack before bringing his two cards near each other. He'll shuffle one under the other for a moment or two as he looks around the table to get up to speed on what's happened in the hand so far. The action has folded to you sir! He forms a "V" with his hands to protect his holding and peels back the cards slowly one by one. Squeezing the life out of them in the hope for an ace, or at worst, a picture. The seconds tick by....ohhhh, shoot me now!

One table here at the APPT Seoul Main Event has just been given a firm warning by Danny McDonagh.

"The action has been very slow all day on this table," declared McDonagh. "Let's speed it up please!"

We watched on and observed a TD keeping an eagle eye on Masanori Ishihana in the four seat as time was called on Ishihana after a standard preflop raise and three-bet.

The act of "stalling" is something that we've seen time and time again in poker tournaments all around the world, but noticeably throughout Asia. It's the act of deliberately wasting time when you don't really have a decision to make. Usually it's more prevalent around the money bubble, but it can happen throughout a tournament for various reasons such as avoiding paying the blinds or maintaining a table image.

Ishihana is clearly not deliberately wasting time in order to reach the money. He's one of the big stacks in the room with a stack of over 230,000 and should cruise into the money with 37 players left and the top 28 being paid. But that KRW5,000,000 money bubble is certainly worth fighting for, so we expect to see more people stalling in the coming levels.

It may not be breaking the rules, but it's certainly bad etiquette, so let's try to speed it up!

@PokerStars in Seoul