Rant: Let’s Start Calling The Clock Quicker and More Frequently

If you're taking too much time on simple decisions, maybe poker isn't for you.

From the perspective of a live tournament reporter, your sanity very much depends on the cast of the final table.

What should be the climax of the competition always turns out to be the most turgid of anti-climaxes for the person paid to convey the hand-for-hand action at this most vital time.

The writer just wants the final table over and done with, so fast-paced loose aggressive players are on the order. Snails need to be fed to the French and the rocks need cracking.

Maybe Poker Isn't For You

Last week I was in South Africa working for the World Poker Tour (WPT) and as the action approached the final table there was one player in particular that I did not want to make the final cut.

Daniel Negreanu
Another big fan of keeping things moving.

This particular player had done nothing wrong. He was charming, amiable and seemed like an all round nice guy.

Unfortunately, for one reason or another, this player could not make a decision without spending at least two to three minutes in complete and utter stony silence.

Now I’m not talking major cliffhanging moments here. I am talking about insignificant pots that had this player won or lost them would contribute nothing to his success.

You may believe that every single decision is vital, and you would be correct, but there is a pecking order here. Taking your time to mull over a tournament-defining decision is acceptable. Doing it as part of your normal process is problematic.

And here’s why:

I believe it highlights a major leak in your game. One so big you had better find a different job.

Why Don't You Have Faith in Your Decisions?

One of the fastest poker players in the game is Alex Wice. The guy makes his moves faster than Road Runner eating seed.

Alex Wice
Wice: Blazing fast, but he trusts his decisions.

He is like lightning, and yet I believe he needs to slow down. I don’t believe he puts enough time and effort into his decisions.

But Wice has faith in his ability to make his decisions quickly and he is a smart cookie -- of that there is no doubt.

The players at the other end of the spectrum do not have faith in their decision-making process. If they did they would be quicker … a lot quicker.

So why don’t they have faith in their decisions? I have thought about this long and hard and it comes down to ability.

If you are still thinking about what to do in the face of a raise on the river and five minutes have gone by in a hand that will not touch your 100BB stack one way or another, then you need to find another hobby. This is not the one for you kid.

The Monkey is Sat

The monkey is sat inside your cranium crashing cymbals and that’s no good for you, it’s no good for your opponents and it’s no good for the game.

I also think it borders on a lack of respect. The other players around the table want to play. They shouldn’t have to wait for five minutes each time you face a raise.

Noah Boeken, Erik Cajelais, David Sands
If things are dragging, call the clock and don't stop calling the clock.

The players who put up with this nonsense are equally as culpable. I would call the clock each and every time this nonsense kicked in.

Learn from the passive player with the monkey in his head. This kid has skin like a rhino. The Tournament Director is falling asleep, the players have daggers in their eyes and the writers and photogs are about to commit Hara-kiri, and yet this player doesn’t care … so neither should you.

Let’s send these players who dwell right down to hell. I am calling all of you professional poker players who have to put up with this nonsense at every tournament.

If your opponent cannot make a simple decision after one or two minutes then call the clock, keep calling the clock and don’t stop calling the clock until you hear the final crash of the monkey's cymbals once and for all.

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