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Tanking is a Disease That Could Potentially Ruin Poker
It's difficult to come up with something more stupid than smoking.
Next time I get Vanessa Selbst at the same table I will ask her why she smokes.
I have tried for over 30 years and still have not found an argument for smoking -- even though I have asked hundreds of smokers to present me with one.
Tanking is Not a Vice
Tanking at the poker table is even worse.
Yes, smoking is more inconsiderate. But they don't realize it; smokers are, after all, ignorant by definition.
But tankers are worse because it is deliberate and not a vice. They also never leave the table as smokers do.
It was never a problem in the past. The game flowed well and everybody was happy.
Sure, once in a while somebody called the clock on somebody else, but that was because somebody lost track of time and space in their decisions.
Then the Internet generation came along.
They didn't have to make the long journey through the ranks so they didn't learn the intricate maze that separates right from wrong in poker. A lot of them behaved badly, and a lot of them still do.
Not Going to Be "That Guy"
Why they're the ones guilty of excessive tanking is strange since they're used to playing 1,000 hands an hour online. Ironic is truly the word.
The reason they behave so badly is because they don't know better -- like smokers who don't get that they're walking stink bombs.
I usually play very fast. But sometimes I take several minutes for a key decision in a tough spot.
I have had the clock called on me, and it annoys me when it happens.
That does not make it wrong. I do not know how long I have thought and it could be warranted.
On the other hand you must respect someone making a tournament-life decision late in a WSOP tournament. I have had players at my table think for 10 minutes.
That amount of time is always too long, but I'm not going to be "that guy" that calls the clock.
I have never called the clock on anybody. I am proud of that fact. But I have been really close a couple of times the last few years.
Tanking is a Disease
If you're not in the pot you need an even stronger incentive to call the clock on someone. But I'm starting to feel old-fashioned and my policy could be out of date.
I probably should start calling the clock on tankers. Tanking is a disease that could potentially ruin poker.
Daniel Negreanu agrees. You really should read Daniel's excellent piece.
To sum it up: winning players are in the entertainment business.
Everybody should work together to enhance the entertainment for the casual player. Tanking is the exact opposite and that's why it needs to be addressed.
I can see that they have to implement a shot clock for tournaments in the future but that would ruin some of the charm, for sure.
It would also punish people like me who play really fast most of the time.
A Round of Blinds Away from the Table
I have a better suggestion.
There are a few notorious tankers out there -- players who use a lot of time for every decision, even very trivial ones, and even tank as a method to annoy and tilt their opponents.
Let the Tournament Director handle them. Put in the rulebook that excessive thinking or tanking is not allowed and the TD has the right to punish them for it.
I think a round of blinds away from the table as a penalty would speed up the tanking player's brain function pretty instantly in every case.
Especially since the tanking usually takes place later in the tournament.
I don't see any problem with such a solution in any way, but I do see a problem with some players tanking today. And the problem is getting worse.
About Ken Lennaárd:
Sweden's most controversial poker blogger Ken Lennaárd has been around the professional poker circuit for almost 20 years. Among his numerous accomplishments are Swedish Championships both live and online, three WSOP final tables and over $1.5m in live earnings. He's now bringing his singular poker voice to the English world via PokerListings.com. Look for new posts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Note: Opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not inherently represent the views of PokerListings.com.