Josh Arieh doesn’t play a lot of poker these days but he was still willing to chime in on what seems to be a growing problem in the game after an incident at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure on Saturday.
Arieh claims his opponent (English pro Rhys Jones) was taking an excessive amount of time making decisions in the early stages of the $25,000 High Roller Event.
“We hadn’t played 20 hands and this guy tanked for no less than three minutes on three different occasions,” said Arieh. “Sometimes it’s just ridiculous. It’s the first level of a poker tournament, how big can your decision be?”
Finally Arieh had enough and decided to say something.
“I did it the wrong way,” explained Arieh. “I asked him if he thought slower than everyone else at the table. It was out of line… but it worked.”
No Easy Solution to Poker Tanking Problem
It’s safe to say that things have changed considerably since Arieh began playing in the late 1990s.
“Poker is so evolved,” he said. “Back when I used to play everyone threw an 80-mile-an-hour fastball.”
Arieh says that he understands why people tank – whether it’s trying to make the best decision or to intimidate an opponent - but thinks it’s bad for the game.
“If there is nothing that governs how long you can take there are always going to be people who take advantage of it.”
“The whole thing about improving poker is bringing new money in. If an inexperienced person were to sit down and his opponent is tanking for two minutes he’s going to feel so inferior. He’s going to be terrified.”
It’s not exactly a new issue and big-name pro Daniel Negreanu has spoken out against excessive tanking numerous times before. Tom Dwan even took some of the blame for the tanking epidemic in 2012.
The problem is that there’s no easy solution, according to Arieh.
“We could have a shot clock but then we’d need like eight tournament directors or maybe we could have tables with time banks like online poker. Either way it gets super technical. I don’t know what the answer is."
There’s obviously a disconnect between tankers and the players who wish play moved at a faster pace in the early stages of a tournament.
Rhys Jones, the player who Arieh accused of tanking excessively, said Arieh gave him no warning and shouted at him on the river of an important hand.
“…Amazing how some people act at the table,” said Jones via Twitter.