Shot clocks in poker aren’t a new thing. However, until now they’ve mainly been limited to smaller fields in high roller events. That’s about to change as 888poker is now calling the shots. That’s right; we’re introducing shot clocks to 888Live Festivals!

By doing so, we’ve become the first tour to implement a shot clock in events with big fields and comprised of recreational players, online qualifiers, and poker pros. The shot clock will be introduced in the upcoming 888Live London Festival Main Event and High Roller at Aspers Casino from October 4-16.

The introduction of the Shot Clock is in line with our new strategy and tagline to “take back the game” for players. How so? Ideally, it will prevent the buzzkill of tanking and encourage a faster-paced gaming environment.

“I’ve always been a fan of the Shot Clock, so when 888poker suggested adding it to the Main and the High Roller Events at the Festival I was fully on board,” says John Scanlon, Head of Poker at Aspers Casino. “We are already in the process of converting three of our cash game tables to Quick Tables with a Shot Clock, so it fits perfectly with the poker room strategy.”

He continues: “I’d like to assure everyone coming to play the event that adding the Shot Clock is not about putting players under unnecessary pressure, it’s about keeping the game running smoothly and ultimately providing all players involved with a better structure and overall experience. We always put the player at the centre of everything we do at the 888poker Room at Aspers Casino, and we believe that players will really enjoy this addition to our ever-evolving customer offer.”

How Does a Shot Clock Work?

It’s pretty simple really. A Shot Clock, also known an action clock, is operated by the dealer during the hand. When action is on them, each player is given a certain amount of time to act. If a player is facing a bet or raise, the timer will begin only after their chips are counted and the amount of chips required to call are stated.

Players are also allotted a predetermined number of time extensions, each of which gives them an extra thirty seconds to act. If the Shot Clock ticks down to zero without a time extension being used, that player’s hand is dead.

“As a huge influencer in a fast-evolving market, it’s important that we listen to our players in order to enrich their experience in the most innovative ways possible,” says SVP Head of B2C at 888Holdings, Itai Pazner. “We believe that implementing Shot Clocks in our 888Live Festivals is one more step towards us improving our games through cutting waiting times and creating a more even-handed poker experience.”

What Do Players Think?

The shot clock debate has been raging for a while, and while there are detractors, it seems most players are in favour of a shot clock. At the very least, they think it’s an idea worth trying. Such sentiments were echoed by a trio of players we asked to comment on the 888 Shot Clock.

“Shot clocks are a good idea in my opinion because they raise the skill level even higher in poker,” says three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Dutch Boyd. “Same reason I think eventually the tournament world will go the way of that ‘Social Experiment’ tourney, removing hoodies, scarves, and sunglasses.”

Bryan Paris, a poker pro with more than $700,000 in live tournament earnings, is also for the 888 Shot Clock, at least to see how it goes.

“I think it's worth implementing experimentally to see if recreational players prefer it,” says Paris. “If the feedback is negative they can always get rid of it.”

Jon Camsell, one such recreational player, already seems to prefer it.

“I think it's a good idea, as long as it's implemented and used sensibly,” he explains. “It should speed up live multi-table tournaments, which will be good for all players. Getting to play more hands overall will benefit the better players, as well as resulting in recs generally getting more play for their buy-in. Also, it should minimise/negate the awful excessive time-banking either on or near the bubble, which is basically an accepted angle-shoot.”

Taking back the game is one of our missions, and we believe the 888 Shot Clock will create a fairer, more fun and progressive gaming environment for players.

What are your thoughts on the 888 Shot Clock? Let us know on Twitter using #888ShotClock.

About the Author
Chad Holloway is a 2013 WSOP Bracelet winner who has previously worked for PokerNews as a managing editor and live reporter
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