The World Series of Poker has implemented a new rule for 2017 regarding how things will be handled when a player wants to “call clock” on an opponent. For those of you who are new to poker, “calling clock” or “calling the clock” is a formal process by which a player asks that a floor person force another player to make a decision on a hand if that player has taken too long to act.
The tricky part about calling clock has always been that it is very subjective. Who is to say, exactly, if a person is taking too long or is stalling? In one hand, protracted thought may be appropriate while it is not in another. Maybe someone who looks like they are stalling is really thinking hard. And how much time should be given by the floor?
The changes are not really much more concrete than they were, but they do seem to take into account tournament situations and give the floor leeway.
Previously, the rule gave all players a “reasonable amount of time,” which was defined as at least two minutes, to act in a hand. If the clock is called, the player in question gets one minute more to act, the final ten seconds of which are counted down by the floor person. If the player still hasn’t acted, his hand is dead. The floor person could also shorten the time if it is deemed that the player is intentionally stalling.
Here is the new rule:
Once a reasonable amount of time has passed and a clock is called, Floor People, in their sole discretion, may give the participant an additional 0 up to 30 seconds to make a decision. If action has not been taken when prompted by the Floor Person, there will be a 10-second countdown followed by a declaration or stopwatch alarm. If a participant has not acted before the declaration or alarm sounds, the hand will be dead. Rio, in its sole and absolute discretion, reserves the right, at any time, to invoke a clock or speed up the amount of time allotted for a clock. Any participant intentionally stalling the progress of the game or unnecessarily calling the clock will incur a penalty in accordance with Rules 40, 113, and 114.
As you can see, there is no two minute minimum applied to the “reasonable amount of time.” Additionally, the clock time is shortened from one minute to anywhere from zero to thirty seconds plus a ten second countdown.
The new rule also gives the Rio (and by extension, the floor person), the flexibility to call clock without a player asking for it.
One point of interest from the WSOP’s notes about the new rule is that the floor person can also decide to not start a clock on a player, even if someone at the table asked for one. There are plenty of situations where tanking for several minutes should be permitted and if an impatient player wants clock called, the floor can easily deny the request, ruling that the hand is a crucial one in a key spot in the tournament, so those involved should be granted all the time they need.