WSOP Introduces Big Blind Ante and Shot Clock For All High Roller Events

WSOP 2018 shot clock

The World Series of Poker has announced that there will be a big blind ante and shot clock in play during the high buy-in events at the 2018 WSOP. They made the announcement on Twitter after WSOP Social Media manager Kevin Mathers initially broke the news. Structure sheets for these events haven't been released yet.

In recent months, more and more tournaments have decided to use shot clocks and/or big blind antes, while others use a button ante. The High Roller tournaments at the ARIA were the first to implement the big blind ante, with partypoker LIVE events to follow later. At the most recent PCA at the beginning of the month, PokerStars followed suit implementing the big blind ante in some of their high roller events.

The shot clock has been in use for much longer. The format has been introduced in most high roller events in tournaments all over the world. 888poker was one of the first in the industry to use it in all of their Main Events and High Roller tournaments.

A lot of the tour organizers believe both the big blind ante and the shot clock considerably speed up the game, but feel it's too early to introduce them in mainstream poker tournaments. Instead, they test the use out in high roller events where the majority of the field is willing to speed up the game and is comfortable enough around them to implement them. This way, fans of the game are introduced to the devices.

The 2018 World Series of Poker will be the first time the WSOP introduces both the shot clock and the big blind ante.

2018 WSOP Events Using a Big Blind Ante and Shot Clock

June 1 - 4Event #5:$100,000 HIGH ROLLER No-Limit Hold’em
July 13 - 14Event #77:$50,000 No-Limit Hold'em High Roller
July 15 - 17Event #78:The Big One for One Drop - $1,000,000 No-Limit Hold'em

What's a Big Blind Ante?
In the later levels of poker tournaments, an ante is introduced to further drive the action besides the incentive to enter the pot formed by the small blind and big blind.

Typically, the ante is paid by every player at the table. A lot of poker players and poker tournament organizers believe this slows down the game, especially when players argue over who has, and who hasn't, paid their ante.

In tournaments operating a big blind ante, as the WSOP just announced for their high roller events, the player in the big blind pays the ante for everyone at the table. As the big blind moves every hand, so does the responsibility to pay the ante.

What's a Shot Clock?
With a shot clock at the table, players have a certain time to act on their hand. Typically players get 30 seconds per decision. On top of that, in most poker tournaments operating a shot clock, players get a certain amount of time bank cards. These cards are typically worth an additional 30 or 60 seconds.

The shot clock is a physical clock on the table that counts down the time players have left to act on their hand. Once the clock reaches zero without the player having decided to call, fold, bet, or raise, a player's hand is either dead, or a player is forced to play one of their time bank cards to gain some more time to think.

Every tournament organizer decided how many time bank cards players get at the beginning of the tournament. If a player has time bank cards left when he or she busts, those are typically forfeited. Some tournaments let you carry over your time bank cards to coming days, and some give out additional cards upon making the next day, and/or making the final table.

The lead photo in this article in an artist impression.

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