Patrik Antonius Leads the Charge to Change Live Poker

Poker legend Patrik Antonius has spoken out about changes he wants to make to the live poker scene. The Finn recently held his own poker series in Tallinn, Estonia called The Patrik Antonius Poker Challenge and it was a huge success. Star names such as Ilari Ziigmund Sahamies helped to bring the event to attention with drunken antics during a late night cash game.

By: Mark Patrickson

Antonius spoke to Sasha Sallinger, a PokerNews reporter, during Day 1b of the 2019 EPT €5,300 Main Event. He aired his concerns about a few points which have riled people over the last 15 years since live poker became really popular.

The first issue is the pace of the gameflow. Slow play is what keeps online players from playing more live poker as it is, without having people tanking unnecessarily to make it worse. Antonius’s solution at his event was to use a new kind of shot clock.

The usual clock is 30 seconds, but before people used to automatically use the whole allowance for every decision, including preflop. Of course this slowed the game down even more. The new shot clock system only allows 10 seconds preflop and 20 seconds postflop, with more timebanks than usual to compensate.

One of the benefits of structuring the adjustment in this way is that time now becomes a factor in the psychological warfare that goes on with your opponents. This is exactly what happens in a competitive game of chess when one player gets short of time. The other player can now choose a move that is not objectively the best, but another which is considerably more complicated and requires more thinking time to assess accurately.

Time pressure is a great way to spice up the action, especially when the TV cameras are turned on. The other benefit to this idea was double the usual amount of hands played in Tallinn. Win-win.

In Antonius’s next series, he is even thinking about trying out a cash game with a shot clock. Some format with a small timebank every hand to prevent people from leaving when they’ve used all their timebanks like in the normal system.

The other thing that Antonius wants to see changed is the hoodie fashion. While the jackets themselves are not a problem, covering up your entire face almost does not give off a good impression. He even goes as far as banning them outright, or issuing penalties to players attempting to cover up their face.

While many will no doubt support these changes across the board, Phil Hellmuth chimed in on Twitter to complain about the face covering that goes on. Daniel Negreanu then politely asked if he would give up his famous sunglasses.

Should we go as far as banning the ubiquitous shades?


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