There was a time when I thought NLHE tournaments were the greatest form of poker to be played. The drama, dynamics, and money to be made made them extremely exciting to play, especially when you make a deep run.
Unfortunately, now nearly all NLHE tables, especially tournaments, are infested with people who insist on taking far too long to make decisions they know they are making as soon as the action is on them. The poker tank.
Part of this is because people legitimately want to balance the times when they have a hard decision with the times when they have an easy decision.
This is fine to an extent, though in a huge field NLHE tournament where you play with people for the first and usually last time it is drastically overrated. The worst cause of the problem is unfortunately that amateurs see pros doing it and they want to copy them. It’s just like monkey see, monkey do.
No, seriously. That’s why they do it.
If you’ve never noticed it before, a lot of players just want to fit in with everyone else. When a recreational player sees a TV pro doing something they can easily emulate, they do so.
Have you ever been in a game with a very strange preflop raise size that everyone starts to do together? Of course you have, EVERY game is at least somewhat like this. Almost every NLHE table in the world has raise sizes that depend on your unique table. Even cities tend to have different raise sizes that are common to the players who play there. This is just one of the symptoms of this trope.
The tanking problem was somewhat exacerbated a few years ago when a few pros on the WSOP Main Event broadcast started taking a very long time to make decisions. Now there isn’t a NLHE game in the country that isn’t full of people taking TOO GODDAMN LONG to make decisions.
I swear the WSOP Main Event broadcast causes more trouble than it solves these days.
So, I’m angry because I used to love playing NLHE tournaments. This is a long lead-in to an article where I’m going to yell at you REASONS WHY YOU NEED TO PLAY FASTER.
6 Reasons Not to Tank in Poker
1) Common decency
You are 1 of possibly 10 people at the table. You are bogarting (click it, it’s a word) a massive amount of time to look at your hole cards preflop when most of the people want to strangle you.
If you wait until the action is on you every single time to look at your hole cards, you need to hurry up.
2) It benefits you
Assuming you think of yourself as a good player (let’s not go crazy here), it benefits you to get in as many hands as possible. A really slow table may get 30% fewer hands than a fast one.
That’s a lot of hands that you’re missing out on to take advantage of the weaker players at your table. Think of every hand you miss as a direct hit to your hourly. If you want to maximize your edge and your hourly, you need to hurry up.
3) It sets a good example.
Poker players are lemmings in a lot of ways. The more socially acceptable it is to do something, the more people are going to do it.
So let’s make things that fight the tanking problem more socially acceptable. Such as:
- Clock people who take too long.
- Don’t shame people who call the clock for legitimate reasons.
- Take a reasonable amount of time to make simple decisions.
If you want them to build statues to celebrate you, you need to hurry up.
4) We don’t want a shot clock.
SOMEONE is going to start making poker shot clocks a thing and they are a terrible, terrible idea.
It’s incredibly unfair that a player who rarely takes longer than 5 seconds to make a decision will be forced to make tough turn/river decisions within 30 seconds. And that’s all because some idiot takes 20 seconds to check the flop after defending the big blind four times per hour.
That is an injustice worthy of an Academy Award winning documentary. For the good of poker, you need to hurry up.
5) Recreational players HATE tanking.
Seriously, this reason trumps every other reason easily. There is never a time when you should make the game less fun to play for people who are probably not going to win and play anyway.
It’s very common for these players to be the most angry and flabbergasted when someone takes an extremely long time to make decisions, because they play so rarely or in a small group of friends and they are just blown away at the indecency shown by some douchebag wearing mirrored sunglasses and earbuds who needs to ask you how many chips you’re playing for the fourth time this orbit.
That doesn’t make you a psychological Sun Tzu, it makes you an asshole. Don’t be an asshole, hurry up.
I SWEAR TO GOD IF SOMEONE GIVES ME A 20 SECOND STARE DOWN AS I BET 2 BIG BLINDS ON THE TURN AGAIN I AM GOING TO PLAY THE SONIC THE HEDGEHOG DROWNING MUSIC EVERY TIME THE ACTION IS ON THEM FOR THE REST OF THE TOURNAMENT. HURRY THE F*&$ UP!
I seriously think that might work. That song is haunting. I could run a 4 minute mile listening to that shit.
I could go on for a long time listing reasons why you need to hurry up. A lot of really smart people, like fearless leader Doug Polk in a recent Polker News, have come out against this ridiculous trend recently.
Doug called out a few notorious tankers by name in this video and also echos a few of my points while making some of his own.
One of the strongest arguments I can make for the advancement of limit poker games is because you don’t have to deal with selfish, obnoxious, catastrophically game destroying players.
Remember what it was like when playing poker was legitimately fun? This is the first step to getting that back.