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[caption width="640"] The WPT Action Clock is coming to all Season XVI tour stops starting in Choctaw next week.[/caption] The World Poker Tour Action Clock premiered two seasons ago at the WPT Tournament of Champions and received rave reviews upon its introduction. The concept has grown as players of both the professional and recreational ranks are looking to speed up play in the later stages of tournaments. Just announced this week, the WPT is making an innovative change that officially brings the Action Clock into the full poker spotlight. Starting with the first American stop of Season XVI, the Action Clock is ready to tick at Choctaw in the first week of August. The Action Clock, which WPT is bringing in with a partnership agreement made with Protection Poker, will be in use once the respective field is one table away from breaching the money bubble in all WPT Main Tour events. From that point forward, the Action Clock will be on all tables down to the final table, where it will also be used. Players are given 30-seconds with each decision in order to maintain a reasonable pace of play. For decisions that may require some additional thought, players have the option to use one of their four time-extension chips. Each chip is worth 30 seconds of additional time given to a player. As the final three tables are reached, players will be given a maximum of six chips and then a maximum of eight chips when the official WPT final table of six is hit. Another change being made by WPT and its hosting partners is for all tables to be eight-handed once there are 10 tables remaining in play in a WPT Main Tour event. WPT Executive Director Matt Savage has been open to player feedback on the subject of faster play over the last few years and is excited to introduce the Action Clock across all WPT events. “The World Poker Tour is proud to be the first to implement the Action Clock across all of its Main Tour event. Many players, both recreational and professional, have expressed concerns that unnecessary tanking has taken a lot of the fun out of poker. Poker should always be fun, and it was a no-brainer decision to bring the Action Clock to all WPT Main Tour events following its success in the WPT Tournament of Champions and WPT500™ Los Angeles. With the Action Clock, more action equals more fun, and who doesn’t want more fun in poker?” The third running of the WPT Choctaw event kicks off on August 4 and runs through August 8. The $3,700 buy in tournament holds a $2,000,000 guarantee and had a playing field of 1,066 in 2016.
[caption width="640"] The World Poker Tour prepares to trek to Choctaw to start the US portion of Season XVI. (WPT photo)[/caption] The World Poker Tour’s new season gets into full swing this week when it returns to Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, OK. This is the third time the WPT has made its way to Choctaw and is the only stop in the Midwest in Season XVI. In 2015 and 2016, the fields reached the 1,000 player mark and expectations are similar for 2017. Set about 90 miles north of Dallas, TX, Choctaw has been a poker hotbed for the entire decade. The World Series of Poker Circuitrecently added a second stop there for the upcoming season while other tours including Poker Night in America and Card Player have made stops in years past. Inside of the Choctaw Grand Theater sits one of the best environments to play poker in the entire country where over 100 tables sit with the banners of previous Choctaw Main Event winners swinging from the rafters. The fields at Choctaw are consistently in the four-figures not only because of the large overall demand for poker, but also the satellites run. For any players looking for as many opportunities to qualify for less than the $3,700 buy in and play a WPT event, Choctaw is the place to do it. The Choctaw WPT stop offers the familiar price point of $3,700 and has one starting flight available on Friday, August 4 and Saturday, August 5. The $2,000,000 guaranteed event includes unlimited re-entry and players have the option to register as late as the start of Day 2 on Sunday, August 6. As with last year, all levels for the four days are 60-minutes up until heads up play, where they go to 30 minutes. The tournament is scheduled to take place over the course of four days with the six-handed final table being filmed for television on Day 4. This event is also the first use of the Action Clock in Season XVI following an announcement made by WPT last week of its implementation across all Main Tour stops for this season. Choctaw has been the setting for top-heavy fields at the final table in both years of the WPT event. In 2015, Jason Brin defeated the likes of Andy Hwang, Jake Schindler, and three-time WPT Champion Darren Elias. Last year, James Mackey beat eventual WPT Season XV Player of the Year Ben Zamani heads up to win his first WPT title while also conquering Craig Varnell and Jack Duong, who were among the final six. After a long summer in Las Vegas, most of the professional ranks have had time in the last two weeks to recharge themselves for a busy stretch of upcoming events with the first leg of that trip coming at Choctaw. WPT fields are always tough to conquer and Choctaw will be a great test for those hoping to start the new season off on the right foot.