London’s Victoria Coren-Mitchell was, for a number of years, a regular at the felt. The poker pro amassed more than $2.47 million in live action, including a first-place win at the EPT NLHE tournament in Sanremo in April 2014. She took some time off last year, and has now made her way back to the tables, noting that some interesting changes had occurred during her absence.
At the end of April, Coren-Mitchell participated in her first tournament in a year, tweeting as she sat down, “I’m playing a POKER TOURNAMENT! How retro is that? My first in nearly a year. ‘Remind me of the rules!’ I quipped as I sat down. Turns out they literally have changed the rules.”
Indeed, they have. One of the most glaring rule changes has been with the shot clock. While it has been welcomed by the majority of players, it would still take some getting used to by those that are used to a slower pace in the games. Coren-Mitchell didn’t seem to care for it too much, taking to Twitter to post, “…From day 2, this tournament has a ‘shot clock’ so every decision has to be made in 30 seconds. I’m a quick player myself but I don’t like this for a main event. Poker is a slow, crafty game; a cricket for the mind. This bends too much to the impatience of the iPhone world.”
The 45-year-old poker pro wasn’t done with her blasting of the shot clock, adding, “It also feels like it benefits the young professional players more than the confused, older, recreational players (like me 😎). Whether it does or not, FEELING like it does is bad for the game.”
Prior to the introduction of the shot clock, players could take almost as long as they wanted before making a move, sometimes as much as ten minutes. Some players looked at it as a part of the game, a way to psychologically wear down opponents; while others called it for what it really was—a way to waste time and do nothing more than slow down the pace. If a player can’t make a decision within two minutes, adding more time isn’t going to make a difference.
Coren-Mitchell also ranted—in a good way—about a couple of bad beats she experienced during the tournament. On two occasions, she found herself with pocket jacks, which she wasn’t able to take advantage of and lost the hands. She even took a shot straight to the chest when holding bullets, getting beaten by an A-6 after the board produced two sixes.
“That’s the kind of thing I don’t miss,” she quipped on Twitter.
Not surprisingly, toward the end of the tournament, she came to fall in love with the shot clock, recognizing it for its intrinsic value to the game. She tweeted, “20 minutes into the 2k side event and I’m desperate for a shot clock. I take it all back. Get on with it already!”
Now she understands how we all feel.