It’s something every tournament player has done, even if they don’t really want to, but according to James Chen that makes everyone a cheat. In his latest video he explains why stalling is cheating and should be heavily penalised.
Watch the Stalling is Cheating video here:
As James Chen explains for the uninitiated:
“Stalling is when a player intentionally takes more time than necessary when it’s their turn to act”, and that almost always occurs close to the money bubble or a pay jump. The idea, of course, is that if you take as much time as possible to play your hands, someone somewhere will bust out before you and you’ll be in the money, or looking at more money. The problem is that when everyone does this, it makes the game intolerable.”
“Stalling makes poker less enjoyable”
Chen states: “It makes poker less enjoyable for professionals and amateurs alike.”
It is really only an issue in live poker, something we are likely to see in the upcoming WSOP in Vegas, rather than at the recent online WSOP where time is limited per hand anyway.
What the young Taiwanese pro, who has more than $7 million in tournament cashes, would like to see is those who continually stall called out by fellow players, and tournament directors and floor staff penalising them accordingly.
However, he has to convince fellow players first and foremost that it’s not only against the rules, and therefore cheating, but also in their best interests to take a stand.
A lively Twitter discussion ensued, with several not agreeing on the basic “stalling is cheating” argument, though James has been doing his best to convince people otherwise.
Whether an action qualifies as cheating isn’t determined by how offensive it feels. If it’s against the rules and done to gain an advantage, it’s cheating.@WSOP, @tritonpoker, and more all have rules specifically against stalling.
— James Chen (@ChipBurglar) September 28, 2021
Another problem is that many consider it to be +EV – that catch-all term that has poker players salivating and considering all sorts of methods to make more money.
It’s not quite so one-sided, however, with Chen pointing out that “having stallers at your table is such a drag on the tournament poker experience that doing our best to eliminate the issue would certainly welcome more players to play tournaments more often.”
A fair point, and the next one is connected to the +EV stance, the “lemmings” argument which says, “others do it”.
Chen says, “that’s like choosing to angle shoot because others are angle shooting,” but naturally it’s not so black and white. One response to that point from Zach Mullenix outlined the problem…
I’ll admit to occasionally stalling, numerous high-level players have referred to it as “mandatory” in some spots, so I adopted. It does make me very uncomfortable tho, and I would support the movement to eliminate it. I do think it’s contingent on swift penalties from floor tho
— Zack Mullennix (@auniquemoniker) September 29, 2021
…and that brought us nicely on to the enforcement issue.
“Another argument stallers often give is that it’s too hard to enforce the rules against stalling,” says James, with a lack of sufficient staff, combined with players not calling out the offenders often enough.
Official rules, that makes a big difference. By the time someone gets a chat, then an official warning, then an actual penalty the bubble is likely over anyway. I hold to my point that it starts with the floors, and thus far in my experience, the floors havent done anything to
— Brian Frenzel (@TheGoldenBlazer) September 29, 2021
There will be plenty of opportunities to see if the WSOP enforce their rule, which was changed in 2017 to allow stricter penalties against habitual offenders.
James Chen wants you to call out all stallers
James Chen certainly hopes so, finishing off his “stalling is cheating” with a call to arms for his #teamnostall.
“If you’re someone who truly loves poker, and cares about preserving the spirit of the game, I hope you join me in taking a stand, by not stalling and calling out the stallers.”
Over to you, readers. Share your views on the “stalling is cheating” discussion on our social media channels!
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