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Old 07-04-2018, 03:02 AM   #1
DisRuptive1
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Stalling a tournament game when close to the money

What should be done about a player who stalls the game pre-flop when the tournament is close to the money? Specifically a short stack who is incentivized to play as few hands as possible in order to give up the minimum number of ante chips.

By stalling I mean taking 2 or 3 minutes to make a pre-flop decision and not making decisions post flop until they have 5 seconds left after a floor starts a clock countdown.

One floor person I talked to said he would stand there and put him on a 5-second clock on every hand. However, if multiple people do this, we don't have enough floor people.

I think he should be warned once and then given a penalty; the penalty might actually help him make the money. But my reasoning for the penalty is to stop the behavior so that players play their hands rather that slow down the game. Maybe like too many pre-flop clock calls would give reason to give a penalty.
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Old 07-04-2018, 05:51 AM   #2
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Re: Stalling a tournament game when close to the money

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Originally Posted by DisRuptive1 View Post
What should be done about a player who stalls the game pre-flop when the tournament is close to the money? Specifically a short stack who is incentivized to play as few hands as possible in order to give up the minimum number of ante chips.

By stalling I mean taking 2 or 3 minutes to make a pre-flop decision and not making decisions post flop until they have 5 seconds left after a floor starts a clock countdown.

One floor person I talked to said he would stand there and put him on a 5-second clock on every hand. However, if multiple people do this, we don't have enough floor people.

I think he should be warned once and then given a penalty; the penalty might actually help him make the money. But my reasoning for the penalty is to stop the behavior so that players play their hands rather that slow down the game. Maybe like too many pre-flop clock calls would give reason to give a penalty.
The penalty can't help him make the money unless you mean he plays worse than just having his hand folded.

I recently had a situation in which players were complaining about a player slowing the game. Clicks had been called a couple of times .... They were already in the money but this was a big tournament and there was a lot of money to be had. I pulled the player from the table and explained that while I wanted him to be able to play his best I also needed him to try to keep the peace of play more reasonable and that I would be shortening future clock calls.

I did not feel a penalty was warranted in his situation because I did not sense he was trying to slow down the game. He was the short stack when I got the first complaint but still was slow after building up an average stack.

Near the bubble a player who is brazenly stalling could be given a penalty. But another option is to go hand for hand. This is especially useful if multiple players are stalling.

One thing to consider, this summer flooring multiple large tournaments I have noticed that almost every time I get near the bubble some player asks me to go hand for hand early because "of course the short stacks" are going to stall. Yet my observation of play is that it isn't happening. Some players are just inclined to believe it is happening and will tell you it is happening ..
. You should observe for yourself. Remember that in today's poker world play is pretty slow most of the time.
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Old 07-04-2018, 08:15 AM   #3
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Re: Stalling a tournament game when close to the money

I prefer open mockery of the staller.
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Old 07-04-2018, 10:26 AM   #4
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Re: Stalling a tournament game when close to the money

Warning. Then penalty.
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Old 07-04-2018, 10:54 AM   #5
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Re: Stalling a tournament game when close to the money

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Originally Posted by DisRuptive1 View Post
What should be done about a player who stalls the game pre-flop when the tournament is close to the money? Specifically a short stack who is incentivized to play as few hands as possible in order to give up the minimum number of ante chips. …...
Go hand-for-hand. Or else warn, then penalty.
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Old 07-04-2018, 12:13 PM   #6
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Re: Stalling a tournament game when close to the money

As a possible thread jack, I have found round for round much less painful than hand for hand as a player. You can go round for round a little bit further away from the bubble without slowing the game to a halt.
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Old 07-04-2018, 02:01 PM   #7
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Re: Stalling a tournament game when close to the money

Play hand for hand


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Old 07-04-2018, 03:33 PM   #8
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Re: Stalling a tournament game when close to the money

Hand for hand is an option as is a 10 second clock for that player.

I don’t think you can penalize the player unless there’s a specific house rule against slow play. Unfortunately, stalling is super standard in lots of big tournaments and apparently none have specific rules against it? Especially players who are mainly playing online don’t even see anything wrong with it because it’s so standard in online tournaments. When you get to the bubble at a satellite to the Sunday Million on PokerStars, the majority of players who are short let their time bank go down to 0 every single time action is on them.
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Old 07-04-2018, 06:43 PM   #9
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Re: Stalling a tournament game when close to the money

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I don’t think you can penalize the player unless there’s a specific house rule against slow play. Unfortunately, stalling is super standard in lots of big tournaments and apparently none have specific rules against it?
Any place using TDA has a rule allowing penalties for persistent delay of game.

I prefer to avoid penalties here because it is possible that the delay is actually the player thinking about what action to take as the small stack is legitimately concerned that any hand can end his tournament. Tournament play today is very slow all the time. It can be appropriate to give a penalty ... But in most circumstances I would prefer another solution

Last edited by psandman; 07-04-2018 at 06:51 PM.
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Old 07-04-2018, 07:36 PM   #10
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Re: Stalling a tournament game when close to the money

[QUOTE=psandman;54011782]




Quote:
Near the bubble a player who is brazenly stalling could be given a penalty. But another option is to go hand for hand. This is especially useful if multiple players are stalling.
This. Solves everything. But......

Quote:
Some players are just inclined to believe it is happening and will tell you it is happening ..
. You should observe for yourself. Remember that in today's poker world play is pretty slow most of the time.
I had an occasion a few weeks ago when the tables were 6 and 5. Within a few minutes I had players on both tables asking me to go hand for hand because the other one was stalling.

Also it never fails, as soon as I go hand for hand the bubble gets busted right away.
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Old 07-04-2018, 08:52 PM   #11
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Re: Stalling a tournament game when close to the money

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Go hand-for-hand. Or else warn, then penalty.
Yeah, professionally run tournaments would go hand-for-hand.

In contrast, I understand that the WSOP bungled a couple of its recent events (one was the $1500 razz) by not tracking the number of players carefully, so they just didn't bother going hand-for-hand on the bubble. At least in the razz this led to a situation where a player stalled his way to the money. For good measure they also misapplied their rule about simultaneous bustouts at different tables (which are supposed to share the prize; I'm told chipstack before the hand only matters at the same table).

If I'm not mistaken there was a time when the WSOP was considered the gold standard of administering tournaments. That time is not the present.

EDIT: Here's the rule:

Quote:
123. Hand for Hand:
a. Upon nearing the “Money” (the first level of the prize pool payout), a “Hand-for-Hand” method of determining participant
placement within the prize pool and the actual amount of prize pool disbursement within that event will be utilized. This will
begin by completing the current hand in progress at all tables. Once all hands are complete, the dealer at each table will deal one
hand only, then – once the hand is complete – suspend play. This process will continue until enough participants have been
eliminated to reach the money.
b. During the Hand-for-Hand process, more than one participant may be eliminated during the same hand. If two or more
participants are eliminated during the same hand at different tables, those participants will “tie” for that place finish.
If two or
more participants are eliminated during the same hand at the same table, the participant(s) who began the hand with the highest
chip count will receive the higher place finish.
https://www.wsop.com/2016/2016%20WSO...nt%20Rules.pdf

Last edited by AKQJ10; 07-04-2018 at 08:58 PM.
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Old 07-04-2018, 08:57 PM   #12
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Re: Stalling a tournament game when close to the money

By the way I also find the WSOP end of day procedure interesting. Apparently the problem was people trying to stall so they could say they lasted into the second day. Therefore:

Quote:
122. End of Day: Ten minutes prior to the end of days play for any event, a random card will be drawn to determine how many additional
hands will be played. Playing Cards will be used and a random participant will be asked to pick a card face down.
It's not clear to me if they're drawing from a 52-card deck or if it's stripped to limit this additional play to one orbit.
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Old 07-04-2018, 09:01 PM   #13
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Re: Stalling a tournament game when close to the money

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Yeah, professionally run tournaments would go hand-for-hand.

In contrast, I understand that the WSOP bungled a couple of its recent events (one was the $1500 razz) by not tracking the number of players carefully, so they just didn't bother going hand-for-hand on the bubble. At least in the razz this led to a situation where a player stalled his way to the money. For good measure they also misapplied their rule about simultaneous bustouts at different tables (which are supposed to share the prize; I'm told chipstack before the hand only matters at the same table).

If I'm not mistaken there was a time when the WSOP was considered the gold standard of administering tournaments. That time is not the present.
I don't pay attention to the wsop so I don't know what if anything happened. In our events we go hand for hand on the bubble as a general rule. But circumstances can lead to an earlier hand for hand (stalling is one. Another would be a large enough number of players that we can expect multiple bustouts on a hand busting the bubble making it difficult to tell who busted first).

The idea of simultaneous bustouts when not in hand for hand is difficult to administer especially in large fields.
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Old 07-04-2018, 09:19 PM   #14
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Re: Stalling a tournament game when close to the money

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By the way I also find the WSOP end of day procedure interesting. Apparently the problem was people trying to stall so they could say they lasted into the second day. Therefore:



It's not clear to me if they're drawing from a 52-card deck or if it's stripped to limit this additional play to one orbit.
The issue isn't people saying they made it to the second day. The issue is that knowing there is a redraw coming players stall to avoid paying the blinds.

My room uses a different procedure. We draw to determine the number of hands to be played (the draw is from a limited number of possibilities based on the number of players at the shortest table) and then stop the clock 2 minutes early for each hand. So if playing 7 hands we stop 14 minutes early so that we say 7 hands later the level is ended.
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Old 07-09-2018, 12:19 PM   #15
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Re: Stalling a tournament game when close to the money

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I don't pay attention to the wsop so I don't know what if anything happened. In our events we go hand for hand on the bubble as a general rule. But circumstances can lead to an earlier hand for hand (stalling is one. Another would be a large enough number of players that we can expect multiple bustouts on a hand busting the bubble making it difficult to tell who busted first).

The idea of simultaneous bustouts when not in hand for hand is difficult to administer especially in large fields.
In the WSOP senior event Day 1 they stopped the clock with 10 minutes to go and then "randomly" decided how many hands they would play. I forget what it was this time but I think it was 7. I don't think this solves much because people wanting to make it to Day 2 (and there are some I have run into) might be clever enough to stall up until that 10 minute mark. Oddly the players wanting to make it to Day 2 didn't stall, they just folded big hands that they would ordinarily play.

On day 2 we got into the money without going hand for hand. Or I should say we played one hand hand for hand. We suspected that they missed the bubble. Something I have only seen done at Foxwoods. During the discussion at the table one player said that it was common at the WSOP to miss the bubble in the larger tournaments because it was hard to coordinate. Maybe because it is possible to lose double digits of players within a very short time span. They seem to do fine at the Main Event but maybe this is a problem with multiple rooms still playing combined with specific circumstances.

My personal experience is that 8 to 10 years ago stalling was a problem at every tournament I played in when nearing the bubble. Today I can't remember seeing stalling in years. I think that instituting hand for hand and restricting players from wandering around looking at stacks at other tables has been effective.

As to the original post, one of the things I have seen instituted in larger tournaments is going hand for hand before we are actually on the stone bubble. Because it has not been uniform (sometimes it is 5 players away, sometimes 3) even in the same rooms it is hard for stallers to predict when they really need to start stalling. Maybe there are still some people who are stalling well before the actual bubble. I just haven't run into it lately.
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Old 07-09-2018, 12:35 PM   #16
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Re: Stalling a tournament game when close to the money

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As to the original post, one of the things I have seen instituted in larger tournaments is going hand for hand before we are actually on the stone bubble. Because it has not been uniform (sometimes it is 5 players away, sometimes 3) even in the same rooms it is hard for stallers to predict when they really need to start stalling. Maybe there are still some people who are stalling well before the actual bubble. I just haven't run into it lately.
In larger field tournaments going hand for hand earlier may be more about not missing the bubble than about concern about stalling.
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Old 07-09-2018, 12:48 PM   #17
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Re: Stalling a tournament game when close to the money

The difference between the WSOP ME and small buy-in events is that everyone on the staff is super concerned not to mess up at the former while nobody really cares about the latter.

At the small buy-in massive field events, right after the bubble, you can not only fold yourself up the payout ladder but often also walk yourself up one step. Just take 3 minutes to pack up your stuff and then walk slooooowly towards the desk where you get your payout information.
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Old 07-09-2018, 01:07 PM   #18
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Re: Stalling a tournament game when close to the money

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In the WSOP senior event Day 1 they stopped the clock with 10 minutes to go and then "randomly" decided how many hands they would play. I forget what it was this time but I think it was 7. I don't think this solves much because people wanting to make it to Day 2 (and there are some I have run into) might be clever enough to stall up until that 10 minute mark. Oddly the players wanting to make it to Day 2 didn't stall, they just folded big hands that they would ordinarily play.

This is standard procedure. As was recently pointed out by someone else, it not only prevents stalling into Day 2 but also stalling related to the position of the blinds before the table redraw at the end of the day. Otherwise the UTG players would stall to avoid taking the blinds.

People who want to make day 2 can stall up until the announcement of number of hands left, and then fold their last N hands. People who want to avoid the blinds won't accomplish much since the drawn number could still be big enough to put them in the blinds.

Based on your scare quotes, I'm curious: Do you have a reason to doubt that the number is randomly drawn?
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Old 07-09-2018, 01:35 PM   #19
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Re: Stalling a tournament game when close to the money

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The difference between the WSOP ME and small buy-in events is that everyone on the staff is super concerned not to mess up at the former while nobody really cares about the latter.

At the small buy-in massive field events, right after the bubble, you can not only fold yourself up the payout ladder but often also walk yourself up one step. Just take 3 minutes to pack up your stuff and then walk slooooowly towards the desk where you get your payout information.
lol surely that cant be? that would the grossest of incompetence. why not just go back to the room and sleep all afternoon and come back when you are 5 payout levels higher to collect?

ive only cashed a few times in non-wsop tournies but a staff member has always went with me to the cage/payout area to confirm my finishing position. is this seriously how its ran at the wsop lol
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Old 07-09-2018, 01:48 PM   #20
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Re: Stalling a tournament game when close to the money

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This is standard procedure. As was recently pointed out by someone else, it not only prevents stalling into Day 2 but also stalling related to the position of the blinds before the table redraw at the end of the day. Otherwise the UTG players would stall to avoid taking the blinds.

People who want to make day 2 can stall up until the announcement of number of hands left, and then fold their last N hands. People who want to avoid the blinds won't accomplish much since the drawn number could still be big enough to put them in the blinds.

Based on your scare quotes, I'm curious: Do you have a reason to doubt that the number is randomly drawn?
There is no reason to care about players trying to stall into day 2 if making day 2 isn't the money bubble. There is no real 8ncentive to stall and you can simply address it as any other slow player ... With players at the table being able to call a clock.

The reason I don't like the 10 minute stop is that it means players still know exactly when play will stop. Assuming we know the range of random numbers that can be drawn there is still a point where a player can gain advantage by stalling. So if for example they can draw from 5 to 9 hands. If we are coming to the 10 minute mark there are certain positions which may benefit from stalling. But if the time you will stop is also randomly selected players have a harder time knowingbwhen stalling could be beneficial.
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Old 07-09-2018, 02:01 PM   #21
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Re: Stalling a tournament game when close to the money

Oh, I didn't realize this was the same thread where you'd discussed the table redraw. Oops.

But that just makes me more confused by "There is no reason to care about players trying to stall into day 2 if making day 2 isn't the money bubble." You gave exactly such a reason. If UTG+3 can make 3 hands last 10 minutes, she won't have to take the blinds and the button will be redrawn the next day.

I would presume for this to work, the numbers drawn must start from 1 to at least the number of hands in an orbit. I don't know if, for example, in a nine handed tournament they include tens through kings in their draw. Maybe it would be better to say one orbit plus N hands, but bustouts and table breaks would complicate that.

"But if the time you will stop is also randomly selected players have a harder time knowing when stalling could be beneficial." That's the reason for drawing. It could be as little as one hand, right?
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Old 07-09-2018, 03:22 PM   #22
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Re: Stalling a tournament game when close to the money

There was a suggestion that some stalling was simply about making day 2 as though there was inherent value in that. And in something like the WSOP main event there are probably some players who value being able to say they made day 2 but there is no real value that the tournament staff needs to protect.

In my room we use a system to draw .... There are three possible outcomes to the draw based on the number of players at the table. 1 hand would never be a possible outcome in a nine handed tournament we run. But my point was that we don't stop at 10 minutes to the end of the level. Our stop time is based on the number of hands. So if we were going to play 8 hands we stop with 16 minutes left. The players are not told when the stop time is until we actually stop. So you don't know if we are stopping at 16 minutes or 8 minutes.

With the other system I may not know for certain my stalling will keep me from posting but I could know that by being in particular position reduces my odds of posting.
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Old 07-09-2018, 03:55 PM   #23
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Re: Stalling a tournament game when close to the money

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In my room we use a system to draw .... There are three possible outcomes to the draw based on the number of players at the table. 1 hand would never be a possible outcome in a nine handed tournament we run. But my point was that we don't stop at 10 minutes to the end of the level. Our stop time is based on the number of hands. So if we were going to play 8 hands we stop with 16 minutes left. The players are not told when the stop time is until we actually stop. So you don't know if we are stopping at 16 minutes or 8 minutes.
I'm confused. You can commit to stop after 8 hands or after 16 minutes but not both (although it will often work out that you hit the 2 min/hand target). Are you saying you draw a number N and then stop after N*2 minutes?

If so then UTG, UTG+1, UTG+2, etc. still have incentive to stall. For all they know there might be 20 seconds left. At any rate once you're in the "stopping zone" it's more likely to benefit them to stall than to hurt them (by getting them through the blinds and stopping before their button). Seems like what you're trying to avoid no?
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Old 07-09-2018, 04:21 PM   #24
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Re: Stalling a tournament game when close to the money

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I'm confused. You can commit to stop after 8 hands or after 16 minutes but not both (although it will often work out that you hit the 2 min/hand target). Are you saying you draw a number N and then stop after N*2 minutes?

If so then UTG, UTG+1, UTG+2, etc. still have incentive to stall. For all they know there might be 20 seconds left. At any rate once you're in the "stopping zone" it's more likely to benefit them to stall than to hurt them (by getting them through the blinds and stopping before their button). Seems like what you're trying to avoid no?
It's not perfect but it's better than having a set time.

There is 20 minutes left on the clock you are in coming up on the blinds. You can try to stall hoping to avoid paying a second set of blinds. But how much stall do you need. We could be playing to 10 minutes or we could be playing to 16 minutes.

(If you know all the details of our system you can narrow it down a bit which is why I don't give out all the details) but even narrowed down you have less information than the system of playing to a specific time.

There is no practical way to prevent this stall completely unless you choose to not redraw..... If there is no redraw then there is nothing to be gained by stalling at end of day.
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Old 07-09-2018, 04:25 PM   #25
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Re: Stalling a tournament game when close to the money

Tech professionals generally agree "security through obscurity" means something's wrong with your process. In this case, what's wrong is basing it on time rather than number of hands.

If you draw more two hands after the present one and UTG wants to take an hour (and no one calls the clock), it's still two hands.
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