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The Clock Review

www.tournamentclock.com

The Clock timer page The Clock (Home Edition) is a poker tournament manager that is used by many professional card rooms and casinos. You might have heard of the author, Paul 'Great Brit'  Westley. You might see him playing in the World Series of Poker and ... you might even notice that his poker clock is being used at that event! That's right, this is a home version of the poker clock that is used at the WSOP.

Configuration

The Clock is one the least customizable of the poker clocks reviewed. You can't really alter too much about the screen except for the colors. The blinds schedules and payouts are fully customizable but the screen layout is mostly unalterable. The author wanted consistency so the program will always look the same as what you see in a casino.

Banners

The Clock allows you to customize the timer screen with banners. The banner can be simple text such as your name or the name of your poker tournament. The banner can also be an animated gif or a marquee (scrolling text).  There are quite a few banner options. You can insert advertising and the ads can change at certain times or from one blinds level to the next. These features could prove invaluable at large tournaments where you could not only advertise but you could also post tournament announcements to all the players.

Suggested Blinds

The Clock contains all the 2004 WSOP blinds schedules - Limit, No-limit, Hold'em, Stud, Omaha, both main event and satellites. It includes almost 200 blinds structures from various poker tournaments from different casinos ... 36 from the WSOP, and dozens of others from The Four Queens Classic, Caribbean Poker Classic, Showdown at the Sands, and The World Poker Challenge.  There's even a H.O.E., a HORSE, and a Triple Draw schedule. There are also 9 home game structures included. You can modify any of these schedules.

Tracking Players

This program does not track individual players as they buyin, rebuy, or bust out of your tournament. You must manually enter the total number of buyins, rebuys, and add-ons before it will calculate your payout. You add and remove players by pressing the - and = keys on your keyboard, you can also add or subtract one hundred players at a time by pressing H.

Payout

There are 70 preset payouts, ranging from home games of 2-3 players to tournaments of thousands of players. The WSOP, The Sands, The Commerce, your basement tourney ... they're all here! You can modify any preset payout. You can also create, and save, your own payouts.

Wizards

The Clock settings page There is a very robust Structure Wizard and an Analyze Wizard. The Structure Wizard will create a blinds schedule based partly on the number of entrants and rebuys/add-ons, the total number of chips, and the desired time length of your event. You can create customized schedules based on when your tournament should end (% of total chips in play, etc.) and then adjust your schedule depending on what actually happened the last time that you played. If the tournament did not end at the predicted time, you can adjust the 'formula' used by the program to make it a more accurate structure the next time that you use it.

The Analyze Wizard estimates how long an existing poker tournament structure should run. It is an invaluable tool used by many casinos to 'tweak' the length of their poker tournament structures. It appears that if you ask ten professional poker tournament directors how long a tournament should last - you will probably get ten different answers! The Analyzer is a work in progress and you should contact the author if you have discovered a foolproof perfect method for predicting when a poker tournament will end. I'll stick to the tried and true methods discussed on my Blinds page. Those methods do an effective job for small tournaments.

Alternate Language

The Clock was the only poker clock that had language capabilities other than english. You can alter the words that are displayed on the screen so, in effect, you can use almost any language.

Deck Change

The Clock and Dr. Neau's Tournament Manager are the only programs that notifies you when it is time to change decks of playing cards.

Calculate a Fair Chip Deal

The Clock is the only program that will calculate a 'chop' of the payout. If there are only several players remaining in the tournament and they decide to split the payout money between them, this tool will help calculate how much of the payout each player should receive, based on their chip total.

Make Changes on-the-fly

You can make changes to the blinds and payout structures and add breaks and color-ups while the clock is still running. If extra players show up for your game, you can simply add more payout positions.

Help Screens

The Clock has some pretty decent help screens. There is a help button at the bottom of the screen that contains a page or two of help on how to use that page.

Cost

The casino edition of this program sells for $1,500. The charity event edition is $500. The home edition of this product is expected to be released in June 2005 and sell for under $30 but cannot be used for commercial purposes.

Overall

The Clock is a different breed of animal than all the other poker tournament clocks reviewed here. It is clearly capable of running a large tournament but also performs well for small home tournaments. If you run large denomination tournaments ($10,000) or would like to try different structures used by casinos, this program is for you. I found the included tournament structures to be very interesting and you can easily add your own structures. I'm still messing around with the Structure Analyzer to see how long tournaments should last. If you hold a variety of tournaments (Hold'em, Stud, Razz, even H.O.R.S.E.!) then this program is definitely for you.

The Clock contains some features not found on any other poker clock - preset WSOP schedules, deck changes, a 'fair chip deal' calculator, a good blinds structure creator, and excellent advertising capabilities. If you want a clock to run your home tournaments and you might also be interested in holding the WSOP in your basement ... this is the program for you!

Update - January 2012NEW

"The Registration" is a new, top of the line registration solution for your poker tournaments. For a free demo copy or for more information and pricing please visit 'The Clock' website. You can read the announcement email in the HPT Email Forum.

Visit "The Clock" website
The Clock timer
www.tournamentclock.com

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