poker time clock strategy

Effective Use of Time Clocks in Poker – The Time Clock Bomb

Many people look beyond the obvious use of a poker time clock and strategy for using time in their play online. Poker time clocks, what are they for? Can they be used as a bomb, a lethal weapon? You all know what they are for, no question! That’s not what this post is about. This is about effectively using time clocks and not just the time clocks that we have for our personal use in a tournament, not just the clocks that we push the poker TIMECLOCK button for. Turning the timeclock (or timebank) into a bomb!

I know we wish we had more time up our sleeves when making some serious decisions in online poker. Certainly we wish we had more time up our hands come the end of a major tournament. Time clocks (ones used when we push poker TIMECLOCK) have an obvious use, time clocks are used when critical decisions need making and we need time for our heads to run back over what has just happened in a hand and also what things like what we know about a player before we ship those chips into a pot or fold our hand. Saving your time clock is something you really should do for the final stages of a tournament or that make or break decision – the big one. (That’s what i do anyway).

I wanted to go off the subject of using time clocks for this reason though. Every hand you play in online poker you have a certain amount of time to make your decision. You will notice as you play in tournaments some people take a heck of a lot longer to act and play their turn then others. There are 7 reasons for this:

  • They are Multi-tabling and it took them a while to get back to that tournament and that hand
  • They are using all the time they have on their hands to carefully calculate every single hand and decision without auto folding.
  • They are trying to piss you off (this happens in heads-up a lot I have found – bloody turtles)
  • They are calculating a nasty move against you
  • They are deliberately wasting time so the blinds rise higher and more people are knocked out.
  • Their telephone rang, or they were distracted by a child (excuse me for all those delays everyone!)
  • They have connection issues – this normally shows up however.

So, in saying all of those reasons – that come to mind (they are the ones I can think of) we can now look at the reasons and use time clocks and time effectively, for strategy purposes.

Poker should have been called patience. This I am sure of! Slowing down your play and laying off the auto fold if you are not playing a ton of tables is a good strategy move to start with. I really watch what players at my tables do time wise. A player may sit there and you can tell they have selected autofold 10 times in a row. Their hand folds as quick as it is there turn to act. Suddenly this player who has obviously clicked autofold pauses………

Yep! They have a hand and it isn’t 78 of diamonds! The longer they go on trying to make the decision, the more you can actually place them on particular hands – a lot of the time anyway and also in my experience. Think of looking down at AA – Straight away you are betting out big, same applies to KK, QQ, AK suited right? So your opponent who auto folds – they make a quick pause, then suddenly make a big bet – what does this tell you? They usually have a premium hand! They paused and didnt think for long – again TIME “they paused and didnt think for long” Thats not a situation where they have KQ right? You can usually place them on other hands such as mid sized pocket pairs too as they push 1/2 pot bet auto buttons, 2/3, 3/4 and so on. YES you can work out they have such hands even if they do not usually auto fold. I am using them as an example for your strategy use of the time clock. Do not auto fold every hand. You are giving away tells when you do have a hand, believe me, you are. think hard about it……………

Strategy tip 1 for using time – USE IT! Pretty simple tip. Multi-tabling auto fold is much easier obviously, if you can avoid it though. Every single hadn you have a lot of time up your sleeve. You have time pre and post flop, on the turn and on the river and between bets. Use your time – think carefully!

Now, now that you are not just autofolding everything and check fold everything (I left that part out – same applies for auto select check fold and I should state that i am not in any means saying everyone should play like this) you have further online poker time weapons up your sleeve. You can now pull what i call hollywood stunts (refer to article on this blog – just search holly wood – search blog at the left near the top). In summary, you can use time as a trapping mechanism. The article summaries (by memory) Gus Hansen playing a hand online. Durr (by memory) had hit his Ace on the flop. Gus used time before the hand and time after the flop. Durr bet out on the flop AQ? (Gus does this a lot so keep in mind I could be talking a different hand). Gus sat and used as much time as he could before calling. Turn Durr bets again, again Gus uses all the time again before reluctantly calling. The river was blank and Durr pushed all in. Gus snap called (as he does). Gus had hit trip Q’s on the flop. Durr held AK

Strategy tip 2 for using time: Use the time you have as a weapon to trap and trick. …………………………….THE POKER TIME CLOCK BOMB……………………………….

It obviously appeared to Durr that Gus was hesitating, wondering. I am guessing that Durr placed Gus on A rag or A 10. He obviously assumed that Gus was wondering about that kicker – that kicker that he didnt have. Gus effectively used time to trap and trick. i have done this myself many a time, usually when i have the nut flush. It’s a great way to have others commit their chips, Glenn Franco (hunt the man down) has witnessed me do this during at an online poker table times of abuse and mentally stress thrown by other players at me. He was very pleased he could give them a mouthful when i time trapped their arse! Useless woman huh? 😀

Now to using all the time you can in tight situations. Tight situations such as the bubble! I received some strategy advice only today from Michael Pickard, a primarily live poker player whom also is having a tough time with his game at the moment. (Sorry if you didnt want your name mentioned Michael). He told me to slow down the table. I was so close to the bubble, so close I could smell the money but I was one of the lower stacks – not the lowest by any means but quite low. he said – “Stop folding so quickly, waste time”. Now this is something i had forgotten, I left this strategy behind! So simple – slow down, use all the time you can.

Strategy tip 3 for using time: Slowing down your table so you are more likely to make the money.

Its a pretty obvious thing to do. There are 20 stacks smaller then you. There are 7 players until the bubble pops. Use all the time you can even if you have 72os before you fold when in hand for hand mode. You have AA do the same, use all the time you can before jamming out that great big bet. this makes small stacks suffer. it puts pressure on them, they are blinding out, they have to make a move. They may not be on your table, they may be right next to you. You certainly keep the upper hand on them by holding each hand up 20 seconds though right? You are obviously not on all their tables and their table may be folding very fast! That’s not good for them when they have limited blinds. You can almost fold your way to the bubble without premium hands, without playing any hands.

This method can go against you if suddenly the 20 stacks that are lower then you are doubling up – but its unlikely. It sure as hell worked for me today! Try not to make it obvious like I did though. If you do make it obvious, the other players will get so annoyed! That brings me to my next tip.

Strategy tip 4 for using time: Piss Players off with Turtle Style Poker

You have an impatient aggressive player that drives his mouse like a Ferrari? Piss him off! Play turtle poker – it works especially super heads up. Slow down so slow you have them sitting waiting, waiting, waiting every hand they may just say “Screw this!!!!!!!” and play crazier 🙂 I can positively advise that this does occur as i am one of those players that have gotten the shits with turtle man play and just wanted to get the hell out of the SNG. I.e – I had better things to do then sit there waiting for the slow coach opponent to hurry his butt up all for a $5 HU prize. The slow coach turtle won the game, I just wanted out – needless to say, his use of time PISSED ME OFF! (I wouldn’t fall for it now though). I wouldn’t throw a game like that now.

Please note that playing live play you can always call time on someone which also annoys them big time!!

A lot of players do not and will not use these methods, there is no doubt. A lot will though, I am one of them. I hope in one way or another that these little tips will help you.

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