Timing is Everything in PokerArticle By: Zane Johnson
Poker has everything to do with timing. It’s bad timing when you shove your KK into AA, and it’s good timing when your KK pick up another king on the flop to destroy the rockets. Then, once again, the timing turns bad when an ace hits the river. Hands like that illicit screams of “rigged!” from online players. In truth, however, it’s only a matter of time before you see something like this happen and it’s only a matter of time before it happens to you.
Poker is all about probabilities. You win by taking the best odds the majority of the time. However, the underlying factor of winning over the long haul is time. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:
I’m an avid poker player. I’ve played off and on since I was ten years old and I’ve played online almost daily since 2002 give or take a couple years. My wife’s family, on the other hand, has never played poker. They don’t even know the rules. If I were to teach them how to play and sit down at a Sit ‘N Go with nine of them, there’s a chance I wouldn’t win. It’s likely I’d win, but not certain. That’s because poker involves luck when you look at it from a micro level. However on a macro level, there is no luck in poker.
For example, while I may lose one game against my wife’s family, it’s unlikely I’ll lose several games to them. Time will show who the better poker player is. The more games we play, the more likely I am to come out ahead. If it were possible to play 1,000 Sit ‘N Goes in the span of an hour, I’d certainly win the majority of them.
It’s impossible to time your raises properly, or time your all-in shoves correctly unless you understand expected value and inflection points. Every move you make in poker has either a positive or a negative expected value (EV) in any given situation. The best players know which situations are EV+ and which ones are EV-.
Remember that EV+ moves can still lose in the short term; however they’ll make you money in the long run.
One of my worst beats ever was losing a $300 pot when my trip kings got called on the flop by two people chasing the same flush draw. I was favored by approximately 72% to win─ maybe a little more if you include the chance that I could beat the flush with a full house. Unfortunately it was bad timing. I lost the hand. I had to stop playing for the day to avoid going on tilt. But if I had to do it again, I’d do the same thing. It was the right thing to do even though it resulted in a loss at the time.
Time is your friend in poker. The better the player you are the better of a friend time is to you. So the next time you get sucked out on, shrug it off and keep playing. You’ll get your money back. It’s only a matter of time.