Using the Clock to Slow Down Play

Other than giving myself time to carefully decide how to play my turn (and also annoying the players at my table), am I actually achieving something positive when I run down the clock on my turns during a multi-table tourney? My theory has been that by slowing the game at my table, I am allowing more players at other tables to go out, giving me a better shot at ending in the money. I realize, however, that the blinds are also going up as time passes, so maybe that reduces any benefit I give myself by slowing the game. Thoughts?

2 Likes

Helps to have a larger stack of chips in order to compensate for the bigger binds. However, having a Player Rep doing the slow dance well that’s for another post LOL. It’s all fun here but just so you know I would never ever do the slow dance. Haha.

2 Likes

I like when players slow the clock down. Gives me more choices on how I’m going to play the hand without getting all the negative comments for slow play. Thank you Jan…

4 Likes

Some players are either trying to irritate their opponents or they think it makes them less predictable to wind down the clock. However, while I don’t mind it, sometimes it is annoying when all they ever do after letting the clock wind down is fold. Some players let the clock wind down on every hand while knowing they are going to fold no matter what. I don’t really see the point.

5 Likes

Just to clarify–although perhaps not forgivable (by you) even though–I never run out the whole clock, just half of it. :slight_smile: And the guy who plays just before me goes all in if he’s heads up with me every time–knowing I’ll fold. We all have strategies–I’m just not sure mine is all that valuable! (His works great. lol I need to adjust my play.)

2 Likes

This reminds me of something Annie Duke said a few days ago. She had stopped by the commentator’s booth during a WSOP livestream, noticed someone insta-folding, and mentioned that pro players never insta-fold.

The reason the pros take some time, according to Duke, was that it makes the other player uneasy, and you want people to be uncomfortable entering pots with you. She wants to associate herself with you feeling fear and discomfort.

It’s an interesting idea, but one that can be easily abused.

8 Likes

Ah wife seen this and threw a taco at me! said my dry sense of humor is bad and to apologize so please accept apology and all things are forgivable right?

3 Likes

No apologies needed, but if you and your wife would feel better, you can spot me some chips. :slight_smile: I’m only thinking of you. (Or your wife could throw tacos my way.)

5 Likes

Yes, this is a good strategy especially when close to the bubble, IMO. Except if you have a good hand then don’t slow the game down, you don’t want any opponents to think about their hand outs.

3 Likes

You are exactly right Jan. There are a few exceptions :

There are times you might be attemtpting to slow down the play or speed it up when you are trying to position yourself in relation to the blinds prior to the breat and the end of the rebuys if it is a rebuy tourney. Nice to start the first hand after the break with the button. Also, When the tourney start and up until the final table, you are playing against the entire field, not just the players at your table like in a ring game. Causing more hands to be played at all the tables other than yours helps you and everyone at your table. More people eliminated at the others. That stratege ends as soon as the final table is balanced to all the remaining players in the tourney.

2 Likes

:rofl:

1 Like

Yeah, slowing your table down should let more people bust out at other tables, and this does help you ladder, but it also means that the average stack increases. Every time someone busts (unless you bust them) your stack loses ground relative to the average stack.

Since you are playing less hands, it also becomes harder to keep up.

I would rather play more hands, giving me more opportunities to stack a few fellas.

If one gets to the bubble with an average stack, they will find themselves at the lower end of the top third of the remaining field. For example, with 21 left and 20 paying, those having the average stacks will currently be in about 7th place.

Slowing the game down if you are much shorter stacked than that may not be the best idea.

3 Likes

This is the exact conversation I was hoping I could find here on this topic. :slight_smile: I’m learning what I wanted to learn. As always, it’s not cut and dried. I’ll keep using it–but maybe a bit more judiciously. I’d already been keeping my eye on the blind size going up, making sure I got my BB and SB in before the rise every time. So selfish.

1 Like

Check the lobby once reg closes, and multiply the number of entries times the starting chips to get total chips in play. Divide this by the number of positions paid +1 and you will know what the average stack will be at the bubble.

We can use this as a rough target… we want to be at least at that stack at that point in time. If we are falling behind this goal, we can up the aggro level, open our range a little, and accept more volatility to get us back into the game.

If, on the other hand, we find ourselves ahead of the pace required to meet our goal, we can tighten up a bit and play a little more passively in order to preserve chips and reduce volatility.

This is just another layer on top off all that other stuff we usually think about, not a stand-alone kinda thing.

3 Likes

During a tournament such as the replay team championship or a satellite where it matters to just get to a certain position it is a viable strategy. In just basic MTT tournaments I see it having little effect because you are getting rid of any skill edge you have by playing less hands, so it gives you less opportunities to use your skills to win the whole tournament. As a general rule, I would consider it in tournaments where reaching a certain spot is the main goal but ignore it if the main goal is winning the tournament.

3 Likes

This is really concrete and helpful. Thanks, SPG.

2 Likes

I often play an SNG table with an opponent who routinely runs the clock down nearly all the way. They also fold for a large percentage of the game. I once counted 15 straight folds before I lost count. Still trying to figure out the hand they are looking for. But as their ranking is twice as high as mine I cannot say they are wrong. It has changed my game though.

Yeah, it would change my game too.

Mostly by making me try to steal their blinds every chance I get. :slight_smile:

2 Likes

I think there are reasons to play slowly, and reasons not to.

Reasons against:

  • Taken past a certain point, it is just rude, especially in a play money setting
  • In a tournament, you have a fixed number of opportunities to double up before being consumed by the rising blinds, and anyone playing slowly at the table means everyone at the table is falling behind players at tables where the action is moving more quickly; in a cash game, if you win a certain amount per hand played, then your winnings are declining when you play fewer hands per unit time
  • Most people probably do not have much fun watching the sand flow in the hour glass…
  • Against a certain kind of opponent, I find that an all in massive over bet with the nuts generates a kind of auto-call response, even with hands without any show down value, and so I’m likely against this specific breed of player to try and jamm with the nuts rapidly
  • At levels where players are scarcer, it can be hard to keep tables going; I think a lot of people are looking for a table with a reasonably fast rate of play, and might not be willing to play as much at a table with one or more really slow players

Reasons for:

  • Poker is a hard game; there can be a lot of factors to try and weigh against each other
  • Some people don’t want to give timing tells; if you play fast most hands, but then take a lot of time on some, then you’re probably facing a harder decision, which tends to condense your range
  • If I’m bluffing, I feel I get a slightly higher fold rate by taking a little longer before betting; I think this lets the pressure build a bit, and gets the opponent worrying about strong hands you might have
  • If you find someone at the table tilts a lot if you play slower, it can be tempting to slow down at least a few times. I’d argue this is bad sportsmanship – not as bad as insulting another players mother, but you are still trying to offend someone to the point where they will play worse. Still, if I take a bit longer because I have a hard decision, and someone else want to tilt in response to that, I have a hard time not feeling good about that.
3 Likes

I play slow because I study the table. I also have a small ability to read other players. Play slow to get another player to play poorly, as they say all is fair in love and war. To play slow for an advantage is poker. To play slow for the sake of playing slow is crap.

4 Likes