Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Timing Is Everything

First a sour note. Carmen has her orientation tomorrow at the MGM so I'm meeting her there after she's done to have dinner and play some cards. That unfortunately means no Mookie tomorrow. I'll miss you guys but hopefully the fishing will be good.

Another sour note. I took 33rd in the WWDN, so much for getting over the hump of winning instead of just reaching the final table. First hand after Break #1 my 4xBB raise with KK got called by A2 sooted and the flop came with JQK all hearts. Yep my set of Kings loses to a flopped flush and instead of being in the top 3 I'm on the rail. Now the player that railed me had some big-assed red leaf as his icon which I took to mean he was Canadian so I inquired with Kat if by chance with exchange rates that A2 sooted was maybe some premium hand I didn't know about up in Saskatchewan but she politely said it wasn't. Oh well should have layed it down. Hopefully no Canadians were harmed in my writing of the above.

My timing obviously sucked on that hand which brings me to my take on the scorching hot topic of luck -vs- skill. Now I'm a much bigger believer in timing over anything but I'll stick to the topic at hand.

First, how skillful a player are you? If 10 times out of 10 times you get all your money in with the best hand you're extremely skillful. Five of 10 average. Zero out of 10 take up watching TV. Skilled players get sucked out on and bad players do the sucking out but over the long-haul skill wins this battle. No matter the suck-out rate more skills better results.

Going forward Player A is more skilled than Player B who is more skilled than player C etc.

Player A will shred lesser players post flop. The times Player B sucks out is negated by how many times Player A's hand holds up plus how many times A gets B to fold. Huge Edge A.

Player A can maximize winning and minimize losing on both individual hands and during whole sessions. Give Player A and Player B the exact same hands in the exact same situations. Player A wins $50 but player B only wins $30. Player A loses $30 but player B loses $50. Over a session A wins $500 B wins $300 or A loses $300 but B loses $500. Skill prevails short-term and long-term.

Player A is better than Player B at reading the table and as a result can win by bluffing much more frequently. At the same time those reads enable A to lay down hands that B in incapable of. Advantage skill.

Add just these three factors together and the skillful player makes the money again and again.

Now let's add some timing to the mix and see where it takes us.

Now we all have the luck factor in being dealt our starting hands and most would probably say good luck equals good starting cards bad luck equals bad starting cards right? Not neccessarily.

What if once an orbit you were dealt QQ, KK, AK(Which didn't improve), AA and you ran into KK, AA, 6-6, everyone folded. You had great luck in getting cards but your timing is horrible because your down $300. On the other hand you get 2-5, 2-6, 3-5, 4-7 consistenly for four orbits and your only down $12 for losing blinds. Bad luck for cards but in much better shape than the other guy who had good luck for cards but bad timing.

I really feel that timing is extremely important not only in poker but in everyday life.

An unskilled electrician does some wiring on a house and because of it its inevitable the wiring will cause a fire. Timing is when the fire starts. Is it in the middle of the night when the family is asleep or the middle of the day when nobody is home?

Skill prevails over luck, timing effects both skill and luck. Timing is everything.


At 10:54 AM, Blogger jjok said...

Just keep on busting me why dontcha?


Good job last night. That QJ was the best hand I saw all night. I figured I wanted a chance to suck out on you, guess that didn't happen.

Don't let the leaf bring you down.....and I can't believe you aren't going to play the Mookie!!! Not fair!

Good writeup on the value of luck too, you put it in very simple terms that I think brings the point across as crystal as it comes.

Take care brother, go Heat, go Mavs, and I look forward to a little prop bet come Finals time....

At 10:56 AM, Anonymous mookie99 said...

Sorry you guys can't make it out tonight, but good luck at the Fish Tank.

Btw, can we still get the Vegas lines on the Mookie tonight ?

At 2:43 PM, Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

Great Post Don. I really enjoy the way you think. Not only because you agree with me alot. heh.

At 3:11 PM, Blogger smokkee said...

good post. i agree on all points. it definitely helps to be lucky tho. i need to eat more lucky charms.

At 3:37 PM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Isn't timing really just luck? It is timing if your AA faces KK all-in preflop, but isn't it luck that you were dealt AA when your opponent was dealt KK?

On another note, "Skilled players get sucked out on and bad players do the sucking out but over the long-haul skill wins this battle." Here is the problem with that statement. It sounds right immediately, but Brunson in Super/System says that people always think that he gets lucky because he usually gets him money in there with the best of it. He explained that he picks up a bunch of small pots so he can gamble a bit on marginal hands or draws. As a result, people think that he is very lucky since he often gets it in there with the worst of it before he catches his card. So, it is not always true that good players get in there with the best of it all of the time. But generally, the statement works with the tight is right approach that most players/bloggers adhere too, myself included at times.

I think you just found me a new topic to blog about.

At 3:53 PM, Blogger Miami Don said...

In no way do I see luck and timing being the same thing Jordan.

I think having AA against KK is timing, I think KK hitting the two outer is luck.

Doyle Brunson or anyone else who take chances when they are a 65% underdog are relying on luck to hit their draws.

Now whether or not you have a big stack or little stack certainly will influence how you decide to play a hand but no matter what if its still about luck whether or not you hit when your an underdog and behind.

And does Doyle call a Player who bets $3000 into a $1000 pot with a flush draw? I doubt it. If he's drawing the implied odds might keep him around in a multi-way pot but no way he's paying 1.3:1 when his odds are 3:1.

Simplify don't overanalyze!

At 6:14 PM, Blogger GaryC said...

Wow, what a post, Don. Very nice.

I'm anxious for you to start these types of posts on a regular basis. Oh, and by the way, I agree 100%.


At 7:38 PM, Blogger Iakaris aka I.A.K. said...


Helpful and clear.

What better compliments are there for a post on poker?

I have wondered about that very passage in SS2 that Jordan quotes...I've interpreted it to mean skill is the ability to play tight/aggressive and win the pots beforehand that allow the occasional hand where he gambles and can come from behind for a big score (luck).

At 8:51 PM, Blogger surflexus said...

Hey Don, We'll miss you guys tonight. Talk to you soon....George (surf)


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