Below is a 4-way pot that was won by using timing reads. The pre-flop limper is a weak player likely playing one table and the other two players are multi-tabling short stackers.
Poker Stars $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold’em – 9 players
Hero (UTG+2): $50.00
Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is UTG+2 with Q A
UTG calls $0.50, 1 fold, Hero raises to $2, 1 fold, MP2 calls $2, CO calls $2, 3 folds, UTG calls $1.50
Flop: ($8.75) 2 5 3 (4 players)
While this flop is reasonable to c-bet with one or two opponents in the pot, a fourth makes it a little risky. I am also hesitant to bet this flop with the threat of the short stackers shoving draws or weak hands hoping to take down the pot.
UTG checks (3s),
MP2 checks (2.8s),
CO checks (2.4s)
We cannot be certain what the weak player’s fast check means at this time, but the short stackers timing tells us a lot about their hand strength. The fact that they quickly checked, tells us they have no interest in this pot and just want to get to showdown. Any strong hand or draw the short stackers wanted to get in would lead them to bet or at least take time to consider a plan to be deceptive.
Turn: ($8.75) 5 (4 players)
UTG checks (3.5s)
When the weak player quickly checks again, I am now confident he does not have a very strong hand and will likely give up to a bet. If he does call, he likely has a weak draw that we are probably getting value from. This is especially true, since a flush draw is now out there and the weak player would likely bet to protect something we do not beat. With our previous analysis about the two short stackers’ timings, I am confident that I am only dealing with the weak player and am happy to throw out a strong bet.
Hero bets $7, MP2 folds, CO folds, UTG folds
Whenever you are in a multi-way pot, it is important to watch to see if your opponents quickly check behind. Some opponents will even have the check/fold button clicked, which will be indicated by a rapid timing of less than a second. By using this common timing read, you can confidently narrow multi-way pots down to fewer opponents which will greatly increase your equity in them. As always, thanks for reading and good luck at the tables!