When To or When Not to Slow Play
March 17, 2009
Of all the most deceitful things you have ever seen, slow playing your hand would have to be towards the top of the list. A quick definition of slow playing would be; to have a hand that is relatively strong, however you do not bet it so that you can potentially trap your opponents who then may feel that you are weak.
There are a few forms of slow playing that are not just “checking” a hand. Many times you will see players “flat” call a hand to potentially give the idea that they are weak or that they are drawing to a hand. Not wanting them to improve, their opponents bet into the pot not knowing that is what is expected and desired of them.
To shed some better light, here is an example:
Lets say you are on the big blind with As Js. Everyone folds other than the button who decides to limp in. The button has been a pretty aggressive player up to this point, raising many hands and stealing many blinds. You check your option with a strong hand. The flop comes Ad Jc 4s. What do you do? Well, you have hit 2 pair and it is probably safe to say that your opponent did not improve much, and what you are hoping for is that he has hit a pair or even a worse 2 pair such as A-4.
Since betting here would show strength and not make you any more money if he folds, you decide to check. As you expected, he decided to bet the pot. After thinking for a while, you decide to slow play the hand further and just “flat” call instead of raise. The turn comes a Kh. And again, you decide to check.
This shows both examples of slow playing. What is important to note is that no strength was shown here by raising pre flop, opening the pot on the flop, or check raising his opponent. All of these things may have affected how much money he could have made with his As Js.
Things To Consider While Slow Playing
There is many things to take in consideration when you decide you want to slow play your opponents. Lets take a look at a few:
- You need to take a look at your current table image. If you have the image of a reckless maniac, a flag will be raised when you decide to check after the flop. Players will wonder why all of a sudden you decided to slow down. This would not be a good time to slow play.
- Flop texture is important. Slow playing a hand on a draw heavy board can be dangerous as a free or cheap card can allow your opponents to improve. Your Pocket Aces will only last so long on a board like Kh 10H 8c
- Multiple players in a pot is roughly the same idea as #2, although there is multiple people drawing to better hands. If you are the first player to act and you check your pair or trips, another player will check to get a free attempt at a potential straight or flush.
- A good opportunity to slow play would be against a very aggressive player, especially if you are out of position and check into him. He will bet for sure.
- Trying to slow play a tight player is a bad idea. Generally they are not good at making bets themselves, so you will lose money doing this if you limp in preflop you can show minimal interest with a flat call. A flat call almost screams “I am on a draw”.
- If you are in a bad spot and pick up a great hand, slow play it and check-raise-shove if possible.
In closing, this is a short list of things to check for when deciding to slow play. There may be many factors to take in consideration such as opponents, flop texture, and even yourself. If used correctly, slow playing a hand can be vital to your success as a poker player.
Other General Poker Strategy Articles
- The Continuation Bet
- Advantages of Online Poker Tools
- Online Poker Tells
- Dealing with Bad Beats
- Common Mistakes Made with Pocket Aces
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