Slow Play

The cunning art of the poker slow play.

What is a slow play?

A slow play in poker is when a player purposely plays his hand 'slowly' or in a way that makes his opponent think that he has a much weaker holding than he does.

What is a good situation for a slow play?

Slow playing when used at the right time is a very powerful tool but as I've just said, it's all about timing and making sure you're doing it against the right opponent type.

  • When you have a monster hand
  • When you have a monster (very strong) hand most players automatically decide to slow play which can be a huge mistake. However it is often a good idea to slow play your strong hands when you are facing an opponent who is really loose and aggressive and will likely make lots of big bets as bluffs.

  • When the flop is very safe (dry flop)
  • When you have a hand that you're not scared of many turn or river cards then slow playing can often be a good idea if there just isn't much that your opponent can have. This again helps if your opponent is aggressive but if for example you check a hand on the flop and he checks back, in many cases you should fire the turn and try to start getting some money in the pot.

  • When your opponent seems very tilted
  • This is very similar to the first situation but it's really important to keep an eye on opponents mood changes. Perhaps you've just seen an otherwise solid looking player lose a few big pots in a row and he's noticeably angry. This is a great situation to be adjusting to your opponent.



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    Bad situations to slow play

    I all too often see lots of beginner players completely misapply the slow play and use it at completely the wrong times. Here are a few situations that may be bad to slow play.

  • When your opponent is very passive
  • When your opponent is very passive then you have to ask yourself "what is his likely action going to be if I check to him"? Well from a passive player it's likely going to be to check back all marginal hands. So against this type of player it's best to just build the pot yourself with bets and just hope he has some kind of hand that he can over value and pay you off with. Passive players are not too bluffy so don't think you're missing out on much by doing the betting when you have a nice hand.

  • The board is dangerous
  • When you have a very connected or wet flop where lots of turns and rivers could easily complete a lot of draws then you want to play your strong hands nice and fast. Firstly because you don't want to allow your opponents to draw for free and perhaps improve to a better hand but also because on connected flops people often have so much more that they can call you with and very rarely put you on a strong hand either (they may think you have the draw). So wet or connected flops (same thing) just play nice and fast to get the most money that you can. This will be far more profitable than a slow play.


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