Slow Playing in Poker

Slow playing is a deceiving play in poker a player employs by betting weakly or perhaps simply making flat calls with a strong hand. The objective of the passive slow play is to lure opponents into a pot who might fold to a raise, or to cause them to bet more strongly than they would if the deceptive player had played the hand in an aggressive manner.

Slow Playing in Poker

Slow Playing can be a profitable poker tactic because you can potentially raise the size of the pot by luring your opponent to bluff away a significant portion of their stack or cause them to under estimate the strength of your hand. This tactic is also very risky, because slow playing sacrifices security against hands that may improve and risks losing the pot-building value of a bet if the opponent also checks behind your passive move.

Slow Playing Tips

That being said, here are some guidelines for conditions in which slow playing can be profitable for a player.

  • A player obviously must have a very strong hand
  • The size of the pot shouldn’t be very big
  • The player should have reason to believe that aggressive play will drive out his opponent and cause his big hand to go to waste.
  • The flop or turn should be safe. A player doesn’t want to give an opponent a free or cheap card that could potentially improve his hand to a superior one. Unless a player knows he’s got the win, he should try to protect his hand.
  • The players previous play hasn’t been too loose. If A player is frequently bluffing then slow playing may not be appropriate. Now may be a good time to be aggressive because players will be more likely to call your “potential” bluff.

Common Slow Plays

  • Flat call: This is where a player simply checks and calls bets to appear behind in the hand or to appear weak and suspicious that the opponent is bluffing.
  • Check Raising: A check raise can be a powerful way to get a player to call your raise with a marginal hand because they may be pot committed after your raise. A check raise isn’t the greatest way to bluff because your opponent might call simply because the pot size may be large enough to warrant it. You shouldn’t check raise unless your almost sure you have the dominating hand.