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The Joy and Agony of Slow Playing

Article By: RuffPoker.com

The decision to slow play is a dangerous one, but it can be very profitable. When you slow play, you disguise the strength of your hand and lead your opponent to believe you’re not as strong as you really are. The danger is that when you play your hand weak, you give your opponent’s hand the opportunity to improve.

Slow playing is an art - an underappreciated art. Everyone thinks they can slow play, but in truth, it’s an advanced technique that takes discipline. Here are some tips that will help you make more money slow playing.

Know What Hands to Slow Play

Certain hands slow play better than others. For example, slow playing A-6 on a 6-2-4 board is suicide. Almost any card on the turn could help your opponent more than it helps you. However, slow playing A-6 on a 6-2-A board could work out beautifully. Anyone with A-K, A-Q, or any other A-x will pay you off handsomely.

The best hands to slow play are the nuts─ the best possible hand. Let’s say you have 9-10 and the flop comes J-Q-8. You could make a lot of money slow playing. Once you check the flop, your opponent could forget about the straight possibility completely; and you could clean up.

Don’t Slow Play Coordinated Flops

A Coordinated flop is any flop that has two-cards to a flush or two-cards to a likely straight draw (like Q-J-3). In this situation it’s better to make drawing hands pay to see more cards. If you check the flop or bet small with an over-pair (like A-A), you’re giving the draw the right odds to chase. You never want to give your opponents good odds.

Don’t Slow Play Loose-Passive Players

A loose-passive player always calls; it’s their defining characteristic. In this situation, you’d be crazy to slow play. Bet as much as you think your opponent will call and let them feed you their stack.

Be Willing to Fold

It’s harder than it sounds. Most people can’t do it. How many times have you seen someone go down with A-A because they couldn’t fold? If you want to slow play successfully, you have to be willing to lay down your hand if it looks like your opponent caught their dream card. It takes practice and discipline to be able to watch your monster hand turn to trash and have the guts to fold it.

Slow playing is an important skill to have in your poker repertoire. When used appropriately, slow playing can be used to extract more money from your opponent and boost your overall win rate. However it takes skill and discipline to use this technique correctly. You have to have a good feel for when you should slow play and when you shouldn’t─ but more importantly, you have to be able to fold big hands when you feel you’re beat.

Poker is a predatory game and every weapon you add to your arsenal makes you a better hunter. Slow playing can be a powerful weapon, but it can also backfire. Use it wisely.