When and Where to Slow Play to Your Advantage in Poker

by Cole Paganelli | October 31, 2019 |

If you are a poker beginner, slow playing is probably something that you don’t do deliberately. However, every experienced player considers this type of play just another strategy. So, what exactly is slow play and how to use it to gain an advantage over your opponents?

What is Slow Play?

Slow play is essentially a type of deceptive play where players deliberately place weak bets and show a certain amount of passiveness when it comes to betting. Professionals use it in order to make opponents gain a false image of their cards and lure them into placing bigger bets.

Here are some essential tips on when and where to use this approach. Read on!

Loose/Aggressive Players

If players play loosely, meaning they take part in the majority of hands and are eager to raise post-flop bets often, they are often the primary target of slow bettors. They are sometimes easier to lure into thinking that they “hold the strings” if you decide to go slow on them.

In other words, loose and aggressive players are more susceptible to slow play. Basically, it’s always wise just to call their bets or check them before you call if you are out of position.

Heads-up Play

Slow playing simply works better when you can focus only on one player instead a couple of others. Therefore, adopting this kind of approach is sometimes wise when you play heads-up. If there are multiple opponents in the game, you will have to pay attention to their style of play, and that would add more complexity to the game. If you’re new to slow playing, make sure to practice it only when there’s one opponent left.

Dry Boards

Dry boards are situations in which community cards (usually on the flop) are not connected in any way, meaning there’s a little possibility they would pave the way for creating straights or flushes. They are extremely inviting for people who want to try and slow play, especially if you have good hole cards.

Let’s say you get pocket aces and the community cards on the flop are an ace, a four and a jack, all different suits. This is usually considered a dry board, and chances are low that the turn or even the river can connect community cards in any way. That way, even if you give a “free card” to your opponents, the chances are high that your aces will still be your best possible hand.

The other reason to slow play in this situation is not to make many opponents fold. If you start out aggressively, people who don’t have as good hands may usually fold early on. By playing slow, you will make the call or even raise, creating a bigger pot for you to claim.

When Not to Slow Play?

Naturally, there are some situations in poker when playing slow is simply not the answer you’re looking for. Playing against multiple opponents is very difficult if you want to pull off a successful slow play strategy.

Moreover, playing slow in wet boards is a huge no-no as your opponents will have more chances for having straight or flush draws, meaning there’s a lot at stake in that case.

Finally, you should avoid slow play when your opponents are tight or passive as they are overall more difficult to be lured into raising your bets, meaning you might not be able to create as big pots as you expect.

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