Slow Playing Hands in No Limit Texas Hold em


Slow Playing

Slow Playing is having a hand and not betting into your opponents, which is often used as a trapping method in No Limit Texas Hold em Poker. Usually a player would want to do this when he/she has the nut hand. Another slow-play technique is to not raise your good starting hand pre-flop. Slow-playing can produce both good and bad results; it can be an effective strategy for improving your poker game when used at the correct times.


Slow Playing High Pocket Pairs

I am highly against slow playing cards like AA, KK, QQ and sometimes JJ. In order to slow play you must not raise the pot into your opponents. If you have a big pocket pair and do not raise pre-flop, you are leaving yourself open to a few things. One risk is letting the big blind limp in with whatever 2 random cards he/she is holding and maybe flopping 2 pair. Another risk is letting players limp in by calling the blind - you are letting all of these players see the flop very cheaply and draw against your AA, KK or QQ.

There is a way to slow play these cards. If you are in late position and a player before you raises (if the raise is big enough or to your liking), you can only call this bet and not re-raise. If nothing scary to you flops (like 3 suits or 3 connectors) there are a few ways to play this hand. You can continue with your slow-play, checking to your opponents and calling any bets they lay out to you. If you want to push your opponents out of the pot at this point, you should go all-in. If you decide to keep slowplaying, hoping to get your opponent to bet into you, you should continue this until the river, checking and calling. If it checks down to the river, you should make a hefty bet when the last betting round occurs. If your slow-play has worked well you will get your opponent to call whatever bet you make and then take the pot (assuming your big pocket pair still holds up).

Slow Playing a Nut Hand

Slow playing a nut hand is much more fun and a lot less iffy. Say you are in the big blind with 67, no one raises pre-flop, and you get to see the flop for free. 345 off-suit flops. You can check this hand hoping that someone will bet at the pot, again setting a trap. The turn is an 8, giving you an even better hand, you continue to check and let your opponents bet into you, calling their bets. A king off-suit rivers giving you the unbeatable hand.

What you do here may vary depending on your position. If you are in early position (first to act) and check in an attempt to trap the other players, you run the risk of everyone checking down and not making any more money on the hand. If you are in late position, you are the last to act and can bet if everyone checks to you. In the last betting round, if in early position, you must decide whether or not you want to risk not making as much as you possibly can with this nut hand. If you decide to check, hopefully your slow-play worked and your opponent will bet. This is where you raise (if your opponent's bet did not put you all in, in which case you would naturally call), you are guaranteed to at least split the pot and can only take more chips by raising this bet.

I am not usually a proponent of slow-playing big pocket pairs because I have found that this can get you in trouble a lot of the time. Your best bet is to get a good amount of chips in pre-flop. If you have the self control to check AA and let players see the flop very cheaply and FOLD if you think you are beat, then more power to you. It's always a great feeling when a slow-play works perfectly, especially if you win a huge pot with it. When you add slow playing methods to bluffing and play your position correctly, your game will noticeably improve.

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