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Slow Playing

The Basics of Slow Playing in Texas Holdem
by Jason Green of Predictem.com

Slow playing is a Texas Holdem strategy that can help you increase money in the pot, which will increase the money that you can win. Hey, that's the name of the game!

Slow play is when you check or simply call a solid hand on a betting round in order for you to win more money, as well as larger bets, in later betting rounds.

Simply put, it is a good idea to slow play a very solid hand if you think your opponent will fold if you make a bet. You will allow your opponents to see a free card if it is not too risky for them to see it. By seeing another card your opponent may get a better hand and because of it they may call your next bet. That is when you pounce!

You need to know that many poker players, especially beginners, slow play way too often. There are situations in the game where slow play is very risky. It is not a good idea to use slow play in these cases:

1. A free card will beat the hand you have. It is never a good idea to give an opponent a chance to see a free card if the card can make their hand and beat yours. There are several hands that are a lock when the flop comes out. For example, if you hit a straight on the flop a higher straight will obviously beat you. If you hit a set on the flop, you can lose to a flush or a straight. If there is a small pot and the flop is not very risky, you can allow an opponent to see a free card in some cases, however you need to be careful when giving an opponent a free card that can beat your hand.

2. There is a big pot. It is not a good idea to slow play if there is a really big pot. Obviously, you want to win huge pots. Also, many opponents will act if there is a big pot. A couple of problems with slow playing in big pots are a backdoor flush or a straight. It is dangerous to slow play because a free card may give your opponent a good draw. If there is a small pot you can take the risk, as you will not lose much, but not with a pot that is big.

3. Seeing a free card will give an opponent a solid 2nd best hand. In some cases betting is the way to go if it is not likely that a free card will not bring about much action. Typically this happens when there is either an Ace or King on the flop because there are not too many cards left that will give an opponent the 2nd best hand.

4. There are a lot of players still in the hand. If there are still many players in the hand the pot will tend to be pretty big and it is riskier to allow other players to see a free card. With many players in the hand, you will, many times, get solid action when the flop comes out when playing Texas Holdem of any type. NOTE: There is an exception to this rule if you have a very strong hand, especially the nuts, and if you raise it will scare off many of the players. If this happens you should check if you are in an early position, as a player behind you may raise. If a player bets into you simply make a call if it is the case where if you raise it will cause players behind you to fold.

5. There are weak players still in the hand. Slow play against weak players? Yeah, do it, as if you slow play against weaker players that may always call your bet, you may lose your bets often. However, you should bet against weaker players that call a lot of hands after the flop comes out. These kinds of players will usually pay you anyway, since they are weak, when you are holding a very solid hand.

In conclusion, slow play in a tactic that has an air of deception and should be used in order to confuse other players and to get more players in the pot that would have folded. Slow play is a tad risky when it is the case where free cards will really hurt you, they can make a better hand than yours, and there is already a big pot. You have to know that slow play can come back and bite you in the ass sometimes when you already would have got more action against weaker players or a player that already has a very solid hand.

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