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Poker Slowplay Strategy

By Gary Steele

One of my personal favorite poker strategies is the Slowplay. I always look for a table with a lot of wild and loose players to take advantage of, and this is one of the best ways to do so. Slowplaying is when you check or call a bet with a very strong hand in the hopes that someone else at the table will raise. When this works, it is a good way to disguise the strength of your hand and put many extra bets into the pot.

To successfully pull off the Slowplay it is important to know the other players at the table and take your position into table into account. Here are a couple of Slowplay scenarios from a Hold’Em perspective.

Bluffer Behind You

If a person behind you is the type of player who bets at every pot then this will almost always be the profitable play to make on the Flop. In this scenario you know you have the best hand and you know the player behind you will bet with anything to take a shot at the pot. The trick is knowing what the player does on the Turn here. If you know the player will take a shot at the pot again on the Turn, call the bet on the Flop and check on the Turn. If you are not so sure about the bet from this player on the Turn, you cannot afford to give the player a chance to check. You have to take control of the betting. You must raise after their bluff on the Flop, and bet again on the Turn to avoid giving a free card.

Bluffer In Front Of You

This scenario is fairly straight forward. If there is a bet to you and you know you have the best hand, you call the bet to hide your strength and let the bluffer in front of you make the next move. If the player bets again on the turn you can simply call again. The secret here is to appear weak. Take a long time to make your call. You need to give this player the impression that you are on the draw so they will continue to bet into you.

Tight Player Behind you

This scenario depends on the flop. For instance, if you are holding a pair of 10’s in the hole and the flop is:

Ace, 10, 4

You can Slowplay in the hopes that the tight player behind you has an Ace and will bet it. There is no need to raise until the River if the tight player is betting. A raise to these players will shut them down, but a call will usually convince them that they have the best hand. However, if the flop is:

10, 7, 8

No amount of Slowplaying is going to convince a tight player behind you to take a shot at the pot. If the player bets you are probably beat by a straight. Otherwise the player will check to you. In this situation it does not make sense to Slowplay. You should make a small bet here hoping the player calls.

Tight Player In Front Of You

This is a real dilemma on the Flop. If there is decent money in the pot already, go ahead and bet small to try and take it. If you know the player will fold if you bet, it is often wise to check and give the player a free card. In this case you are projecting weakness hoping the player makes two pair on the Turn and bets into you. You are at the mercy of the cards and often cannot dictate any of the action.

At a no-limit table with a couple of wild players, the Slowplay can be a very profitable option. With this technique you often have to give your opponents a shot at making a hand better than yours. Be sure to watch out for other players making their Flush or Straight on the Turn or River and be prepared to get out. It is tough to lose with a good hand, but players usually make it pretty obvious when they get the card they need.

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