Slow-Playing: Counterproductive Strategy

Slow-Playing: Counterproductive Strategy

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The goal of poker is to win as much money as you can. That is our main motor which pushes us on. If anyone has a different objective he should not play poker, but something else.

All strategic manoeuvres that we use are just a means to achieve our purpose: the money. The more we understand this, the more erroneous slow-playing seems to be. The even bigger mistake is to use such a strategy too much as the majority of poker beginners do.

In most situations slow-playing is counterproductive. If you want to get the most money in the pot, you will never be able to do that by continuous checking. In order to build pots you need to bet your big hands.

When you flop a monster you have a chance to steal your opponent’s stack. Slow-playing is not the best method here to do that. The reason is that you often find yourself with a small pot, when you slow-play. If you want to get your stack into the middle it will be very difficult having the small pot.

Building the pot step by step during the entire play will give a positive result. Finally, it will become big enough, so that you can comfortably bet your whole stack.

If you build the pot the entire way it will be much easier for you to get your entire stack into play. Large pot can also gives another player incorrect odds. He may have felt on the river he was pot-committed because 60% of his stack has already been put into play and the pot is offering 4-1 on his call, making it extremely difficult to fold.

Of course there are times when slow-playing may be useful. Any strategy in poker can’t work correctly all the time and in whatever conditions. Before making any decision about your actions you always should take into account the table dynamics, your image, your opponents’ playing behaviour, etc.

One of a few situations where the usage of slow-playing will probably be efficient is against a super-aggressive player if you know him to bet three streets strong with weak holdings and continue his aggressive moves until he is played back at. In that case there is nothing bad if you want to slow-play.

Note that this situation isn’t wide-spread in poker, so you have to be aware of the table dynamics all the time. First of all, make sure that this opponent is going to keep betting.

As a conclusion, remember that it is not necessary to forget about slow-playing once for all. However, making a habit out of slow-playing all your big hands you are likely to lose out on much value!