Slow playing a big hand is the weapon of choice for most online poker newbies. Indeed, sometimes it is the only weapon that novice players have and you can expect them to use it whenever they hit a hand. However, many players will choose the wrong hands to slow play and this can be their undoing.
Slow playing a hand can work to your advantage many times, but you need to make sure that you are slow playing a monster and not slow playing yourself into losing a big pot. What I mean by this is many players will do something like slow play top pair. Or slow play a straight with a flush draw on the board.
I played against a guy yesterday in a big Full Tilt tournament who slow played his pocket K’s while I had pocket 9’s. The Flop came J-8-T and he bet $90 into a pot of $540. With those odds, I made the call, the Turn was a 7 and I ended up knocking him out with my straight. Very simply put, if he would have made anywhere between a 1/2-pot to pot-sized bet, I would have had to fold my 9’s. But, by slow playing, he gave me the odds to stay in the hand and I ended up sucking out my straight to beat him. This is just one of many instances where slow playing a hand can get you into trouble.
You also need to watch out for slow playing a flush when you do not have an Ace-high. A common occurrence is for a player to hit a flush on the Flop with a hand like 9-T suited and then the Turn or the River is a 4th card of the same suit. Of course, any player holding a J of that suit or better has the winning hand, so it is not a good idea to get too carried away slow playing a flush unless you have the nut flush. It won’t get you into trouble every time, but occasionally it will and you will regret it big time.
Slow playing hands in a valuable tool to have in your arsenal for both online play and off. However, with the plethora of online players with little or no experience, ( as well as the ones who are experienced and understand odds and when to draw to a hand) you have to be careful about when to employee this strategy or it will end up being a losing one.
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