Slow Playing in Texas Hold'em
As an online Texas Holdem player, you have many tactics at your disposal in order to build your stack. One of the strategies you can use in all forms of poker is the slow play. Slow playing is when you intentionally don't bet a strong hand in the hopes of trapping your opponents who bet into you. This technique is often adopted if up against aggressive players and by limping or calling a bet, you are sure you will entice a raise from one of your opponents.
Comparing with playing live poker, you should be slow playing less frequently online - especially in no limit games. The simple reason for this is that online players are far looser. They call more, and they expect that others are bluffing far more than they actually are. There is a certain comfort from the protection of a virtual world. There are many online players who are happy to take free cards to try and fill their draws, so slow playing big hands adds more risk that you let someone outdraw you on the cheap. The safe way is to bet your hand. Monster hands are far more difficult to lay down once boards cards are dealt.
You should not slow play if you are facing a big draw, especially against multiple players. If you have 88 and the flop comes 8h 9h 3s, you should definitely bet. You don't need to move all in, but you should bet enough that flush or straight draws will be paying to see another card.
Aggression to your left
A good time to slow play in no limit Holdem is where you have a big hand with a number of aggressive players left to act after you, especially if the board is non-threatening. Often we will be up against players who always bet if checked to them. These are great spots to give them a little rope. If you have QQ and the flop comes As Qh 5c, this can be a good opportunity to slow play and let your opponent lead out. There are no flush or straight draws to worry about, and anyone with an ace is likely to bet. Once they do bet, you don't want to scare them off. As long as the there are no danger cards, let them drive the betting.
As with any decision in Texas Hold em, determining whether or not it is appropriate to slow play will be dependent on your determination of what kind of players your opponents are and how likely they are to respond. It can be demoralizing when you slow play and get no action or worse, let rag cards hit a monster flop.
If you are facing aggressive players who are likely to pounce on any check as a sign of weakness, you should consider slow playing. If you are against loose passive players who will pay anything to try and hit their draws, you should bet out and make them pay for the privilege. They will hit some and when they do, fold and move on to the next hand.
Just remember, big hands should be winning big pots. Big pots are not possible if you don't bet.
Important Beginners Guides..
Read this no nonsense guide on how to play poker - covering the basics and game play. Perfect for those starting out.
A no nonsense guide on how to play poker. Ideal for beginners looking to learn how to play Texas Hold'em.
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