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The Art of SlowPlaying

Poker Play – The Art of Slowplaying in Poker

The art of poker slowplaying, like a kind of reverse bluff, can be one of the most lucrative poker strategies out there.

Slowplaying for fun and profit

The art of slowplaying is a masterful strategy, and not one that beginners can often pull off. This is largely because it's the sort of thing that wouldn't readily occur to someone new to the game.

Newbies often are stuck in the head space of playing by the rules and making sure they have something and doggedly making massive raises in the hopes of scaring experienced players. In fact, everyone loves newbies. They make us rich.

But if you want to learn an indispensable skill, try wrapping your head around the art of slowplaying.

It's bluffing, but not as we know it, Jim

Slowplaying is basically a form of bluffing. Now, usually, when you think about bluffing, you think about trying to pretend, through outward expression and through aggressive raising, that you have decent cards. The hope is that your opponents will be fooled into folding, guaranteeing you access to the nice fat pot.

But here, the aim is to be holding extremely brilliant cards that you acquired as early as possible, and try to fool everyone into thinking you're holding rubbish.

What's the point of that?

It's brilliant. If you are genuinely holding a rock solid, unbeatable hand, how do you profit best from it? By having your opponent try to raise the crap out of you, that's how. And what better way to achieve this than by giving the impression that you've either got nothing in your hand or are maybe hanging in there grimly in the hopes of seeing a decent river card?

Get it now?

Growing the pot

Let's give you a scenario. Say you get King Ace of spades in the hole, and the flop comes down 10, Jack, Queen of spades. You have the almighty royal flush. Wow! Nice going! But how are we going to make sure that we get more than just the blinds out of this?

You check.

Now, maybe your opponent hit a pair of queens. Maybe they lucked out and actually managed a flush of their own. Or maybe they have nothing and they just want to psych you out. Whatever the reason is, if they've fallen for your slow play, they raise it up.

Maybe some others call. Maybe some others drop out. You, however, make a show of looking at your hole cards again, maybe chew your lip a bit, and eventually call. You do NOT raise.

The best slow plays happen when the opponent actually has a hand, or thinks they do. Because as the turn and river come around, they'll keep raising. And you just appear to be hanging grimly in there, when really what you're doing is watch them give you more of their money.

The crunch

The art of slowplaying is the sweetest if your victim shoves all in on the river. Either they think they've got something, or it's one last, desperate attempt to dissuade you from proceeding.

Casually you call.

Apologetically, you reveal your King Ace.

Satisfyingly, you pull that mammoth stack of chips toward you. Job well done.