Poker Strategy - Slow Playing
is a strategy used to deceive your opponent into thinking that you have a weaker hand than you actually have. By initially playing your hand weak, you are giving confidence to your opponent that he/she has the stronger hand, thus inducing your opponent to bet into your winning hand. The end result is a much larger pot. Now there is risk to slow playing a hand, and it should be done carefully under the right circumstances.
David Sklansky (p144, The Theory of Poker
1999) puts forward five requirements that need to hold before you consider slow playing:
- You must have a very strong hand
- The free card or cheap card you are allowing other players to get must have good possibilities of making them a second-best hand
- That same free card must have little chance of making someone a better hand than yours or even giving that person a draw to a better hand than yours on the next round with sufficient odds to justify a call
- You must be sure you will drive other players out by showing aggression, but you have a good chance of winning a big pot if you don't
- The pot must not yet be very large
Slow playing is a good way to get better value for your very strong hands, but proceed with caution because you will be giving away a free card to your opposition; so you need to make sure that even when the opponent improves, your hand is still strong enough to win. Slow playing is a fine art and played wrongly you will suffer a few bad beats but be sure to learn from mistakes and this can become a lucrative tool.