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Slow Play - Slow Playing

Despite what you may think, the term Slow Play does not refer to the player in seat 8 who either isn't paying attention or may be having some technical difficulties if playing online.  Don't worry – there's another term for those people.

But by most poker parlance, Slow Play refers to playing cards below their value.  And such a strategy is usually employed with monster hands such as pocket Aces.  As a matter of fact, let's use pocket Aces as an example.


When you first get those pocket Aces, your initial instinct is usually to give out a holler.  As a matter of fact, most people often internally check themselves to make sure they didn't give some tell that they have a great hand.  But not only does the Slow Player not yell, he barely even bets.   Not that he doesn't bet – how could he not!  But he doesn't drop a raise bomb that leaves the rest of the table grumbling.

The idea, simply put, is to lure players in to a trap, thinking that their marginal hands are just as good as his monster.  Then each subsequent bet is designed to keep his opponents in the hand while building the pot.


When done right, a Slow Player can net a much larger hand then if he had played the pocket Aces as the non-Slow Player.  That is, with a huge pre-flop bet.  That's because the Slow Play is designed to keep at least one player around for a while.  The huge pre-flop raise is designed to take down the pot right away so no one gets lucky and cracks the Aces.  Certainly there's something to be said for that strategy.

The Slow Play is also designed to give the opposition a sense of security, and often works best when they are actually dictating the action.  The Slow Player constantly looking like he's on the defensive and considering folding with each subsequent card.  Imagine how the plan could play out if an Ace actually hits on the flop.


The flaw with the Slow Play strategy is that even monster hands win.  And the longer you allow marginal players with marginal hands to stick around, the more likely they are of making a hand.  That's why even the staunchest of Slow Players will at least raise a little before the flop.  Hopefully, pare down the pool to only a small few, and then back off after the flop.