If being passive is your forte, then slow playing may your perfect poker strategy. Slow playing is basically a less aggressive, more coy form of bluffing. Think of slow playing as a siren song; you are using your demure front to lure opponents into the pot and to their (metaphoric) death.
Of course, like any poker strategy, slow playing is only as successful as a person’s understanding of its principles. In order to have your slow playing plan work, you'll want to make sure you grasp how and when to use it.
7 Tips for Successful Slow Playing
1. You've got to have gold, son! Unless you really have a strong hand come the flop (i.e. an absolute monster, like two pair) slow playing is probably not your best bet. The object of slow playing is to drag money out of other players who would probably have folded to more aggressive tactics, but this isn't to say that their staying in the game is indicative of a weak hand. They could very well have a pretty decent hand – just not one on which they’d bet heavily. The lesson here? If you are going to bleed your competition, you better make sure you nuts to back it up.
Note: Playing only monsters means you won’t be slow playing often – and this is good! You don’t want your opponents to catch on to your strategy. If they know what you’re doing, they’ll know how to counter your plan of attack. Slow playing is like perfume; it is only effective when used sparingly.
2. Be consistent! If you've been playing fast and loose up to this point, the sudden change of pace to slow playing is going to look mighty suspicious to your competition. As a result, no one is going to take the bait. They’ll be on you like poor Stu Unger on a bottle of hooch. Slow playing is best left to people can consistently projected a tight, aggressive table image. This said, looser players can try their hand at slow playing; simply make sure you gradually start dialling it back and discreetly modifying your image before you implement the strategy.
3. Chase the rainbow. The texture of the flop is incredibly important when considering slow playing. Ideally, you want to steer clear of flops that look like they could easily trend toward clean straights or flushes. Aim to slow play flops that are less cohesive. Go for the rainbows!
4. Who you trying to fool? We want you to consider exactly who you’re trying to slow play. Slow playing a maniac, for example, can be incredibly lucrative since they’re more prone to front insane bets regardless of their hands. Conversely, you don’t want to try slow playing a tight player. Tight players generally only bet when they actually have something, so you aren't going to get much from them without having to take some serious risks and sweat it out come showdown.
5. Size ‘em up to take ‘em down. When it comes to slow playing, size definitely matters. Slow playing more than one opponent is infinitely more risky than a tete-a-tete. Too many players means too many variables, and chances are at least one of those opponents is going to have a hand that can give you a run for your money. Pick one perfect opponent (i.e. loose, aggressive) and then slowly bleed ‘em for all they’re willing to front.
6. Employ the ol’ check ‘n’ call. If you’re in early position, the check-call slow playing tactic is a great way to get a little extra value from your hand. It's as easy as it sounds: when the action comes to you, check (in the event you can check, and if you are in the earliest of early positions, you can) and then let the action fall to your opponent to dump more money in the pot. When the action comes back to you, call their bet, and voila! You've just performed a little cash extraction without having to make an initial investment yourself.
7. Pot perfect. While you want the pot to be pretty hefty come the end of your slow playing endeavours, you don't want to start trying to slow play a big pot. This is because a big pot generally means that your opponents are seriously invested in it. The heat is on, so to speak, and you won’t have as much luck convincing your opponent to give you his share of the breeze for nothing.
There you have it! Slow playing successfully with 7 simple tips. If you take each tip to heart, you can make the slow play work for you.