Among the bluffing tools used to mislead opponents in a poker game, bluffing is the most famous, but it is not the only one. In fact, after the bluff, the slowplay is the most used resource to mislead players.
It started to gain popularity in the first decade after the popularization of online poker, when online games did not have such an impact and online poker was nothing more than a game for amateurs who aspired to nothing in life. Today, online poker is a game with a similar prominence to physical poker and is played by thousands of players around the world. If you are one of them and you have started to take your first steps in poker, pay attention because this will interest you.
What is slowplay in poker?
The premise of slowplay is very simple: it consists of passively playing a hand to confuse the opponent by making him believe that we have nothing. In this way, we will tempt him to steal our hand, believing he is the winner when, in fact, he has to lose.
The idea when a player wants to slowplay is to wait until there is a strong bet. Keep in mind that slowplay is not only successful against players who bluff, but also works well with overly conservative players who tend to overprotect their hands.
As a general rule, the ideal moment to surprise the opponent with our slowplay is at the end, making a sudden re-raise that breaks all the schemes of the opponent.
However, keep in mind that novices and less experienced players in general tend to abuse this tactic precisely because of its effectiveness, something that, however, denotes lack of experience. A professional player will be able to quickly identify when he is in front of a low-level player trying to use advanced bluffing tactics, so it is advisable to use it with caution at higher level tables.
When you have a good hand, it is best to do the opposite of what slowplay proposes: adopt a line of bets and re-raises to shape the pot as soon as possible.
Precautions when using slowplay
Slowplay, like bluffing, can give away the presence of an inexperienced player when overused. But there are other reasons to be cautious when it is a bluffing tactic.
Broadly speaking, there are two main problems with slowplay: that we can lose the chance to increase the pot, thus losing the value of our play, and that we will be giving the opponent a free card if our hand has a crack.
Normally, many players who overvalue slowplay end up succeeding because the opponent ends up retiring at a certain point in the game, but that does not mean that slowplay was the best option, which means that, after a good run using it, we tend to lose touch with reality.
In No Limit games, a slowplay can recover the value that is not generated in the first betting rounds thanks to the over bets, although these plays end up losing profitability when dealing with high level players. This does not happen in Pot Limit games, where it is very difficult to recover the value lost in the first hands. In Limit, the value that is not won is lost forever.
Is slowplay effective in online poker?
It has been online poker that has popularized the slowplay, a tactic that began to be used when you were in possession of a strong hand and you wanted to show weakness. Concealing the strength of a hand convincingly can work very well against rash and impulsive players, although there is virtue in the middle ground and it is necessary to know when to stop.
The slowplay, however, can be exploited by the opponent, since you will be giving away cards of great value with which your hand may not be enough if you have not foreseen the play well, keep this in mind.
When to slowplay without hesitation
There are situations in which slowplay is crying out to be used, and in those cases the success rate, if not total, is almost absolute. For example, when we have an unbeatable hand, slowplay is a good option to corner the players and make an unexpected final raise, giving a zero margin to the opponent, who will have been left without the ability to respond to us.
When facing very aggressive opponents or those who are very thieving, slowplay is also a good idea. Maniac players are especially dangerous, those who play every beat as if it were a showdown. Against this kind of player, it is justified to hide the real value of the cards, taking on a more passive role.
But keep in mind that, even in these cases, using slowplay abusively can be counterproductive and may not even be the best option to solve each hand. In addition, a sign of inexperience is to slowplay when you have aces, something unnecessary since with aces you already have a high probability of winning the hand. Slowplaying in these situations will not be useful for you, but it will give your opponents’ valuable information about your playing style. You will reveal yourself as a somewhat impulsive player who kills flies with cannons and who abuses bluffing tactics with ease. From that moment on, you will be “tagged” and will be an easy target for professional players, who will have seen your weaknesses in no time.