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>> Slowplaying Hands in Online Poker - Online Poker Strategy

The Dangers of Slowplaying in Online Poker

Written by Haunted Poker for exclusive use.


The purpose of slowplaying in poker is to allow your opponent(s) to catch up to your holding in order to bet for value on future betting rounds. Many players who hit two pair or better on the flop donít want to scare off their opponents with a bet or raise, so they just check and/or call to disguise the strength of their hand. Theyíre hoping that their opponent will either try to bluff on the turn, or will make the second-best hand.


Slowplaying runs rampant online, and it probably stems from beginner players watching the pros do it in televised tournaments. Unfortunately, most beginner players donít realize that the pros do it for calculated reasons. They know their opponents, study them, and understand that most other professionals donít play garbage cards and trash draws very often.


Online poker becomes looser and wilder every day with more and more inexperienced players joining the action. On many flops, 5 or 6 players are still in the action. Of those 5 or 6 players, youíre just about as likely to run into 9-4 offsuit as A-K. To begin to understand the dangers of slowplaying online, you need to realize that many online players will call the minimum bet with any two cards. Even if you have a premium hand and raise it strongly from early position, youíre likely to get 1 or 2 callers with garbage cards hoping to get lucky.


Most of the time, you donít want to slowplay online. Of course, there are special circumstances where you should slowplay, but weíll get into those later. Firstly, letís explain when and why you shouldnít slowplay a hand.


Letís suppose that youíre in a no-limit cash game and just call the minimum bet with your pocket 10h-10d from middle position. There are 2 callers behind you, and the big blind checks it to the flop, which shows 10c-9c-2d. Youíve just hit the nut hand at this point Ė a set of tens! The big blind checks, and you also just check hoping to trap your opponents. Unfortunately, both players behind you check as well. The turn comes with a Kc. This time, the big blind checks and you bet about the size of the pot. One player behind you doubles your bet and everyone else folds back around to you. You call the bet, and see a river of 6h. You make a small bet, and your opponent triples it. You think for a while before your finally call. Your opponent shows down 7c-5c for a flush.


This was a real hand that I watched play out online this past week. What were the mistakes that the player with set of tens made in the hand? On the flop, there were 2 clubs and 2 connecting cards, making both a straight and a flush draw possible. There were also 4 players in the hand, making it more likely that at least one of them had the draw. Finally, since the hand wasnít raised preflop, the big blind and the late position limpers could hold anything.


If you hit a big hand on the flop with two suited or connecting cards, you must bet out! This is especially true online, where players will often play any possible draw. You will routinely see opponents at all limits play garbage like 7-5, Q-2, or even 7-2 occasionally. If you see a flush draw, be even more wary since weak opponents love to play any two suited cards. The danger becomes even greater with more than one or two opponents in the hand. Why should you let them have a free card? If they want to draw out on you, make them pay! You should bet at least the size of the pot in this situation.


Many players hesitate to bet with two pair or a set because they donít want to scare off their opponents. You shouldnít have this mentality if you donít want to run into bad beats. If you take the pot on the flop, itís still a win. Itís always better to pick up that small pot than lose a big one when your opponent hits his draw and is finally willing to play with you. Again, if youíre up against more than 2 opponents, the pot wasnít raised, and you see two suited or connected cards on the flop, bells should be going off in your head. Bet out or raise to make your opponents go against the odds to call you. Sometimes heíll call and still hit, but at least you made it a statistical mistake for him to do it. In the long run, youíll profit substantially from your opponentís weak draws.


Hands like top pair, two pair, a set, or the low end of a straight are very vulnerable and should be played for value immediately. On the other hand, when you hit a real monster, you have to slowplay it. The reasoning is simple: when you hit top full house, the nut flush, quads, or the nut straight, there isnít much that your opponent could have at this point. You donít mind giving a free card in this situation because you want them to make a hand. When you hit a full house on the flop, itís highly unlikely that your opponent will draw to anything better. Check it down and let him draw to that flush. When he hits it, youíre in a great position to take the rest of his stack, especially if itís an Ace-high flush!


Remember, online players tend to play worse starting hands and are more willing to draw. When you hit a strong hand, look for potential draws on the board that could beat you with an extra card. If you see 2 suited cards and/or 2 connectors, donít slowplay your hand. Make it expensive for your opponents to see that extra card. Donít get greedy and be satisfied with a small pot. On the other hand, when you hit a great hand like top full house or the nut flush, you should slow down and let your opponents catch up. Weíll haunt you at the tablesÖ



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