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When to Slow-Play (Or Not) in Online Poker

One of the best feelings in Texas Holdem poker is when you find you have a huge hand on the flop. An experienced player, however, will not let that feeling affect their decision making. Rather than make a rash decision based on sudden elation, they will be thinking about how he can get the most chips from his opponent. They will immediately go into "poker slow play" mode....plan and think through every move.  

You’ll need to do more to win than forming a good hand. The remaining players still in the pot will also need to put in more chips while behind. There are a number of online poker strategy approaches to think about in these positions. The one we’re going to look at right now is slow-playing.  Remember our mantra:  poker slow play.....oooommmmm!

The one thing you should avoid doing above all else is to play over-aggressively and force everybody else to fold. By slow-playing your hand, you allow your opponents to beat themselves by believing either that you have a stronger hand than you do or that they will successfully bluff you.

You’ll definitely want to include slow-playing among your online poker tips and strategies, whether it's playing free poker, cash games, or in poker tournaments. However, that doesn’t mean that you should use it every time you have a big hand. Here, we’ll consider which situations you should slow-play in, and which you shouldn’t

Slow play when you have an (almost) unbeatable hand


One obvious situation in which you should slow-play your online poker hand is when it's so good that the odds of you winning are very high. If your hand is that good and there isn’t much that your opponents could hold to call with, slow things down.

Stick to the basics on wet boards


Not every situation where you score big on the flop is rife for slow-playing. On a wet board, where there are a high number of potential drawers and your opponents can have numerous hands with re-draws, you’ll want to play fast.

By choosing to play aggressively on the flop, you’ll be in a great position on the turn to pressure your opponent if the right card turns up.

Many new online poker players make the majority of their mistakes on wet boards. They flop a relatively big hand and don’t factor in that that the flop can also help their opponents, who could proceed to catch up with them.

If you feel that your opponents may also have high hand potential, start building up the pot for protection and value.

Bait the over-aggressor


Here's where you definitely shouldn't be slow-playing when playing poker online. Over-aggressive players are awful online poker players because they randomly bluff far too often, which makes it profitable for you never to fold. This might feel volatile and uncomfortable, but as long as you can resist making big folds, you should find this a lucrative online poker strategy. As these players will bet for you much of the time, raising them after they bluff can be a big mistake.

New online poker players are sometimes prone to playing with this style because they've only ever seen poker in the movies and players going all-in on every play. Watch out for these players.

Use your patterns and reads


Your poker tactics should always take into account any patterns or reads when making a decision on whether to slow-play or not. Against opponents consistently revealing an unwillingness to fold, you can afford to play big hands more aggressively than usual.

When it comes to a player who folds to flop raises most of the time, you can be even more aggressive and call even when the board isn’t looking especially safe.

This will enable you to adjust slightly to your poker strategy and think out of the box in order to produce results better than if you just went into auto-pilot mode.

An occasional change from your typical pattern of play will ensure observant players stay on their toes, as they’ll struggle to work out how to play you in certain spots, which is what you’re looking for.

Think through every situation


When it comes to enjoying success in online poker, you need to keep your wits about you and think through every decision in order to ensure you understand why you’re making the moves you are. The advice here should help you better understand when you should and shouldn’t slow play your good hands.

If you only take one thing away from this article, remember to never think about your hand when playing poker online. Always take it into account with regards to how it compares against the range of poker hands of your opponents and how that hand range compares with the board. If you're just starting out in the game, you can find a poker hands chart online to help you along.