One of the nice things about playing poker online is that there are so many different articles out there about the best strategy of poker. Are they all right? Not necessarily. Are they all wrong? Again, not necessarily. You see, it’s all about playing the strategy in the right case each and every time. This is nearly impossible, so as you polish your game you end up picking up tips on when to play and when to not play.
Slow playing is one of those things that people feel is a bad thing, but from our experience, we find that slow playing premium cards is really a pleasure. There’s nothing like knowing you have a seriously monster hand and that you’re just biding your time.
Keep in mind that slow playing is a form of deception, whether you like it or not. You’re essentially trying to get your opponents to see you as anything but a threat. That’s really the name of the game — you need to know the opponents that you’re stacked up against. Do they make aggressive bets all of the time? If they do, and you’ve got a monster hand, you’re going to have to abandon slow playing because they’re not going to let you get away with it. You’re going to have to either put up or shut up, so to speak.
However, let’s take a lot of the lower stakes games you’ll find online — many new players constantly slow play, even when they don’t have anything. If you were to reveal your monster hand, you’re not going to get a lot of chips for doing so. In fact, you’ll end up getting tiny pots while other players that slow played their best hands will take the lion’s share. You want to get as many chips as possible, even if that means taking them right from the hands of your fellow opponents. All is fair in love, war, and poker you know!
So what do we mean by slow playing? Well, let’s take Hold’Em as our best example poker structure. Slow playing would be to actually take all of your turns through the flop, turn, and river, betting moderately and/or just calling. This is a good way to get some chips into the pot without people automatically thinking that you’ve got a serious hand to contend with.
There are always going to be times where you don’t want to slow play. As you play more hands, you’ll start picking up cues about the people around you. Again, if someone is betting hard against you, now isn’t the time to slow play — you want to go all in and dare them to step up to the plate!
Does that mean that you’re going to incur some risk? Sure you are. There is always risk when there are high stakes involved. This is also where bankroll management comes from. If you are wise with your bankroll you don’t have to worry about the risks you make from hand to hand because your overall approach is going to be conservative. You’re not going to show up at the table with your entire bankroll — only a portion of it. That way you will always have some in reserve.
When you really focus on playing your best game, you will look at this strategy and many others to polish your overall poker game. It’s important not to get discouraged or start thinking that you’ll never master the process of poker. It’s really a system that can take many, many years — Doyle Brunson is considered one of the best poker players of the modern era, and he still has bad beats. Think about that next time you have a mini poker life crisis, okay?
Another thing that we cannot stress enough is that you want to be reviewing past hands and past games. Take notes as you go along. You can wait till after the game while the details are still fresh, or you can try to squeeze them in while you’re waiting on other people to play their turns. The point made here is that if you aren’t looking at every detail carefully, you’re going to miss the big hints that can tell you to alter your game.
Every opponent is different, every table is different. This means that you’re going to have to keep analyzing no matter what — there is no such thing as stopping in the world of poker — you either play hard or you don’t play at all!