One of the best feelings in poker is when you are in pot with the absolute nuts, and know that you are going to win the hand. The only question remaining in your mind is how much money you’re going to win. Of course, the deciding factor in how much money you make is how you play the hand, and there are basically two options – slow play or bet out. We’ll discuss both of the methods, and tell you what situations are ideal for each betting strategy.
What is Slowplaying?
Slowplaying is when you mask the strength of your hand by checking or just calling bets to signal to your opponent that you actually have a weak hand. An example of this would be if you flopped a full house and checked the flop and turn, then bet out on the river. Now, ideally you want your opponent to have a mediocre hand that is worth betting with, so you can make some money off him/her.
Advantages of Slowplaying
Some advantages of slowplaying are that you’ll rarely ever force an opponent to fold his/her hand when you have a monster. Also, you can allow your opponents to catch up in the hand and make something worth betting.
For example, if you have AK and the flop comes down AAK, you have an extremely powerful hand. However, it is rare that your opponent would also hit this flop, so if you bet out here he/she will most likely fold. If you check the flop, the turn may bring another face card, which could complete his/her straight if they have a hand like JQ or 10J. If you have the full house here over the straight, you’ll make a ton of money that you wouldn’t have made if you bet the flop.
Disadvantages of Slowplaying
Although slowplaying has its advantages, there are many situations where a player would be worse off if they slow play. For example, if you have a pocket pair and make a set on the flop, this is usually a bad time to slow play, especially if there are connecting cards or suited cards on the flop.
The reason for this is because it is likely your opponents could have big draws that would beat your hand if they hit. If the turn peels off a card that completes the draw, now you’re in big trouble because you have a solid hand but it’s likely that your opponent has a bigger hand like a straight or flush.
Advantages of Betting Out
One advantage of betting your hand is that you protect hands that are strong, but crackable. For example, when you make a set on a dangerous flop like in the above situation, you should bet out here to protect your hand from draws to a straight or flush.
Also, by betting out you’ll start building a pot on the flop, and can continue to bet more and more on the turn and river, as opposed to just getting a river bet in if you’re slow playing the flop and turn.
Disadvantages of Betting Out
The disadvantage of betting out is clear: often times you’ll lose the other player, and they will just fold. Basically, if you have a hand that is unbeatable, you should slow play it because it is likely your opponent needs to catch up. However, if your hand is strong but susceptible to draws, make sure to bet out to protect it. Good luck!