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Slow Playing Your Way to the Poor House in Texas Holdem

I bet you didn't know that this technique is probably one of the most misused and abused of all strategies.

When done correctly we define Slow Play as: The art of representing weakness with a passive betting style in order to throw off or deceive your opponent to achieve a greater pay off. Often it turns out to be the art of representing weakness with a passive betting style in order to encourage marginal hands to stick around to outdraw you so that you can lose the hand.

Lets get started with you on the button and you get dealt pocket rockets.

A couple of players limp in and you decide to call-SLOW PLAY IT!. This is a huge mistake. First of all, to raise from the button is a fairly standard play and is commonly referred to as a position raise.

Most people that know anything about the game don't head for the hills because the button raised. In fact, there is more bluffing from the button than any other position.

This means that you aren't necessarily giving up information, particularly from that position. The second mistake is that you let the big blind in for free and the small blind in for half a bet.

Sit and watch the 0/200 limit game and keep note of how long you have to sit there before you observe an instance where the Big blind plays for free.

I make it down to Foxwoods twice a month. If geographically feasible I suggest you do the same. The 4/8 and 5/10 limit games are pretty soft and so far have been very beatable.

This is what happened my last visit to Conneticut. I had just won two decent hands in a row(always nice) and am now in the Big blind. I get dealt real junk, 6/8 unsuited. To my surprise everyone limps and I am going to see a flop. Well, the flop comes 10c, 8c, 8s. I just flopped a set. I have not put anyone on a big pocket pair, never mind Aces. I am sure you can appreciate that I have no business being in this hand. Yet, I'm 99% sure I am in the lead.

The irony here is that I now slow play my trip 8's and check. The player to my left bets and there are three other callers including me. The turn produces a miracle 6c. I've got a full house and am praying that someone hit the club flush just as long as he is not holding the 79c.

I bet the eight and the player to my left makes it 16, the button pushes it to 24, I cap it at 32, the two raisers call and we have a very nice pot in the making. The river produces a rag and I lead out and everyone calls, I win a nice pot. The player to my left had limped with AQc and the button limped with AA.

What happened here happens quite a bit. The AQc player should have raised in early position trying to get as many out of the pot as possible. AQs are nice cards but has problems particularly in an early seat. The button's AA should have also raised as the button often raises due to position as discussed earlier.

The point being that both players did everything possible to throw away the hand. The funny thing is that the slow player(s) got slowplayed.

When I'm dealt AQ, particularly in early position, I come out flying. You do this because you want to play this hand heads up, or better still, win it right there. For what ever reason this player assigned greater value to AQ than he should have.

AA is consistently over valued and as a result is played incorrectly. I'm always fascinated by people's reaction when their aces get cracked. It's as if they've lost track of the fact that there are still 5 cards to come. Not to mention that these same five cards are shared by the opposition.

When people play draw or stud there isn't anywhere near the disapointment when their aces don't hold up.

Always try to focus on the fact that 71.4% of your cards are community cards. To state the obvious the button should have raised his bullets and only got fancy if the third ace is produced on the flop.

He had two problems with that flop; the board paired and the clubs potentially offered the flush draw for someone. The value of his aces took a big hit and he clearly was oblivious to this shift evidenced by his raise on the turn, making it three bets. When the third club came on the turn and he faced a raise from early position it should have sent off an alarm that his aces were beat.

Unless I'm playing heads up or with two other players I never slow play the early betting rounds with AA or KK. It makes no sense to let the BB in free with rags for the shot at outdrawing you.

Effective slow play takes place after the flop and to a greater extent at the turn when there is high % of certainty that you not only have the best hand, but that any improvement on the part of your opposition will not beat you. When your opponent hits his hand on a dead draw is the optimum outcome for you to get paid off. Try it this way. Your win/loss relationship will vastly improve!

About the Author: John Ruscio Has been playing winning poker for 29 years and offers Free Texas Holdem Instruction, Expert articles and hosts Freeroll Tournaments with cash prizes. Check it out:

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