When you get a MONSTER hand, you should NOT slow play it.
“Slow playing” means that you don’t bet very much, or bet
nothing at all, in hopes that your opponent makes a big bet
or tries to bluff.
For instance, if you got two Aces before the flop and only
called the big blind, you would be “slow playing” your Aces.
Or if you flopped a straight and just “checked”, you would
be slow playing your straight.
The problem is, most amateurs will slow play their big
hands… trying to perform the famous check-raise
maneuver… or trying to “trap” their opponents…
But generally speaking, this is NOT a smart strategy… for
1. Because many poker players will see right through you…
and fold the hand as soon as you make your move.
2. Because you won’t win as much money when you slow play
big hands versus betting them.
Let’s talk about the first reason…
The fact is, slow playing big hands will NOT confuse your
On the contrary, it will actually give them a SOLID READ on
BECAUSE MOST PLAYERS SLOW PLAY MONSTER HANDS.
That’s just the way it is.
You may think you’re being SLY, but you’re really just being
I think it’s actually human INSTINCTS to slow play big
Think about it. When someone gets a big hand, what are they
thinking in their heads?
They SHOULD be thinking… “How can I get the most money
possible out of this pot?”
But what they are REALLY thinking is… “How can I make sure
everyone doesn’t fold and this great hand doesn’t go to
It’s the truth.
Especially since it will often take HUNDREDS of hands before
you catch a monster.
And that’s the REAL reason why people slow play big hands…
Because they’re SCARED TO DEATH that if they make a bet,
everyone will fold.
So the point is, it is NOT unique to slow play a monster…
in fact, it’s what MOST card players do. Especially
Now let’s look at the second reason why slow playing a big
hand is a bad idea… and that is:
YOU WON’T MAKE AS MUCH MONEY.
The fact is, when you hit a monster, you should bet it. It’s
Even if you REALLY ARE thinking to yourself, “How can I get
the most money out of this pot?”, the answer is to bet it.
Not slow play it.
You’ll win more chips and make more money by betting your
big hands… especially when you look at it over a long term
Let me show you three reasons why:
1. Usually, one of your opponents will have SOMETHING…
whether it’s a bottom pair, wired pair, straight draw…
This means that you’ll usually get one or more callers for
your monster hand… which is “sure money” going into the
pot that you’re about to win…
2. When you slow play big hands, you’re opening yourself up
for BAD BEATS. You shouldn’t give your opponents the
opportunity to see free cards.
When you let them see free cards, you’re just increasing the
odds that someone catches a lucky draw… or the one
“miracle” card that can bust your hand.
Betting your big hand, instead of letting your opponent get
free cards, will narrow down your chances of a bad beat.
3. Your opponents won’t see it coming.
Since most players slow play monsters, your opponents will
often put you on a BLUFF when you bet your big hand.
And if they think you’re bluffing, they’ll try to come back
over the top of you with a raise.
This, of course, gives you yet ANOTHER way to make more
money from your hand…
Now… let me talk about the EXCEPTION to this rule. And
that is when you get a monster that is SO UNBELIEVABLE…
AND you sense complete weakness at the table.
The most common example of this is 4-of-a-kind.
Let’s say the flop came out 8,8,2 and you’ve got pocket 8’s.
The other two players check to you.
In this case, it will be smart to just check your big hand,
rather than betting.
BUT, you’re not really “slow playing” it.
What you’re ACTUALLY doing is just letting your opponents
“catch up” to you.
Since you know the 8’s couldn’t have helped either of your
opponents, you want to make sure a turn card comes out…
and maybe even a river card… in hopes that someone catches
If the turn card is a face card, that’s good news for you.
Because it means that someone might have made top pair and
will be willing to give you some action in the hand.
But besides that, you should NOT slow play your big hands.
Now let’s see a real-life instance where this strategy
helped me make more money at the poker table.
Just the other night I was at the riverboat and got dealt AQ.
My positioning wasn’t good, but it was the first decent hand
I’d seen in awhile, so I raised the pot to 1,500 in chips.
Only one player called me… the man on the button. This guy
(we’ll call him “Mike”) is a very good card player. He goes
to the casinos every single night… 7 days a week…
grinding it out and making his living.
He’s one of the only players at this table that I generally
avoid going heads-up with, actually.
So anyway… the flop comes out, and it’s:
I’ve flopped a set with an Ace kicker.
I’m first to act. So what do I do?
Most players would slow play… but not me. I come out
I hesitate for like two seconds and then push in 4,000 in
Mike is thinking there is no possible way I’d bet trips like
that… so he’s probably putting me on a high wired pair
(but not Queens).
Plus, he might think I’m just representing my pre-flop raise
with this bet…
So instead of folding, Mike decides to represent the Queens
out there… and act as if HE has the trip queens.
“Make it 10,000”, he says aggressively.
Of course, now I’ve got Mike EXACTLY where I want him…
I call his bet.
The turn card comes… it’s a 10.
I check… because I know Mike is going to make a big move
“Make it 10,000”, he says again.
And I call again.
It turns out Mike is sitting on K-10… which means he’s got
a pair. This will give him even MORE confidence to try to
buy this pot.
Now that I’ve called his bets, however, he’s probably
thinking I have Kings or Aces. Which means the only way he
can win this pot is to scare me away.
The river hits… and it’s a 3. Which gives me the full
I check again, and Mike goes ALL IN with his huge chip
stack… thinking he can bully me out of the hand.
I call… and I take down a MASSIVE pot from the seasoned
And it all started because I DIDN’T slow play my trips. Mike
didn’t put me on the three Queens and was willing to push
his entire stack into the middle to try to win that pot.
Of course… that won’t happen every time you get a big
hand. And trying to confuse your opponent is definitely NOT
the only reason to not slow play your big hands.
The reality is, when you bet your big hands you’ll
CONSISTENTLY win more pots and make MORE MONEY playing