Don't Slowplay Big Hands

August 14, 2019


Slow-playing big hands is a pitfall that trips up many players, and it’s a tell-tale symptom of Fancy Play Syndrome (FPS). Well, we’re here to set the record straight.


Slow-playing a big hand refers to passive play with a strong holding. Maybe you limped your pocket rockets. Or perhaps you hit your straight on the turn and only made a tiny bet or, even worse, you just checked. 


The thinking in these situations is that we’re trying to ‘trap’ our opponents by acting like we’re weaker than we are in reality. We want them to either over-value their hand or try to bluff us off of ours. Then, when we call and turn up the goods, they won’t know what hit em. Taste it!



Stop the Wishful Thinking


The only problem is that things usually don’t work out this way. Poker Christmas-land rarely comes around. Sure, it might feel great when we trap an unsuspecting fish in our net, but, more often than not, it’s just wishful thinking.


People rarely make hands. They bluff less often than you might expect. It’s generally not going to work.


What’s more likely to happen is that you’ll check and then they’ll check back to you. Now an entire street has passed where we didn’t get any chips into the pot.



Build Up that Pot


For the same reason that opponents are rarely going to value bet into us—good hands are rare—we want to play aggressively when we do hit a hand. Don’t waste the opportunity! Let’s make the most out of it.


Building up the pot is huge in poker. Especially in NLHE, where the average bet is between ½ pot and full pot, we have an opportunity to grow the pot exponentially. Each street gives us the chance to build the pot bigger and bigger, and we shouldn’t waste those opportunities.


Let’s say we hit that straight on the turn. If we bet, then we might get calls from pairs, two pairs, and trips, as well as drawing hands that are looking for a straight or a flush. If we don’t bet, then we’re basically just allowing them to see free cards.


Stop slow-playing your big hands, and start cashing in on your good fortune.




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