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Slow Playing

Fortune Jack Poker

Slow playing is bluffing in the opposite direction. Your objective is to make your opponents think you have a weaker hand when in fact, you actually possess a very strong hand, thereby inducing them to continue betting, inflating the pot.

You should slow play only when you have a very strong hand - ideally the nut hand. By slow playing, you let your opponents have a chance to improve their hands to something really good - something worth placing a huge bet on - but not good enough to win.

Example

Your Hand
King of HeartsKing of Clubs
Opponent A
Ace of HeartsQueen of Spades
Opponent B
Ten of ClubsTen of Hearts
The Flop
Jack of ClubsJack of HeartsKing of Spades

With a nut full house, you are now in the perfect position to employ a slow playing strategy. At this time, the only hand stronger than yours is a Quad Jacks, which is highly unlikely. So rather than driving opponents away by betting and raising, you should check and call in order to milk more money out of your opponents.

Suppose you are the first to bet. You check. Opponent A bets $10 and Opponent B calls. You call. The betting round ends and the turn reveals a Ten of Spades.

The Turn
Ten of Spades

Bingo! Opponent A now has a straight while Opponent B has hit a full house. Pretending to have hit something strong with the Ten of Spades, you make a stronger bet of $30. With a straight, Opponent A calls your bet. With a full house and thinking that you guys have weaker hands, Opponent B raises all-in. Now, you call the all-in and take the pot!

If you had raised earlier post-flop, Opponents A and B might believe you had hit a set and would probably have folded. Your winnings would have been reduced drastically.

"Thus one who is skillful at keeping the enemy on the move maintains deceitful appearances, according to which the enemy will act. He sacrifices something, that the enemy may snatch at it. By holding out baits, he keeps him on the march; then with a body of picked men he lies in wait for him." - Sun Tzu


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