When is it worthwhile slowplaying or trapping while playing poker?
The biggest danger in slow play is NOT to lose your hand, but to miss the opportunity to make a pot. Learn when it makes sense to check your strong hand and when to raise with it. First of all, good slowplay needs the right conditions , for example:
- You should have a very strong hand
- The free card you give the other player should, with a certain probability, make them the second-best hand.
- The same free card should also have a small chance that your opponents can get a better hand than yours or a very strong draw.
- After granting such a free card and showing weakness in the eyes of your opponents, you want to win the hand by forcing your opponents to work with Aggression, or by showing your better hand at the showdown.
- The pot should not be very big at the beginning.
One advantage of this is that you tend to keep opponents in your hands who otherwise might have dropped out immediately.
A not to be underestimated disadvantage is that you missed the opportunity with a check on the flop to form a pot right from the start. With fixed limit this disadvantage is not particularly large, because there are firm setting sizes. In the no-limit, on the other hand, this one check decisively influences the final pot size.
Here is a short example:
Pot formed from the flop :
Suppose you flop the nuts, the pot is $ 100 and there is still one opponent in the hand. If you bet $ 80 directly on the flop, the pot will grow to $ 260. If you bet 80% on the turn, the pot grows to $ 670. Your riverbet would be $ 530. So if your opponent pays all 3 bets, you’ll make about $ 800 in profit.
Pot only after free ticket on the turn :
With the check on the flop you do not win all 3 bets, but only the first two smaller, which in our example would correspond to about $ 300.
This little calculation example is intended to illustrate how much money you can give away if you miss it in time to make a pot.
Mostly it is better with a very strong hand to form the pot right from the beginning and to do without a slow play. With a top set eg. You will then get a full payout from a smaller set. Only against medium-strong hands, such as. a 2pair you may lose the Riverbet.
- The LARGER the stacks, the more money can potentially come into the pot during the hand, the LESS sensible would be slowplay, because at least 3 bets are needed to get those big stacks in the middle.
- The LESS the stacks, the less money can potentially come into the pot in the course of the hand, the more you can think about slow play, because 2 Bets are enough to get these small stacks in the middle.
Aggressive opponents / Passive opponents
- The more aggressive your opponent, the more makes slowplay sense, because the aggressive opponent likes to make big bluffs and naturally likes to play and often.
- The more passive your opponent, the less sense slowplay makes, because you just can not count on the bluff initiative of such an opponent.
If you do not want to drive away the opponent with your very strong hand, there is also the possibility of an underbet besides the check, ie a bet that is rather smaller than what you would normally expect on the spot. The small bet should give the opponent reasonably acceptable pot odds and justify a call or give him an opportunity to raise. Depending on how strong your hand is, how vulnerable it can be through draws, you then have to decide whether to answer with a 3bet to end the hand immediately or if you just call.
To conclude, one can finally say that it is only rarely appropriate. In most cases, one would prefer to make a pot instead of voluntarily giving up the third rewarding bet.