Should you slowplay two pair, a set? When should you slow play in texas hold-em poker…


I decided to write this article because I had someone actually searching for this information come to my website, and thought maybe that I could write a few things that would help.

So should you slowplay on the flop?

Slowplaying is dangerous, especially if you try to slowplay on the flop. Sure, sometimes you will get really sweet flops, but in my experience you usually lose more trying to slowplay ‘semi’ decent hands on the flop, and I’ll explain why. More often than not you’ll lose. Two pair can get beat by a set, a set can get beat by a straight, and a straight beaten by a flush and so forth. Usually what happens is that you say see two pair on the flop, slow play and then when the next two cards are shown, try to make your ‘kill’ to get a sweet pot. But you totally miss the fact that someone else could have just now gotten a better two pair, a set, a straight, etc, etc. And then you become totally oblivious to any big bets they make. If they put you all-in on the flop — you might think they are trying to ‘steal’ the pot — totally ignoring the fact that you ‘let’ them runner runner a straight, etc — and then they clean you out. They clean out that nice stack that just took you 2-3 hours to build up 😛 And then other times — when you actually do have the best hand — if you let your opponent see another two cards, they will fold to your big bet on the river because they didn’t hit their straight/flush/etc and it is an easy fold for them. Some people like to go “ALL-IN” on AK, even if they don’t hit anything on the flop. But if you let them see another two cards, and they don’t hit an ace or a king, chance are they will fold to any kind of big bet you make.

Example #1 (How slowplaying hurt):

Recently I was playing a hand. He raised big, I called on A7 suited diamonds, and so called. Flop came up A99, one diamond. I figured I had him beat, didn’t think he’d raise on a 9, and thought I could out bet him if I wanted — but thought I had him beat, he didn’t play like he had ace high. Next card is a king of diamonds. I have two diamonds on the board now, he bets, I call. Final card is a 5 of diamonds. I now have a flush. I look at the hand, realize I have the nut flush, and figure if he was trying to bet me on 9’s, or ace with high kicker, I definitely had him beat. He bet. I reraised. He reraised me, I figured maybe he had AK, or AQ and I really had him beat. I went all in. He went all-in. Turns out he had pocket kings, and the turn had given him a full house. I lost my money on the all-in that I had, and was kicking myself (I had just lost what had taken me about 3 hours to get. He had a huge stack and had me totally covered).

Example #2 (How not slowplaying helped):

Another hand I was playing recently, a guy bet big, and I called. Just liked the feeling of my cards, even though it was 5 2. Sure enough, flop comes up and I hit 5 2. Two pair. I did check raise (I checked, let him raise then I re-raised) — and then he went ‘all-in’ to try and force me out of the hand. I liked my hand, so went all-in as well. I ended up doubling my pot — because I didn’t slowplay, and went big. (I forget what he had, I think maybe A-K or something like that). But anyways — had I played until the river and just checked/called all the way along, he probably wouldn’t have gone all in — and probably any big bet would have made him fold.

So When do you slowplay?

The only time you should slowplay on the flop, is when you flop the nuts, which is rare. The nuts would be for example, flopping a straight flush. Highly unlikely they would ever beat that. Or flopping four of a kind, or a full boat with top pair (i.e., 99988). Very rare (not impossible, but rare) that these will get beat. In these instances, you can usually take your time slowplaying.

If you see a turn card, and it makes your straight/flush/etc, you should bet anyways. Many times if you just ‘check’, the other guy will check, and if they don’t hit anything on the river, will fold to any small bet. But if you bet — for some strange reason — people just don’t believe that you made your straight/flush/etc and will usually call, giving you a little bit of extra cash. And then if you still have the nuts on the river (i.e., your straight didn’t get beat by a flush, and your flush didn’t get beat by say a full house), sometimes they will “call” just to “see” what you had if you make a small bet. But if you check on the turn, and let the other guy see a free card, usually they feel you are trying to “trap” them and will fold.

So bottomline — don’t slowplay — unless you have the absolute nuts on the flop.

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