Annie Duke was recently asked about slow-playing a good hand on the flop. The mom of four and WSOP bracelet winner cautions against slow-playing. There are just too many variables to consider to make slow-playing a correct choice … at least as the norm.
Annie mentions that you must look at the ‘texture’ of the board. This refers to the number on the cards and the suits the have. Is a flush possible? What about a straight? Perhaps there’s a pair on the board which sets a set or a full house up. You must pay attention to what’s on the board and not get too attached to the hand you have or have made if a better one could possibly exist.
The Celebrity Apprentice contestant also points out that by slow-playing you do nothing to define your opponent’s hand(s). Why? Betting is a way to get information. If you bet, you show your strength and perhaps prevent a player with a weaker hand from betting into you. If you don’t, that player can take advantage of the opportunity to bluff and put you off the best hand. Essentially, you could be trapping yourself by attempting a slow-play.
Finally, Annie mentions that you must consider how many people are in the pot. The more people in the pot, the less effective a slow-play will be. The more people playing, the less likely you are to retain the best hand if indeed you even had it on the flop. Besides your opponents could be holding the outs you need to make the nuts…and that’s just not a good scenario for you.
The goal, obviously, if you’ve got a great hand is to extract the most money out of your opponents while the getting is good. Each subsequent street can change your situation so betting when you’ve got the goods is the best play more times than not.