Slow Playing at the Micro Stakes Poker


Slow playing relates to disguising the actual strength of your hand in order to trap your opponent. It's a very powerful tool in any players poker arsenal, but only when applied properly. When you slow play a hand, there's a risk that you'll get outdrawn as you will often give free cards to your opponents. Of course, when you have a very strong hand such as full house, the chance of getting outdrawn is rather small. However, if you decide to slow play aces before the flop, you might get burned quite often, especially in multi way pots.

Slow Playing before the flop

Usually playing a hand aggressively is the way to go, especially when playing micro stakes, but there are exceptions. If you face a very aggressive opponent who 3bets a large amount of hands, including a lot of hands that will fold to a 4bet, there is a lot of merit for calling. You want to keep your opponent into the pot as you have a very strong hand and there's a high chance that he will simply fold, if you decide to 4bet before the flop.

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Bear in mind that I would only advice to slow play with hands like aces and kings before the flop, whereas I still advice to 4bet hands like QQ, JJ and TT. Why is that so? Well, when you hold AA, there are no over cards that can come and make your life hard. The only over card to KK is an ace, which won't come out that often. On the other hand, when holding a smaller pocket pair, it's way more likely that the board will feature one. If your opponent isn't all that good, this is not a problem, but if you are facing a player that understands poker at a high level and hand reads well, chances are that you will make costly mistakes.

Slow Playing with the ''nuts'' at Micro Stakes

So you've got the best possible hand and aren't sure what to do. Getting your opponent to fold would be a disaster, as you would make no money at all. However, slow playing might also make you no money because your opponent could just simply fold. There are several aspects that have to be taken into account before you figure out what to do.
  • Action before the flop was it you who raised or did you just call? Was there a 3bet or even a 4bet? This is all important because it helps to figure out the likelihood of your opponent betting or calling as well as have an idea about his hand range.
  • Your opponent what kind of player are you up against? Is he an aggressive player or even the so called maniac, which will bet every time you check? Vice versa, if your opponent is very passive, slow playing against him will be horrible simply because he won't bet without the nuts himself.
In general, I am against slow playing at the micro stakes, simply because the games are usually pretty passive and you won't find as many aggressive players as at higher games. The key to succeeding at these limits hides under being able to value bet.

How to determine whether slow playing is good in a particular hand?

The best and the only correct way to view poker is by thinking in ranges. Always try to put your opponent on a hand range that he would perform that specific action with. Same applies, when deciding to slow play. Not only you have to figure out the hand range, but also the likelihood of him betting versus the frequency of him calling. Does his range contains hands that he would call more often than bet with? Or is it the other way around? By constantly thinking about these things you'll start to get a natural feel and have the ability to instantly determine whether a spot is good for slow playing or it's better to play the hand aggressively.