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Slow playing in the game of poker is an effective technique to add to your bag of tricks. If you know nothing about the slow play or what some may refer to as sandbagging, it has everything to do with you taking control of the situation by luring opponents into the action; players who might become apprehensive if you were to play the hand aggressively. If you're playing an aggressive style, you'll usually go for the knockout punch when you're sitting on a strong hand and strong draw, but when slow playing, you want to do just the opposite. Consider these slow play basics to add to your growing poker repertoire.

What is a slow play?

Any way of dictating the action by betting passively or weakly on a strong hand to lead the other players to stay in the game is slow playing. This is a technique that is often over-used by the beginning player; although effective, it becomes predictable and may blow your cover if someone sees you to the show down. Mixing up slow play tactics with a tight-aggressive style is certainly a successful poker philosophy, and there are a few ways you can put your slow play into practice.

Have you ever heard of a check/raise? If not, it is as simple as it sounds. If you're dictating the action, you may choose to check to the next player in hopes that someone will lay down a bet. If no bets are offered, you may have to get a little more aggressive in future rounds of betting, yet most of the time someone will come along for the ride or try to dictate the tempo; that's fine, that's exactly what you want them to do. After they place their bet and the action returns to you, you can give your opponent(s) a good hard stare, contemplate...and raise what they've offered. It's a great way to get more goods into the pot before they either fold or accept your challenge.

Your position in the action as well as the game you're playing will greatly affect when you want to implement the slow play. If there are players in the action behind you as well as in front, calling a bet will often encourage others to stay in the action while a raise could easily scare them off. You need a good read from the player dictating the action so you're not throwing your chips into the pot in vain, but rather encouraging everyone to come along for the ride. Give the technique a try a few times; see what kind of result you get when mixing it with other play strategies. A good slow play seen to the show down will also help set you up to bluff at a later point in play.

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