The Slowroll

Marcus Bateman RSS / Marcus Bateman / 15 December 2008 / Leave a Comment

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The term 'slowroll' refers to when a player is last to act, has either the nuts or a hand so strong they would never consider folding, and is facing an all in, and then sits there deliberating for a while over a choice that they obviously don't need to be thinking about.

This can be particularly galling for an opponent, who has made a play with a marginal hand, and is given a psychological boost by seeing their opponent thinking about their next move (thus giving them a ray of hope), due to the fact that if they had a monster they should just snap call.

In tournament poker I am completely against slow rolling. It is classless, causes totally unnecessary stress to players, and can often cause weak players to not want to play again (I actually know a weak player who basically quit playing poker after a particularly harsh slow roll on the bubble of a big tournament - preferring the unending sympathy and smiles of the blackjack table instead). The only time I ever condone slow rolling is against habitual slow rollers - and that simply because they should be regularly getting a taste of their own medicine.

Although I still dislike and never do it, the argument for slow rolling is a bit more coherent in cash games. Cash games are a much more ruthless form of poker, simply because players can often be pushed to such an extent that they start to incur massive losses. If a player seems to be tilting very hard, a well timed slowroll can often be enough to send them truly over the edge - with the result that the rest of their bankroll will usually be up for grabs to the first lucky player to hit against them.

Although I can occasionally see why a player is making this particularly cruel move on someone, on the whole it is basically just one of the least classy things a player can do. If you enjoy hurting people then joining the army or police force is probably a better use of your time than playing poker.

Conversely, if you are on the receiving end of this move, do your best to not let it tilt you - it is more a reflection of someone else's weakness than yours, and often is a sign that they will be losing players over the long run (I can think of very few long term winners who ever make moves like slow rolling), and can be exloited for the thing that really matters in poker - money.

Related Readings

Poker Ego and Etiquette - Marcus Bateman
Slow Playing - Marcus Bateman

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