Playing big hands fast

poker babe Maria Ho In a nutshell, you should almost always play your big hands fast. We explain why and show an example where you may play slower, but this is just an exception to the rule.

An example will illustrate the idea. You are playing in a game of no-limit Texas Hold'em with a small pocket pair like fives. The flop is 995. You should play this hand fast for two reasons.

First as you have a monster hand you want to make the pot as big as possible. Given that the board is paired, weak hands will fold anyway. So there is no need to slow play. But what you are hoping for is that someone connected with the board, with a hand such as A9. He may raise you with his trip and ace kicker and you can 3-bet him for maximizing your profit.

The second reason to be aggressive is that this hand is still vulnerable to someone getting a higher set at the turn or river.

Almost always play your big hand fast

Indeed it would be a serious mistake to just check and let your worried opponents get a free card. If one of them happens to have a higher pocket pair than yours like 77 and a 7 comes at the turn, you are fried.

Therefore low sets or low full houses should always been played fast.

A slightly different scenario is with higher cards like a pocket pair of queens with a board QJJ. It is not likely that your opponent who his behind at the flop catches up at a later street, so slowplaying is an option here.

Just an option, because it is still usually better to play this hand fast and hope that one of the other players has a jack or even better QJ. This way he will reraise and you are almost sure to get his entire stack in the middle.

Check raising is not a great idea in this scenario because then you become transparent and indicate that you have a monster. After all, think about, what can you check-raise with if there are two jacks on the board. Solid players will often fold their trips and you will win less money than if you had bet from the start.

When to slow play a monster

There are a few premises where slow playing is the best play. Let's say that you hold AJ of diamonds in the cut off. You raise and get called by the button and the small blind. The flop contains three RAG diamonds. If the small blind checks you should check as well. And if the button bets you should raise him.

In this spot he is likely bluffing, in which case he will fold. Or he connected with the board either with a lower flush or a set, in which case he will call. And if he calls your flop raise, he may call an extra bet at the turn and one more at the river.

You should still bet even if the board pairs at some point. There is only a small chance that you are beaten, but on the other hand your opponent could put you on many hands besides the nuts flush given that this is a drawy board.

If you get called at the turn and strongly raised at the river, typically he has a boat and this is a fold for you. Unless he is an excellent bluffer, he has you beaten. This is not the most frequent scenario, but you must be ready for it. As they say there is no fire without smoke. Otherwise you are fine.

In summary it is one of the beginners mistakes to slow play their strong hands, hoping to trap their opponents. As you get annoyed to win small pots after small pots with your monster hands, you may be tempted to slow play some of your big hands.

It is usually not recommended, as there is hardly a bigger error in poker than to give a free card and lose a big pot instead of winning a small pot.

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