Hi. I normally play 5/10 NL and higher. I don't post often in MHNL because at that level, some of the advanced concepts and thought processes are better left unsaid since some people still don't understand them. Many other posters hold back their thought processes to a certain degree as well. However, I have gained some knowledge from 2+2 and would like to repay by helping out some Small Stakes players. I will try to post one solid piece of advice for SS play each week. If I forget, someone send me a PM.
2) VERY VERY rarely is slowplaying correct
This goes not only for postflop play, but preflop play as well. First I'll discuss the simpler preflop play.
Every time you smooth call a raise preflop with AA or KK
There is one common condition smooth calling preflop is correct. This is against a player who is recklessly aggressive postflop, but will fold to a reraise preflop. Note that just being recklessly aggressive postflop is not enough to warrant a smooth call. If he is willing to call a pot size reraise preflop, he has very slim implied odds regardless of his holding. Factor in that he will often incorrectly put money in the pot postflop as a big underdog and slowplaying becomes very incorrect.
There is a second minor reason to slowplay preflop and this is for deception purposes. This, however, is the most overrated reason at almost any limit. This is because it takes a ridiculous number of table hours against a particular opponent to deduce that he will NEVER slowplay AA/KK.
If you still like to slowplay your AA/KK, make sure you do it against an opponent whose PFR is small enough to the point where you know the range of hands you are trapping. If you smooth call a loose raiser and see a Q44 flop, you'll only end up trapping yourself when he shows you a 45 which you could've either pushed out preflop, or forced to make an incorrect call preflop.
Preflop slowplaying is bad, but postflop slowplaying is usually much worse.
I call the following "The Idiot's Monster"
Call Preflop with a drawing hand (pocket pair, suited connector)
Call raiser's flop bet when you hit your monster.
Raise the turn small (whether it's minraise or raise f/ $200 to $500).
Value bet the river.
I'm not saying to get rid of this line completely, however, pick your spots. Against most thinking players, you will not take their stack this way against an overpair. However, against some loose calling station whose entire thought process is "he bets more so he has a better hand", use this line (raising the flop is still superior) and value bet him into submission. He will never fold his TPGK.
Reasons slowplaying is bad:
1) Fastplaying is deceptive, slowplaying is not (against thinking players). You heard right. Because the overwhelming majority of players online slowplay their very strong hands, most thinking players will never see what hit them when you fastplay yours.
2) Fastplaying builds pots. This one should be obvious. You don't want streets checked when you have a very strong hand. You want the maximum amount going in on every street. When you flop a set and sense that your opponent has an overpair, pound him. Don't plan on taking half his stack. Go for it all. He probably isn't folding unless...
3) a scare card hits. I'm going to use a simple example to illustrate this point. You have 77 OOP against a preflop raiser. The flop comes T74 with a heart flush draw. You check call the flop. Think about how many turn cards could potentially kill your action. Any heart, T, J,6,3 could result in your opponent not willing to go to the felt with his overpair. Check-raising and leading out are both acceptable options. Check-calling is pretty bad.
Here is another example from a hand that I played recently:
Party Poker No-Limit Hold'em, $ BB (6 max, 6 handed) converter
So many players will check the turn. Checking the turn is 100% wrong. It allows your opponent to play a small pot in a hand where he is either way ahead or way behind. Betting it also disguises your hand and most probably stacks Villain if he holds Kx. However, I forgot that an A could hit the river and potentially kill my action. The correct play in this situation is not only to bet the turn, but to bet all-in. This assures that you disguise your quads, get 95%+'s opponent's stacks all-in with Kx, and prevent a scare card (Ace) from killing your action on the river. This example illustrates how much can go wrong when you try to slowplay.
4) Your opponent doesn't bet! In the previous 77 example, I stated that check-raising and leading are both good options. The reason check-raising is equally good is because your opponent will often make a continuation bet when he misses which you would not gain if you lead. However, you should be wary of the fact that any time you check intending to trap, your opponent may check also.
Disclaimer: Don't take what I write as black and white, wrong and right. Whether I state them as absolutes or not, they are my opinions. However, the important thing you should be taking in from this is the thought process involved in making decisions. In this case, the decision is whether to slowplay or not. Sure there are times when you should be slowplaying. The important thing is that you have the thought process to recognize when those situations arise and why slowplaying is more profitable than fastplaying in those situations.
For my third post next week, I have an idea, but it is more of a profitability discussion, rather than a pure strategy discussion. Anyone opposed to this?
I'd like to hear stuff about profitability personally. Strategy stuff is fairly easy to come by (although not usually this well articulated). Stuff like, how often to take a shot, what is the most profitable table image or way to play vs specific types of players, hu, multitabling vs fewer tables at higher limit, etc, is a little harder to find.
Quote: 1) Fastplaying is deceptive, slowplaying is not (against thinking players). You heard right. Because the overwhelming majority of players online slowplay their very strong hands, most thinking players will never see what hit them when you fastplay yours.
Nice post. Thank you. Applying the concept you mention here has been extremely profitable for me. Stacking an overpair or two pair and having him say 'wtf' in chat after you pound him for 3 streets with a flopped set is awesome.
I said this in another thread, but the only time I slowplay is if it seems very likely that we'll be all-in on the next street and there aren't too many scare cards that can fall. Otherwise I jam away if I think I'm ahead.