Fast Play vs. Fast Play in Poker
When you make a strong poker online hand on the flop, you can generally play it one of two ways – slow or fast. Slow playing is generally a way to under represent your hand by just checking or check calling in order to induce bluffs on later streets and/or set up check raises. Fast playing on the other hand, is just how it sounds. You play the hand in a much faster, more aggressive manner by betting and raising. When you play your hand fast, you are doing so to get value from worse hands as well as protect your hands against draws.
While there is no right or wrong way to play a hand in online poker, there are benefits to both slow and fast playing that you should consider.
Pros to Slow Playing
By not betting your hand, you’re making it seem as if you’re weak or have no made hand at all. This can induce bluffs from absolute air or can induce bets from players who feel as if they’re betting for value, when in reality they’re only value betting them.
Pros to Fast Playing
When you play poker online hand fast, there is a good chance that the board is wet enough for you to get value from worse hands. You’re also making large bets which will often enable you to get your stack in by the time you reach the river.
Determining Whether to Play Your Hand Fast or Play it Slow
There are some factors that you should consider when determining how exactly to play hand.
Board texture is likely to be the largest factor in determining how you fast or slow you should play your hand.
Quite simply, the more draw heavy the board is and the more vulnerable that you’re hand is, the more inclined you should be to bet and play hand fast. You should be able to get tons of value for your hand while at the same time adequately protect it. If the board is dry though, you should be more inclined to check or check/call to allow lesser hands to catch up and/or bluff.
You will also want to consider playing tendencies when choosing whether to play hand fast or to play it slow.
For instance, if you are up against a player who is a calling station, then you can play your hand rather fast knowing that you’re being called down light. On the other hand, if you have someone who is aggressive that likes to bet and bluff frequently, then you can slow play hand, as these types of players will do most of the work, betting and raising, for you.
You should consider how your opponents currently view you as well. If you have been rather lose up to the point where you made a strong hand, you would get more value from playing your hand fast as it’s likely your opponents won’t believe that you have a hand yet again. If you’ve been tight, then it’s better to play hand fast because slow playing will look suspicious for one thing, and it’s likely that you’ll get folds anyway unless your opponent connected with the board. So you might as well try to get value if there is any value to be had.
In a multi-way pot, it’s more likely that someone has actually made a hand that is willing to call one street. Also, depending on the board texture, you will earn value from draws as more players make it more likely that someone is on one. In these situations, players betting 3/4 to almost full pot in order to maximize their value and make sure that the opponents are not getting the correct odds to out draw.
Much of what you decide to do is going to come down to how vulnerable your hand is in comparison to the board texture. Can you take the risk of letting your opponent see a free card? Could it improve his or her hand? Is there a turn card that could scare either of you from putting more money into the pot? Are you missing value by either fast or slow playing? These are all questions you need to ask and answer before you choose what to do so that you can take the most profitable line possible.
Have a happy poker time!