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Poker Blog established in 2003 as the first stop for poker news, poker stories, and bad poker advice.

January 14, 2006

On the Slowroll

by G-Rob

It was fairly late and I'd already started to tilt. The Thursday homegame is just a $50NL ring with some freindly G-Vegas types, all of whom I happen to like. At one point I'd built my stack up to more than $200 but I'd lost about half when my 10s met Jacks. I lost another half on a hand that made me angry.

I got in heads up against the player to my right with 89c. The flop was K-8-K and he led out for half the pot. Given this player's style and my read on him, I thought a king was possible but so were another 487 possible holdings. I smooth called to represent the king and test the water further. The turn is a 5, the board is now rainbow, and the guy to my right checks. That set off alarms. I knew he was now ahead so I checked behind. The river was pure garbage and now he bet 1/4 the pot. Because of my experience with this player, I knew there was no reason to raise and I wanted to see his hand so I called.

He said, "I've got a 5," and flipped it over.

I showed my hand. A superior hand. Kings and eights.

Then he waited another second, and turned over his king. Full house. Slow roll.

I'M KINDA RUDE

I use the word "Kinda" because on the relative scale of rudeness, I'm not on a universally superior level. I'm rude, ruder than most, but not the rudest of all.

Here are some examples from the same Thursday game :

Otis and I are in a big hand heads up. He bets out post flop and I pop it big. Otis calls. The turn really makes my hand and I'm praying for a bet. He does. I come over the top all in while Otis crawls deep in the hole. So deep, in fact, that I have time to play air guitar...air keyboard...and then do the "cabbage patch" while mocking and taunting his very manhood. It was great fun and, yes, fairly rude.

Otis, correctly, folded.

Rankster, Ballgame and I are in a good 3 way pot and I have A-10s. The flop is K-Q-J rainbow giving me the undisputed nuts. Ballgame bets, I raise (you'll see why below), and Rankster pushes. I can't call fast enough and my nut straight is good over his two pair (Kings and Queens). I react by calmly scooping the pot and..hitting this which Uncle Ted was silly enough to give me at a home game not long ago.

Folks that's just rude. Mean even. But I have an advanced degree in tilting the table with a B.A. in the Asshole Arts. It's how I roll.

In my defense, I was the only moron with a world class buzz. I hosted the game, didn't have to work on Friday, and I'd made a liquor run that afternoon.

Still, assholes make excuses.

THE RUMBLE

All of the above rudeness, all on my part, happened before the slow roll. Still, I felt it was out of line. I'm not sure I have any grounds to think that given my own behavior, but the table backed me up. Slowrolls are, to me, a part of the rules of the game. You don't do it. Being an asshole is just something you have to deal with. Slowrolling is something you shouldn't.

The player who did it happens to be someone, like all the G-Vegas regulars, I like very much. I'm making a point of not mentioning his name because, while the people AT the game know who I mean, I have NO intention of holding him up for scorn. He's a very cool guy and this rant is in no way reflective of my feelings for him.

That said, I wonder if this is just a pet peeve of mine or part of a unversal ethic. The other regular players, Blood and Otis both said at the time that the slow roll is about as bad as it gets. I'm pretty sure my opponent felt the sight of me dancing was far worse.

THE TILT

By the time this slow roll hit, I was already on tilt. I'm still prone and I suspect that was one of the chief reasons it made me so mad. I've spent far too many otherwise decent hours wondering about the symptoms and triggers and effects of my tilt and I know it like a treasured pet.

Most of the best G-Vegas players, Otis and Blood in particular, have the mechanics of poker pat. I've played far more hands with Blood over the past year than anyone else and I still don't read him well. He makes "correct" calls reflexively, and far better than me. He makes good reads and sticks with them, whereas I can still succumb to the siren song that tricks me into believing my opponent has WHAT I WANT/NEED HIM TO. He's far better at POKER.

I play poker like chess. I sit down with my moves planned out for the next several hours. In G-Vegas it helps that I usually know my opponents but even in unfamiliar situations I can usually pick an attack fairly fast. Here's one tactic that I'd use at a relatively good game with tight aggressive and unfamilair players. :

1) Play any two cards in good position early. ANY TWO. I'll even call moderate raises with horrible cards if I'm on the button or the cutoff, sometimes another seat to the right. If the player who raised is relatively tight I'll even raise with horrible cards. This is not as radical as it seems. In most cases, position is more valuable than cards. I'll play strong hands normally.

2) Make sure to show down at least one winning hand with horrible starting cards. I can't move to another gear until this happens which, mathematically, it will.

3) Play the hammer like aces. Several bloggers think this is stupid or just for fun. In this particular strategy, it is very profitable..even essential...to play and show the hammer. I honestly think I've made quite a bit of money playing 7-2o.

4) Pick any passive player....must be passive but that's all...and raise EVERY BET HE MAKES! It's OK to fold to a re-raise, but RAISE EVERY BET. Last Thursday I did it to Ballgame. If he bet $2..I made it $7. If he bet $10..I made it $25. He absolutely did not set the pace on any hand all night. At least during my personal first phase. Most importantly, I WANT TO SET THE TONE AT ANY TABLE. I want all players to worry about my hand. I want them to always wonder about me. I want them to fear/hate/respect/enjoy/despise me. But if they're all thinking about me, I WILL WIN. That's the reason I dance at the table.

5) Switch gears. It should take at least an hour...usually more...to reach this phase. If you play well post-flop its quite possible..even likely..that you're actually ahead here, but the real profit is just ahead. I've been known, but only to the MOST OBSERVANT PLAYERS (OTIS AND BLOOD) to hit this stage and fold for an hour just waiting for a hand. Once I get it, everyone will play.

That, of course, is one of the most basic poker strategies in the world. I'm not Doyle Brunson and if I was, I wouldn't post any serious strategy here. My homegame players actually read this blog. But I have used that strategy before. What I really want to show is the manner of thinking. I approach the game on a multi-hour plan.

I go on tilt when the plan falls apart.

For example, Thursday I crushed the table by playing steps 1-4 and then fell dead in step 5. I tried to tighten up and fell victim to the CDT (card dead tilt) which almost swallowed me whole. Its frustrating to have spent 2 hours setting up a profit, and have it unravel because you can't catch a playable hand for 120 minutes. I lost my mind.

I WONDER

Does an egomaniacal jerk like me have any room to complain about a slow roll? The answer is probably no. Someone who spends the entire evening behaving badly sometimes deserves it. But do we have a rank of bad acts?

For example :

Is it worst to taunt a player before, during, or after a hand? I'd say the worst is after. I will taunt and cajole before and even during but, to me, the after-taunt is the worst.

I wonder if acting like a jerk is worse than violating a specific part of the player's unspoken contract. We never agreed NOT to use an easy button, which DOES COME AFTER THE HAND, and is even rude by my standards.

Bottom line : I suppose the slow roll is just a personal pet peeve. In my mind its the worst of the worst. Some people probably think I am.

At least I have a strategy.

| G-Rob's Thoughts