Poker is a very strategic game, but players still need to loosen up sometimes and have a bit of fun. We’d like to introduce you to a joke called a slow roll, that can be extremely funny or painful (or both).
What is a slow roll in poker?
A slow roll is an act that happens at showdown in poker games. One player acts like they have lost the hand and shows how disappointed they are, dragging out the moment and not folding.
But it’s just a slow roll!
That player has the winning hand – meaning something unbeatable, or close to the nuts. The opponent goes from feeling like a winner to feeling like hiding under the table.
Definition of a Slow Roll
The definition of a slow roll is:
Delaying showing your hand and making your opponent think they have won.
The call is usually easy for the slow-roller, like having the nuts or the second nuts.
Slow rolls usually go one of three ways:
- Slow rolling when the action is on you, but instead of acting, you delay.
- Slow rolling when it is showdown (delaying revealing cards).
Slow rolls are either hilarious or rude – and it all depends on who is doing the slow-rolling and who is getting slow-rolled.
Here’s a good example of a slow roll: At the Hustlers Casino, Han asked for a chip count after Trevor went all-in. That would normally be fine, except Han has Aces, meaning that this is not a reasonable question (and a delay).
Slow rolling is usually not explicitly forbidden in poker rooms, and it definitely isn’t online, but it’s not good etiquette. We’ve written the laws for online and live poker slow rolling so that you can properly apply this technique – or not.
Unwritten Slow-Roll Laws for Live & Online Poker
Live poker slow rolling is much more serious than online poker slow rolling.
Long-term poker players, and even newer ones, might play multiple tables at once online. Your slow roll might feel epic from your side of the computer, but the opponent was actually taking a sip of Coca-Cola or watching a different table.
Here are our unofficial laws for slow rolling in online and live poker games. They’ll help you avoid making missteps and having the slow roll backfire.
Online Poker Slow Roll Laws
Law #1: Watch your time!
In live poker, a dealer is going to get your attention before the time bank runs out, but that’s your responsibility online. If you want to slow roll, watch your timer closely and choose your moment.
Law #1: Slow rolls in tournaments hurt more – but don’t do it.
You need your time bank in tournaments, especially in the later stages. Be disciplined in poker MTTs and don’t slow roll, unless you are a streamer.
Law #1: Always slow roll friends in private online games.
In poker, some actions should be automatic. Calling all-ins when you have A♥ A♦, raising with A♥ K♥, but also, slow rolling friends in private online matches.
All of the poker sites below let you set up games where you get to send out the invites and customize the game. In PokerStars specifically, you can choose from Holdem and Omaha, but also over a dozen other formats like 5-card Omaha, Stud, Razz, and HORSE.
3 Live Poker Slow Roll Laws
Law #1: Only slow roll if you think the other person can handle it.
A slow roll can be hilarious with friends, but you want to be careful with this joke. There might be lots of money in the pot, and even if you are feeling light-hearted about the situation, your opponent might feel like a slow roll is a big insult.
Law #2: In live poker, don’t slow roll strangers.
Poker players come to casinos and card rooms to relax and enjoy the game. Most people probably won’t appreciate it when you show them the nut flush after a minute of shaking your head and acting.
Law #3: Slow rolls are best in small-sized pots (most of the time).
If you’re going to joke around, it’s a lot safer and sometimes funnier if the pot is small. When there is $10 in the pot, acting like you’re disappointed and then showing the nuts might be hilarious. If there is $500 in the pot, your opponent (and other players at the table) might feel differently.
In between your live poker sessions, you could play freerolls, cash games, and tournaments on partypoker. There are bonuses for small deposits and you can even host your own home games using their software.
Round the Clock freerolls are hourly and have prize pools of $50 to $200.
This Could Be the Worst Slow Roll in History
This example is the definition of what not to do. This player decided that an international televised poker tournament was a good place to slow roll.
What happened next in this EPT event was bizarre, confusing, and very poor etiquette.
There was a raise, a 3-bet from Cornils with A♣ A♥, and a shove from Suharto (playing for Team Canada) with K♦ K♥.
The original raiser folded, and the action was on Team Germany’s Cornils. With any combination of Aces during the preflop round, there is nothing to think about. Any player should instantly call, especially since the play is heads-up at this point.
But instead, Cornils chose to call a time out and speak with some members of Team Germany. There was a bit of laughter and not much discussion. Finally, Cornils returned to the table and made the call.
When you’re representing your country and you have the best hand, don’t slow roll. This one definitely didn’t have the desired effect.
Do You Want to Play More Poker – For Free?
If you want to improve at poker, you can enroll in freeroll tournaments or live chat with our staff about training software.
A freeroll gives you a chance to win real cash or tournament tickets but costs nothing to enter. You’ll have to play against a large pool of players and last into the final rounds, but that’s a valuable experience even if you don’t cash in your first freeroll.
Head over to our freeroll schedule to see which events are running today.