Slow Roll Poker: The Best Way to Annoy Your Opponents

Slow roll poker is a great way to annoy your opponents and make it difficult for them to win. By playing slowly and deliberately, you can frustrate them and make the game more challenging. While some players may find this frustrating, others will appreciate the challenge and enjoy the game more.

If you’re looking for a way to add an extra level of difficulty to your poker games, slow roll poker is definitely worth trying!

What does Slow Roll Poker mean?

Slow rolling in poker can be one of the most serious sins. All poker players at the table will frown upon it. It will not earn you any respect, friendliness, or warm feelings from other players.

It is breaking the highest form of etiquette in the poker room.

Definition of Slow Roll in Poker

There are many meanings of a slow roll. These are the possible meanings of “slow roll”:

  • A situation in which a player deliberately takes a long pause before calling an All-In bet. Even if you have a strong or unbeatable poker card.
  • A situation in which a player deliberately takes a long pause before revealing their winning hand. This happens most often at showdowns. This happens usually after the other player shows their hole cards.
  • Verbally speaking with a player.
    • (1a) Admits defeat to their opponent.
    • (1b) Mis-declares or underrepresents them at showdown.
    • (2) reveals their winning cards.

Why is Slow Rolling so Bad?

Slow rolling is bad because it violates acceptable poker etiquette. If you have the winning hand, flip your hand immediately. This is also a good idea if you have the winning hand and/or it’s your turn at showdown.

(NEVER Keep your winning cards face-down for a longer time when it’s your turn.)

Slow rolling is bad because it gives your opponent false hope of winning the hand. If you know they will lose, then slow rolling is like rubbing salt in an open wound. They will have to endure a painful and difficult experience.

It doesn’t serve anyone.

Slow rolling won’t make you friends at the table. It will likely end up hurting more than the slow roll victim.

You will quickly become a disliked player. No one will want to play with your again.

Slow rolling destroys poker’s good sportsmanship.

Slow Roll Strategy

When it comes to a slow-rolling strategy, don’t do it! Here are some steps you can take to avoid slow-rolling:

  • When it’s your turn, reveal or muck your cards immediately.
  • Instantly call an all-in bet. This should only be done if you have the strongest hand possible.
  • Before going to a showdown, always double-check your hand. This will prevent you from wrongly declaring the hand.
  • If you are new to poker or still trying to figure out which hand is the best, flip your cards immediately at showdown. Let the dealer decide which hand is the winner.

However, experienced players can do it every once in a while when the situation calls for it. You can find specific examples in the next section.

Here’s a hint:

  • If it’s ever done, it’s usually between friends. They have an established history that allows slow rolling to be acceptable. They will only be able to communicate between them.
  • You shouldn’t slow roll, but if you do, make sure it is only for a small pot. Don’t do it in substantial pots. It’s never fun to lose large amounts of money in poker hands.
  • If your goal is to slow roll a friend, then smaller or less significant pots might be a better choice. Avoid high-stakes cash games that are all-in or at the end of a tournament.

Slow Rolling vs. Hollywooding

Avoid falling for the trap of confusing “slow-rolling” with “Hollywooding”.

Slow rolling is only possible when:

  • During a betting round, YOU are closing out the action.
  • Your opponent is all in
  • You’re head-up with this opponent (i.e., There are no other players in the pot).

The definition of Hollywooding can be extended to include two points that are similar but not the same:

Situation #1 Your Opponent is Not Yet All-In Sometimes players will take their time before 4betting and 5bet jamming (like AA preflop). They are trying to hide any timing reveal, and this is acceptable.

Example: Some players might take some time before shoving QQ and AK. They want to appear that they are thinking about their options before ripping it in ).

Situation #2: Multiway Pots

Another situation that might be acceptable is this:

  • The nuts are available.
  • The pot is multiway.
  • The player to your immediate right has gone all in.
  • Before calling, you must take your time.
  • There is still one player that you can follow.

Taking your time before calling, this will help you induce the third player to call the bet. You are trying to make it seem difficult for the third player by delaying your calls.

You want to make it appear weak with your hand. You might be able to get a weaker call or even a bigger all-in raise from 3 players.

You are not yet at showdown or closing the action.

Live vs. Online Slow Rolling

Slow rolling in live Poker is unacceptable as it is always intentional. Only one hand can be focused on at a given time at any one table.

Multi-tabling is a common feature of online poker. This means that many players can play multiple tables simultaneously.

Their attention could be diverted. They may spend their time focusing on decisions at other tables.

It is still unacceptable to online slow roll, but it may not always be intentional.

Slow Roll Examples

1. Jamie Staples’ Tournament Dreams are Crushed by Tonkaaaa’s Aces

Two renowned poker pros met preflop in the early-to-mid stages of a $109 online tournament. The hand became what is often nothing more than a cooler.

Pocket Kings or Pocket Aces

Tonkaaaaa placed a button bet and Jamie cold placed a 4bet all in with KK from the small blind. Tonkaaaa chose to slow-roll his Aces against the Team Pro

You can see their side-by-side reactions in the video link above. They were both streaming simultaneously on Twitch.

Ironically, this wasn’t the first time Jamie Staples was slow-rolled online by Aces! 

2. Jack Ury Main Event

LOCATION WSOP Major Event (2009)

Jack Ury was the oldest player to ever participate in a WSOP event at the age of 97. Jack and Steven Friedlander played a hand in 2009 when they flopped a full-house. Jack held 7-7, while Steven had 7-6 on the 6-6-7 flop.

Jack bet the flop, and Steven raised it all in. He said, “Why don’t we just get all of the money in right away?” He seemed to mock Jack.

Jack placed his remaining chips in the middle’ He then said, ” Bye-bye,” as if to suggest that his opponent was ahead.

Jack is currently the only hand that can beat him. This would be the unlikely pocket 6-for-quads.

Steven had just thrown in his 7-6 full-house, and Jack reacted by saying, “What do you have?” You’re in trouble.

Jack paused for dramatics when Jack was asked by the dealer to flip his cards. He waited even longer until finally revealed his hand to the delight of all the players.

Slow rolling is unethical but there are some things you can say about an elderly man slow-rolling a player who is not half his age. They were especially happy after the playful banter that they had earlier in hand.

3. Sam Abernathy’s Revenge versus Mikel Habb’s Preflop Slow Roll

LOCATION: Aussie Millions Main Event (2016)

UTG decided to raise 50k with 15 players remaining in the 2016 Aussie Millions Main Event. Blinds were at 12k/24k.

Mikel Habb then 3bet KKK on the button to 112k from his 476k stack. He did, however, take back his raising chips and say he meant to call.

He appeared weak in this act, and it was done in a dirty and misleading way. After the raise was over Sam Abernathy 4-bet shoved 514k with 66.

The UTG’s sudden fold was followed by a pathetic performance. Habb performed a full-on, deplorable slow roll with an acting performance that was nothing short of cringeworthy.

Did he really believe he was up against the AA? It is not true, and even if it was, it would have been cooler.

Habb was rewarded with karma when the board ran out Q-9T-T. The river gave Habb a beautiful 6 and sent him to the rail, delivering poker justice.

If you’re this deep in a tournament the already-unethical slow rolling is unacceptable.

Think Twice Before Slow Rolling

Slow rolling is ultimately detrimental to the player who slow rolls. It is un-classy and unethical, as well as a terrible part of poker for those who dare venture there.

Your unsportsmanlike behavior will not be appreciated by your fellow players. Slow rolling is often frowned upon by other players. It is also a reason for the table not to be friendly or hostile towards each other.

You will be hated by your fellow players and they won’t even want you at their table.

As losing with grace in poker is critical, winning with grace can also be important.

  • Do not give players false hope by slow rolling.
  • Do not make them feel worse about losing the pot.

When it’s time for you to show your hand:

  • Keep quiet.
  • Now, turn your hand over immediately.
  • Graciously enjoy raking in your winnings!


Slow roll poker can be a great way to add an extra level of difficulty to your games and annoy your opponents. By playing slowly and deliberately, you can make the game more challenging for them and frustrate them in the process.

While some poker players may find this frustrating, others will appreciate the challenge and enjoy the game more. If you’re looking for a way to add an extra dimension to your poker games, slow roll poker is definitely worth trying out!