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Slow-rolls and Rub Downs


Slow-rolls and Rub Downs Generally speaking it is regarded as completely unacceptable to deliberately slow-roll and opponent (unless you have at least half a reason to wish to wind them up). A slow-roll is where either in mid hand you clearly have an exceptionally strong hand and when a player moves all-in against you and you take what your opponent regards as an inordinate amount of time to call as if struggling to decide what to do when, in reality, your hand is so strong that calling is the only possible option.

Now clearly that is open to a lot of subjective interpretation and the ability of a player to make such determinations will always be significantly affected by the players general decision making capabilities, their feeling of security at the time, their experience of the size of the event in which they are playing and many other factors that will differ from one player to another (again if you are clearly known to be a very good judge then taking an unnecessary amount of time may well increase the “jab” you deliver to your opponent).

It is obviously much worse (or better, depending on your intent) if the river card has been dealt and there is no room for concern about future cards coming and even more so if you hold the best possible hand. Again where someone has a hand that is clearly the best hand or that could not possibly be losing , given the way the hand has played out, this again, however, is subject to the player concerned having the necessary understanding of reading the play in order to make that determination. This is obviously not the case where a player holds the nuts and still takes time to call.

There are certain European countries (Spain and France in particular) where slow-rolling an opponent seems to be regarded as a national past-time.

Many Scandinavian players also effectively do the same, although in defence of the Scandinavian players when they take an age to show a hand (including the nuts) on the river this is usually done when in position and is not an attempt to irritate an opponent 9though that may be a bonus) but is to attempt to gain the maximum information about the playing style of the opponent. Even though they have the nuts they want to see your hand so that with knowledge of how you played the hand they can better read your play in future hands. They do not sit there with the nuts waiting to see your hand before they show theirs, because they are not sure if they are winning or just to wind you up, though if you do not appreciate the motive, it is very easy to get the wrong idea and I know I have reacted badly to such actions in the past, until my ignorance was enlightened by a Swedish player in Prague.

Rub-downs are generally regarded with even less appreciation as the vast majority of the time this is a deliberate attempt to rub salt in the wound of a defeated foe.

Sometimes it can be the ignorance or lack of understanding of the winner that can cause an unfortunate rub-down to take place but, for the victim, that is akin to an accidental elbow to the crotch, in that, the accidental nature of the blow will not lessen the discomfort.

To be honest when it is not happening to me and sometimes when it is depending on who is doing it, I find both slow-rolls and Rub-downs quite amusing, although I still find it offensive when the action is totally unprovoked and the victim is undeserving.

I have personally witnessed some interesting comments in the last few weeks. On day 1 of the WSOP main event there was a hand where a player raised and was called by a Welsh lad (the fact he was Welch is irrelevant). The community cards were 93410J and after betting on the flop and river the Welsh lad showed a nine and his pre-flop raising opponent also showed a nine. The Welsh lad then asks “what have you got with it? The other 9?” and his opponent reveals a rather hopeful 5. The welsh lad then shows his other card which was another nine. So he had flopped a set and on the river having seen his opponents nine, can not be losing and also asks his opponent if he has the only card he knows he can not have, his opponent was sheepish in his response.

I was playing in a £5 re-buy event (that is what I can afford nowadays) at the Rubicon Casino in Wolverhampton and after my 28 re-buys (I was not playing my usual tight game) I played in a £1/£2 NL cash game. Again I did not adopt my usual tight and carefully considered approach to the game and in one hand was all-in pre-flop foe £314 with A8 double suited called by pocket fours. It is arguably the case that facing a bet to £32 following my £16 blind bet, my re-raise to £314 may be regarded as somewhat excessive (James Akenhead might like it though) and a bit of an over-bet. Even so I think I prefer my bet to the call with pocket fours in a £1/£2 game.

Anyway getting back on track, in one hand the player next to me calls a bet of £7, on a rainbow flop of AJ8, the turn card is a 7 and he now bets out £25, his sole opponent re-raises all-in and before he makes a decision for his last £18 he says “I can not fold for with just this amount left” and he calls with 910 for the stone cold nuts. I asked him if the fact that he had the nuts factored into his decision to call and he again confirmed that he had to call for what he had left. I thought it might be interesting to refine the question for him and so then asked him if he would have called if he had a million pounds on the table and he said “I guess so”, reckless bugger that he was.

Karl Mahrenholz suffered some interesting slow rolls in Las Vegas this year that may be down to an American bias against people that grow excessively upwards rather than outwards.

In one WSOP event his opponent faced Karl’s all-in bet on the turn on a broken innocuous board and took an age to call with second set. Karl was reasonably shocked at the length of time his opponent took to call and asked him how come it took him so long to call. Fortunately Vanessa Roussa (I have seen her play live and on TV and have to say that I am sure her blonde hair is natural) was just joining the table and, using all the depth of her sophisticated poker analysis, suggested that it might be because he feared that Karl might have top set. Impressive to get both a slow-roll and rub-down from two different players in the same hand, though I do not think Vanessa meant it that way, nice Ipod though.

Later in the Bellagio he moved all-in and was called by an opponent who was very reluctant to show his hand and specifically waited for Karl to show his hand first. Karl showed top pair for two pairs, much to the relief of his opponent who, for some reason, seemed to think that his quads might not be good.

In the 2005 WSOP with about 300 players left Iwan Jones was very unlucky when on a flop of Q22 he bet (holding AQ) and called the re-raise to set him all-in versus the 1010 of Olga Varkoni with an ace on the turn and a two outer 10 on the river he was sent to rail with Olga observing how badly HE had played his hand.

Presumably surprised by her comments, several players on the table offered an alternate interpretation of the hand and it seemed to send her on tilt as she blew a huge chip stack within the next 20 minutes. The baby jesus delivered his justice swiftly!!

Basically, if you slow-roll or rub down with malicious intent the chances are that karma is going to get you and give it to you hard, probably from behind.

Thu, 7th April 2011

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