There is a right time to slow play and a wrong time to slow play. Understanding the right time to slow play will help you in your game long term and increase the amounts you win. When you have a hand that is big you want the pot to be built in order to maximise potential and this requires that you bet and raise in order to do so. However there are times when it is better to let your opponent be the one to be aggressive and build the pot for you.
This is ideal when facing an opponent who is aggressive on a regular basis. These are players who generally play aggressively with poor hands and often try to represent stronger hands against those who usually will play by principal or will protect their stacks. Those players are excellent to be in a big hand against as they will usually continue the aggressive pattern thinking their actions will make you fold. When in that situation check to these players and call their raises. Maybe consider adding a small bet if in position on the turn or river in order to make them act and re-raise you. An example of this is having a small pocket pair and hitting a full house or hitting a set. You have a power hand and in a very good position to take down the pot. If you were to bet all others will fold so checking and waiting for the aggressive player to act is ideal. This is a good hand to slow play against players who play in this manner. It allows you to get the most out of your big hands and play your poor hands to some extent to see if you can come out on top in a few of those.
Generally you do not want to slow play your stronger hands as there is always the risk of being out-drawn on the flop, turn or river. A good example of this is when you have a high pair and only limp in versus raising the pot. This is a common error made by inexperienced players who think this is the best way to build the pot. They think they are trapping other players when in reality, most times, they are permitting those players to pay a small amount to see a flop and be in a better position after the flop. That put you in the weaker position and now behind in the hand. You often will think you are ahead and will wonder why the other player or players are calling your bets to only discover at the end of the hand that you made a fatal error.
Understanding the right time to slow play
Understanding the right time to slow play is a element to poker that will help you gain in the long run. Those who manage to perfect this and really gain a solid understanding of it are able to use slow playing as a way to increase their profitability and become a winning player.