How To Deal With Slow Rolling In Poker


Posted: November 16, 2023

Updated: November 16, 2023

Playing poker in a casino for real money can be extremely stressful. However, some crafty players make use of underhand tactics to exploit this altered state of mind. One such method, that's not illegal, though is seen as bad-sportsmanship, is slow rolling in poker. It's a means to drive an opponent nuts with frustration and leads to deminished winning chances thanks to loss of concentration.

Observing poker etiquette is crucial for every player, whether at a casual table or in an online poker tournament. While unwritten, there exists a recognized code among players that outlines the expected ways to demonstrate respect and basic sportsmanship. Slow rolling in poker, a particular transgression, tends to irk players significantly, particularly when it’s executed intentionally. So, what exactly is slow rolling in poker? Let’s delve into why it’s considered undesirable, how to steer clear of it (even unintentionally), and the optimal approach to deal with a slow roller.

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What Is Slow Rolling In Poker?

According to online poker news in the US, slow rolling in poker occurs when a player deliberately prolongs the moment of revealing their winning hand during a showdown. It’s as if they are intentionally extending the suspense to mess with their opponent’s psyche. Picture yourself at the table, heart pounding, eagerly awaiting to discover if your hand is the winner. The opposing player is well aware they hold a strong hand, yet instead of promptly revealing their cards to maintain the game’s pace, they opt to create a spectacle. They make you wait, heightening the suspense and toying with your emotions. This can be immensely frustrating and downright impolite.

Slow rolling in poker is widely regarded as highly disrespectful, serving as a taunt to the opponent and a means of showcasing superiority. It’s akin to adding insult to injury, revelling in the knowledge that they possess the winning hand. Needless to say, this behaviour is far from amicable and has the potential to generate tension at the poker table. It’s crucial, however, to differentiate a slow roll from the act of taking time to contemplate strategies during a hand. Poker involves strategic thinking, and players are permitted to reflect on their moves. Yet intentionally prolonging the revelation of a winning hand after all bets are placed is what pushes the situation into slow roll territory.

Online Poker And Slow Rolling

In the realm of online poker at some of the best online poker sites in the US like 888Poker, the nuances of slow rolling in poker can diverge from the traditional setting. Should you find yourself holding the optimal hand or something in close proximity on the river, lingering for more than a brief moment before making your move may be construed as a slow roll.

slow rolling in poker
Picture Source: Flickr

Many online poker participants engage in multi-tabling, dividing their attention across numerous hands. Unlike live games, slow rolling in the virtual arena often fails to elicit the same intense reactions. It may go unnoticed or draw minimal concern. In reality, most instances of online slow rolling are unintentional, arising from factors such as internet lag, players managing multiple tables, or distractions in their surroundings.

Why Not To Engage In Slow Rolling In Poker?

The act of slow rolling is stigmatised and deemed disrespectful due to various factors, such as those shown below:

Lack Of Sporting Spirit

Engaging in slow rolling contradicts the principles of fair play and sportsmanship. It’s akin to exacerbating the disappointment of a defeated opponent and flaunting your victory when fully aware of holding the winning hand. While poker is undeniably competitive, it also revolves around notions of respect and equitable treatment of adversaries.

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Emotional Turmoil

Picture the anticipation of discovering whether your hand emerges victorious, only to have your opponent intentionally prolong the revelation of their cards. It’s undeniably exasperating. Slow rolling in poker can manipulate your emotions, leaving you frustrated, angry, or even feeling betrayed. Unscrupulous players employ this tactic deliberately to destabilise their opponents, creating an unpleasant experience for everyone involved.

Disruption Of Game Flow

Poker inherently demands strategic thinking and decision-making, but slow rolling exacerbates the deliberation process, causing the game to grind to a sluggish pace. This disruption hampers the natural flow and rhythm of play, needlessly dragging out the proceedings. Impatience may ensue among other players, eroding the enjoyment of the game for all.

Management Of Reputation

Poker adheres to its unwritten code of conduct and etiquette, with slow rolling firmly placed on the undesirable list.

slow rolling in poker
Picture Source: Pickpik

It is perceived as poor sportsmanship and can tarnish one’s reputation among peers. Upholding respect, fairness, and fostering a positive atmosphere at the table are integral to a gratifying poker experience and crucial for maintaining a favourable reputation.

Potential For Conflict

Slow rolling in poker carries the risk of sparking disputes and tensions. The individual subjected to a slow roll may respond strongly, escalating into arguments or awkward moments at the table. Such drama is counterproductive to the friendly and enjoyable atmosphere that should characterise a poker game. Poker is meant to be a source of enjoyment and excitement, not an instigator of unnecessary conflicts.

Absence Of Penalties

Advocates of slow rolling in poker might argue that official rules don’t expressly prohibit it, and technically, they would be correct. The rules do not specify a particular time limit for revealing one’s hand during a showdown. While there may not be immediate official penalties, such as being mandated to take a break from the table, poker room managers reserve the right to intervene if they perceive such behaviour as disruptive. Even without stringent rules, they possess the authority to mete out penalties, potentially leading to sideline exclusion. In essence, it’s crucial to gauge the atmosphere and abide by the unspoken norms.

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Avoiding Slow Rolling

For those still acquainting themselves with the intricacies of poker, whether in live or online games, unintentional slow rolling can inadvertently lead to trouble, underscoring the importance of understanding proper poker etiquette.

To prevent unintentional slow rolling, keep the following guidelines in mind:

  • When it’s your turn, either discard your hand (muck) or reveal your cards promptly. Showing your hand at the appropriate moment is crucial for the smooth progression of the game.
  • If you possess the indisputably best hand (the nuts), it’s generally advisable to reveal your hand first, unless there’s a specific reason not to do so. This practice minimises confusion and unnecessary delays in determining the hand’s winner.
  • Practice politeness and consideration towards fellow players. If someone conveys that you have the winning hand with comments like “you’ve got it,” take it as a cue to reveal your hand. This demonstrates respect for their acknowledgment and contributes to maintaining a positive atmosphere at the table.

How To Handle Slow Rollering In Poker

  • When confronted with a slow roll, take a moment to compose yourself. While it can be frustrating, strive to remain calm and collected. Whatever you do, don’t go full tilt. Remember, it’s just a game, and each player has their unique style.
slow rolling in poker
Picture Source: Pexels
  • Exhibit good sportsmanship by maintaining composure and refraining from negative or confrontational reactions. Focus on the fact that it’s part of the game, and everyone approaches it differently.
  • Move past the slow roll and shift your attention to the next hand. Avoid letting it impact your concentration or enjoyment of the game; dwelling on it only distracts you from making wise decisions.
  • If you consistently encounter a player who engages in frequent slow rolling in poker or if it significantly affects your experience, consider addressing the matter with the poker room staff or floor manager. They are present to ensure a fair and enjoyable environment for all players.
  • View the slow roll as a learning opportunity. Reflect on your emotions and use the experience as a reminder to always be respectful and considerate at the poker table. Treat others in the manner you wish to be treated.

Continue Your Online Poker Journey With 888Poker

While achieving the legendary status of a GTO (Game Theory Optimal) player might be a distant goal, investing time in learning poker etiquette and maintaining composure during slow rolls is worthwhile. We think you should try to be a better person by not engaging in slow rolling in poker. Just because some people do it, doesn’t mean you should follow this behaviour, as it will not prove popular with other players.

Here at, we suggest you go ahead and register with 888Poker to enhance your skills by participating in live dealer casino games. You can also explore the diverse array of exciting and generous online casino bonuses, incentives, and offers, all designed to make your bankroll go further.

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