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Slow Roll

What is ‘Slow Roll’?

‘Slow roll’ is a phrase used to describe a poker player who deliberately delays revealing their cards despite knowing that they have won. It is a form of showboating and it is seen by almost every player as a serious breach of poker etiquette, because it builds the opponent’s belief in a winning hand. Sometimes the phrase is used to describe a player who draws out their bet and hesitates over actions, although this is seen as a normal part of the game.

‘Slow Roll’ Explained

In poker, a ‘slow roll’ is seen as one of the worst things a player can do to their opponent: aside from cheating them, of course! It is a serious breach of the generally agreed ‘code of conduct’ for poker players – the ‘etiquette’ which has been established over generations of players.

To ‘slow roll’ an opponent, a player must hold (or suspect that they hold) the best hand in that game. There will also be at least one opponent who thinks they might have the best hand. The slow roller’s hand is likely to be a straight flush, perhaps even a royal flush. If that player has hidden their hand from their opponents successfully, there might be something of a bidding war for the pot before the final showdown. Often, the game ends in a heads-up situation with players re-raising or making the all-in.

The ‘slow roll’ occurs at the reveal, when a player takes their time over turning the cards. It is good practice in poker to flip your cards over right away at the reveal if you suspect you have won. Drawing out the process is unfair on the opponent and a sign of disrespect. If a player waits to reveal their cards until after their opponent, despite knowing that they hold the ‘nuts’ or the best hand, they are said to ‘slow roll’.