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The idea of slowplaying is simple.  Even people who have never played poker in their lives understand how to slowplay.  Fastplaying, however, is a concept that very few beginning players think about.  One fastplays when one bets a big value hand hard and plays it very aggressively.  Here’s three reasons why fastplaying a big hand is usually the best option.

It builds up the pot

This first reason is also the most important. You want to play big pots with big hands, but you usually won’t be able to play a big pot unless you build it up yourself.  Because most bad players tend to call too much and bet too little, they will rarely do the betting for you if checked to or given the option.  In addition, because pot sizes grow geometrically in no limit and pot limit games, in such games it is very critical to get in bets on early streets.  By building up pots from the start, one can put in bigger bets on later streets much more easily.

It adds an element of deception

Often times, opponents expect us to slowplay with very strong nutted hands. Thus, we can extract greater value and actually induce calls against such players by betting our big hands hard.  In addition, by sometimes fastplaying strong hands, one balances his ranges more, giving him more bluffing opportunities and making him harder to play back against.

It prevents our action from getting killed

Even if we have the nuts and our opponent has the second nuts, in many situations there are still cards that could come that would make either him or us not want to play for stacks. Imagine you’re in position against one player and you hold Ah3h.  It’s a limped pot, and flop comes up Th7h4h.  Your opponent checks to you and you check back for deception.  The turn comes the Jh.  Your opponent checks, and you bet pot.  He calls, and river comes the 2s.  He check-calls a pot sized bet from you again and shows KhQh.  This entire hand is a disaster.  Because you gave the free card on the turn trying to be tricky, the fourth heart killed your action by changing his hand from the near-nuts to a bluffcatcher.  Had you simply bet flop, you could easily have played an exponentially larger pot and possibly even have gotten stacks in.


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ALL IN Magazine Contributor Zhijian Xing