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While it may seem like a tired argument, ever year a players at the WSOP reignites the debate over slow play at the poker tables. William Kassouf frustrated players at this year’s Main Event for his slow play and his table talk antics.

At some point, we are going to be forced to sit through a session with someone that takes excessively long to act on every hand. When this happens, it is a good idea to keep in mind the reasons that this player is slowing down the game. Here are 5 reasons why some players take too long to act at the poker table.

They Don’t Want to Give Up Too Much Information

Somewhere along the line, most players have heard that you don’t want to act too fast because astute players can pick up on your style of play. While that is true, some go to the extreme and slow down every single action in order to avoid giving off action.

This is ridiculous. Folding your hand in a couple of second versus 30 seconds doesn’t give your opponent any additional information other. Focus on giving off less information during your standard play rather than slowing down the game when it is unnecessary.

They’re Trying to Put You on Tilt

It gets annoying having to wait for a player to act on every single action, especially simple actions that should only take a few seconds. Some of these players will pick up on this frustration and continue to play slowly in order to attempt to put you on tilt. They use slow play as a weapon in their poker arsenal and until they are forced to speed up their play by a tournament official, they will do it for the entire tournament.

They Have TV Syndrome

How many of us took up poker after watching it on television? Some that took up the game after watching it on TV also try to emulate those they see on TV. Unfortunately, this often leads to players that take way too long to act because they think that is how the game is normally played.

They take way too long to act on basic decisions because that’s how they saw it done on TV. It isn’t exactly “Hollywooding” because they are not trying to represent any particular hand but rather they are just mimicking what they’ve seen 100 times on TV.

They Don’t Realize It’s Their Turn to Act

Poker is a game that requires intense focus but for many of us it is impossible to stay focused in every single hand. Sometimes a player will mentally check out of a hand when they still have cards. These players sometimes need a gentle nudge to remind them that it is their turn to act.
Most of us have experienced this at one time or another. Perhaps the most famous example was during the 2003 WSOP Main Event. Action was on Chris Moneymaker but he didn’t realize it. Everyone thought Moneymaker was trying to stare into the soul of Howard Lederer but Johnny Chan realized that Moneymaker may have been oblivious to the fact it was his turn. He reminded him and we got one of the funniest poker moments from that year’s Main Event.


They Might Be New to Live Poker

Depending on the buy-in of your event, there’s a good chance you might sit down with players who may be playing in their first live poker game or live tournament. Some new players will slow down their action to try and keep from making a mistake or looking stupid at the table.

Often, they don’t realize that they are slowing down the pace of the game. Rather, they are still cutting their teeth and trying to get comfortable at the table. They may even comment on the fact they are playing in their first event, at which point you should just cut them some slack and try to help them feel welcome. These players typically pick up the pace after a while.

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James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.