Passivity: A Key Strategy in Poker
Beginning poker players often make the mistake of betting each round, and performing a raise whenever they get the chance. Perhaps this is due to the belief that in poker, aggression has more value than passivity. However, playing passively ensures a poker player more control over one's gains and losses, and considerable amount of tempo.
The principle behind playing passively as a strategy in poker is that since other players do not know what cards you are holding, then by playing passively - by frequent calling, checking, and folding - one could lure them into thinking that you play only when you have good cards. This means that even if you have weak cards in hand, opponents would be reluctant to play against you.
Perhaps the most popular passive play is the slow play. A slow play is a poker strategy that is done when one only checks and calls even when one has a very good hand. The aim of the slow play is to lure opponents into thinking that you have a weak hand; therefore making them put more money in the pot. This poker strategy maximizes the efficiency of a strong hand by making the pot large.
Frequent checks, calls, and folds as a poker strategy would evoke an image of a careful and hesitant player. Since players would have a hard time in predicting the strength of your hand, they would most often fall into your trap and increase the size of the pot, or fold just to be safe. When this happens, you are already controlling tempo or the pace of the game, and most surely you are on the path to victory.
An advantage that playing passively would give you is that since you are betting shyly and folding frequently, you have more control over your losses. And since each time you bet you are guaranteed to win, you will be sure to gain, even if it is a little bit slow. This means that you will be sure to last until the late parts of the game.
Most players will think that constantly playing passively will create a predictable table-image, making their actions easily read by other players. However, one could turn predictability into an advantage, since one could predict what other players' reaction would be.
For example, if one has the image of a slow player, then you could expect your opponents to fold, since they would be reluctant in increasing the size of the pot. That means that once you have a weak hand, you only need to continue slow playing and the opponents would have a high chance of folding, thinking that you are holding a good hand. You do not even have to bluff!
Passive playing is an effective poker strategy. While it does involve low risks, one could risk running out of chips, and therefore betting power, if one fails to control the tempo of the game. Excellent timing and execution of folds, calls, checks, and slow plays would be the most effective passive poker strategy, and would be your ticket to winning.