What is a Slow Roll in Poker? Poker Game Explained

Jul 12, 2023


The game of poker has many aspects, and while it is built upon a set of rules, at the end of the day, it is a game between different people. If you want to properly play poker, you need people skills as well, as you can get tricked by other players or, worse, get slow-rolled. 

It goes without saying that cheating is pretty common in poker, with things like angle shooting around, and having fun becoming impossible when we are constantly targeted by fellow players.

While playing poker, you have to ensure that you are safe from the other players and their tactics. One such cruel tactic is slow rolling.

If you play poker and you don’t know what is slow roll in poker, you really should read this article, as it explains the tactic and how it works.

What is Slow Rolling in Poker?

poker hand

A poker slow roll happens when a player, despite having a strong hand, doesn’t show it at the poker table and makes the other players believe they have a chance of winning. 

A slow roll can delay showing cards, make the other players believe you have received an inferior set of cards, or do anything else that makes the people at the table believe you have no chance of winning when instead you probably have the strongest set on the table.

Slow rolling in poker is a taboo that goes directly against poker etiquette.

Now that we have cleared slow rolling meaning to you, read the next section and see some examples of poker slow rolls.

Examples of Slow Rolling in Poker?  

One thing about slow-rolling poker is that there is no clear-cut definition, but everyone who has played poker knows when a slow roll happens. This usually happens at the showdown when all the players have to show the cards they have received.

Below, we have given some examples of slow rolling in poker:

  • Pausing on the river and delaying their hand: The river in poker decides the outcome of the game and the winner as well. During the showdown, some players may delay showing their hands and take a long pause before ultimately revealing their winning cards. This is considered a slow roll in poker, and it goes directly against the etiquette of the game. 
  • Admitting defeat or that they have received a bad hand: Players can also slow roll other players by admitting defeat before the showdown or telling them they have received a bad hand when instead their cards are exceptionally good. This gives other players a false sense of winning before ultimately losing.
  • Mis declaring their hand: Slow rolling can occur when a player declares their hand as inferior while having really good cards. This makes other players believe they have a chance of winning but lose to the player in the showdown.
  • When a player doesn’t flip over all of their cards: After receiving the winning hand, some players intentionally don’t flip over all of their cards, and do it at the end of the showdown. 

Now that you know what is slow rolling in poker, read the next section to see what makes poker slow rolling so bad.

What Makes Poker Slow Rolling So Bad?

poker showdown

A slow roll is one of the worst things anyone can do while playing poker. The reason why delaying during poker showdowns has such a negative reaction is that it goes directly against poker etiquette.

The main reason why slow rolling is frowned upon is because it makes other players at the table believe they have a chance of winning while you don’t show your winning hand. This can motivate the players into betting a large amount of money but instead losing to you.

Apart from slowing the game down and tricking other players, slow rolling goes against the main motive of the game. 

Slow rolling is pretty much unwelcome at every poker table you can find, and those who end up doing it also get to face the negative consequences of it. I would suggest you search for slow roll on Youtube, there is no shortage of Slow Roller Gets Owned videos. 

Is Slow Rolling Legal?

Poker has many written and unwritten rules, and while slow rolling in poker is considered to be one of the worst things anyone can do at the table, there is still no rule that prohibits this from happening. 

Slow rolling not being against the rules is the reason why more and more people end up doing it on the table. While slow rolling may not be in the rule books, it is still highly unacceptable in the world of poker. If you ever end up trying it, be prepared to get banned from the table. 

Getting banned or asked to leave may be the general punishment for slow rolling in poker, but if you’re unlucky, you may have to deal with the people you have made angry. 

A big reason why slow rolls are considered taboo is because no one likes being on the receiving end of it, and it disturbs the mood at the table. Many times, fights have erupted because of slow rolling.

It goes without saying that delays during showdowns are a big reason why people fight during poker games, so if you have decided to slow-roll someone, be prepared to fight them as well.  

Does Slow Rolling Happen in Online Poker?

Slow rolling does happen in online poker as well, but it is not the same as in live poker. Online poker slow rolls are somewhat excusable, mostly because there are multiple reasons why they can happen while playing poker online.

Most people who play poker online don’t just focus on a single game; instead, they play multiple games at the same time. This is a very common practice in the online poker community and a big reason why there are delays during showdowns. 

The people you’re playing poker with are probably multi-tabling,  which can lead to delays during showdowns. Another reason why there is a delay in showing cards can be because of a slow internet connection. 

Is Slow Roll Related to Slow Playing in Poker?

Poker slow rolls are often confused with slow playing, but these two terms are not the same. Both slow play and rolling are deceptive tactics, but these are different. 

Also known as sandbagging or trapping, slow playing refers to the act of making weak bets to motivate other players into participating in the game. With slow playing, a player with a strong set of cards intentionally makes weak bets to lure the players who are more likely to fold. This raises the amount of money the player will win from the game. 

Suggested Post: Best Craps Strategy 2023

What to Do If You Get Slow Rolled?

poker table

If you get slow rolled by someone, your first course of action should be to control yourself. Most slow rolls are done to taunt other players and get under their skin. The game of poker requires you to control your emotions, and the same thing happens with slow rolls as well. 

There isn’t much you can do after getting slow rolled except let the dealer know about it. This will surely put your opponent in their place and ensure a safe playing environment.

Something that can happen at the poker table is someone else getting slow rolled in front of you. In this case, make sure to let the player know this is wrong. You can also do the same to the person if the player is not stopping. 

While slow rolling is mostly prohibited in poker, there are areas where it is not a big deal. Next, we have explained instances when it is okay to slow roll in poker.

When is it Okay to Slow Roll in Poker?

Most people avoid slow rolling other players, but those comfortable with the table dynamics know when to do it and when it is not okay to slow roll someone.

Most groups have their own set of rules, and slow rolling is not considered a big deal. In those groups, always make sure to do it to the players to get the full feel of the game and have a good time. A game of strip poker always gets intense, in these situations, you can do a slow roll while defeating your opponents. 

As mentioned above, feel free to slow-roll someone who has slow rolled another player at the table; in some cases, this is the only way to control the table.

Not every poker table is a friendly place, and most players are not very good to play with. If you ever find yourself with a bad bunch of players, in these cases, feel free to slow roll other players to let them know you mean business. 

In Conclusion

This concludes our guide on slow rolling in poker. Don’t forget, everyone at the poker table wants to have a good time and be around people with similar interests, and slow rolling doesn’t match that. 

Something like slow rolling has no place in the world of poker, but sadly, it does. If you’ve read everything we have mentioned above, you surely know how a single slow roll can ruin the mood at the table, so make sure never to slow roll another player, no matter what your mind says. 


Ans: There is no clear-cut penalty for doing a slow roll, if you’re lucky, you can be left off with just a warning. In worst-case scenarios you may get asked to leave the table or even get into a fight with the person you slow rolled.

Ans: No, slow rolling is not allowed in professional poker matches. 

Ans: No, slow rolling is not a good poker strategy. A slow roll is not a strategy that you can use to maximize your chances of winning, it just serves to taunt the other players at the table and make them mad.

Ans: Yes, if you believe the person is intentionally slow rolling you, feel free to report them.

Also Read: The Suicide King Car Explained