Slow Playing On the Flop in PLO

Players oftentimes complain about how often they get outdrawn in PLO. Due to the extra cards, the number of draws is seemingly endless, and made hands on the flop never seem to be the best hand on the river.

What are some different things that players can do to mitigate the huge draw factor on the flop? Slow playing is an excellent answer, and one that many players overlook when playing made hands.

Note: All hand examples will be 6-max and 100bbs.

The Problem

Hand 1.0- MP opens PF, the BTN calls with Tx Tc 9c 8h, and all else fold. The flop is Ts 4s 5h and MP bets the flop. The BTN raises 3x his bet and MP shoves with As 6s 7c 8d for a flush draw and wrap. The turn is the Qs and the river bricks, resulting in MP winning the pot.

Players oftentimes see their made hand on the flop and want to price out draws. And on draw heavy boards, many players are scared to get outdrawn.

Let’s look at the equity on that flop with hand 1.0-

Flop: T 4 5

TT98 52%
A678 48%

Now, let’s look at the hand differently. If BTN had simply called the flop bet by MP and the turn was the Kd- (T 4 5 K)

TT98 60%
AA67 40%

Assume MP bets the turn and BTN pot raises. He has an extra 8% equity than he did on the flop. This is a fairly common play in NLHE- to wait until your opponent’s equity is lowered before making a strong raise. Oftentimes, players will still commit to their draw even if the turn bricks off and does not improve their hand.

Slow playing the flop is an excellent way to counter the multitude of draws with made hands on the flop.

Solution: Slow Playing

Slow playing on the flop in PLO means not raising on boards that have a multitude of draws with made hands. Made hands are typically hands that are the best hand on that board at that moment (on the flop), but possibly not by the river. Made hands on dry boards can also be slow played as well. Hands such as sets or weak straights are good examples of made hands in this situation. Some hand examples:

-6753 on a 8s 9s 5h board
-9922 on a 8s 9s 4h board
AQ95 on an As Qs 4h board

And so on. The made hand does not necessarily have to be the nuts, but it should be fairly strong in relation to the board texture and your opponent’s range.

The proceeding action with a weak made hand is to usually get the money in on a blank turn- be it open leading into the aggressor or shoving in position. Rarely is a player able to flat call again on the turn brick unless they are very deep.

This play is often best when the player does not have much equity beyond the made hand- meaning no redraws (redraws being backdoor flushes, higher straight draws, or others). An example of a redraw might be:

Ah 6h 7d 8s on a 5h 8h 4s board. The player has the nuts with the nut redraw and has zero turn (other than board pairing) to fear. In this situation, it may be best to simply flat call the flop AND flat call a turn bet as well (obviously circumstantial on many things). Of course, raising either on the flop or turn is still a solid option; but a player should be less inclined to do so with a made hand and solid redraws.

When ‘slow playing the hands’, these are the actions that equate to slow playing-

We are the… (With a made hand)

Non Pre Flop Raiser (PFR) in position: PFR raises PF, we call. PFR bets the flop, we flat call.
Non Pre Flop Raiser OOP: PFR raises PF, we call. We check, PFR bets the flop, we call the flop

Pre Flop Raiser in position: We raise PF, player 1 calls. Player 1 checks to us, we bet, they raise, we call (though, in this situation we can definitely just shove much of the time).

*If player 1 leads into us, we simply flat call instead of raise.

Author Note: This list may be confusing. In summation, the basic idea is to flat call any aggression on the flop instead of raising with a made hand as opposed to simply getting the money in on the flop.

Playing Out of Position (OOP)

Assume that we have a made hand OOP on a draw heavy board. A nice way to slow play OOP is to use the check call and pot turn line. This line is typically referred to as the stop and go in NLHE, and despite not being as common, it still present.

Hand 2.0- CO raises PF, all fold to the BB, who calls with Qs Qh 9c Ts. The flop is Qd 4d 5h and the BB checks, CO bets, BB calls. The turn is the Ks and the BB leads for pot.

Hand 3.0- MP raises with As Ad 2d 3h PF and BTN calls (all else fold). The flop is As Jh 9h. MP checks, BTN bets the flop, and MP calls. The turn is the 2s and MP open pots.

Hand 4.0- UTG raises PF and all fold to the BB, who calls with 5d 6d 7s As. The flop is 4h 7h 8c and the BB checks, UTG bets, BB calls. The turn is the Qc and the BB open pots.

These are a few examples of the stop and go. The basic premise is still the same- capitalize on your equity when the turn bricks.

If your opponent checks behind on the flop, leading most brick turns is a solid play. Check raising an opponent’s bet is also a reasonable response as well, since he may be trying to pot control the flop with weaker made hands (and capitalizing a blank turn).

If we are the PFR and aggressor, checking the flop OOP is not necessarily the best play. Betting is typically standard, and it is often very hard to prevent getting your stack in on the flop once you bet and your opponent raises. If you know that your opponent is highly aggressive, however, checking as the PFR may induce your opponent to bet 100% of his range on the flop, which can lead to you check/calling the flop and jamming most turns.

In Position

In position, the play is much easier. We can either jam over a turn bet or we can bet large ourselves, usually leaving a very small stack to pot ratio by the river. If the turn card is poor, we can decide to either fold or call another bet.

General Thoughts about This Play

Slow playing on the flop in PLO is important for many reasons other than the ones stated.

1) Nuts vs. Nuts and Redraws- When players get it all in on the flop, it is common to see the nuts vs. the nuts. The deciding factor for the rest of the hand is how good the redraws are for each hand. When slow playing the nuts on the flop with few to no redraws, players can capitalize on a brick turn and lower their opponent’s redraw equity.

2) Deep Play- Point number 1 (nuts vs. nuts and redraws) is amplified when playing deep. When a player has a nut hand with few redraws, he must be very cautious when getting it all in on the flop. When a player is 200bb+ deep, slow playing beyond the turn is fine in some instances. It just depends on the board texture and the opponent type.

3) Bad Turn Cards- If the turn card is poor, you obviously have to make a decision on whether to call or fold vs. any aggression. If you are in position and checked to, you can decide whether or not you have showdown value at that time and either check down or turn your hand into a bluff at any time. This is obviously vague advice and there are simply too many factors to give a short answer in this situation.


Slow playing the flop in PLO with weaker made hands is a valuable play to learn. It helps reduce the variance and it can cause your opponents to make larger mistakes on the turn than they would have otherwise. It is important to know when to push your equity advantage and when to wait for better opportunities (the turn).