Explanation of “Slow Roll” in Poker, and the Worst Slow Roll in History

Table of Contents

This article explores the term “Slow Roll” in poker through FUN88. We’ll discuss why people do it, and debate whether it’s good or bad. Additionally, we’ll review the four worst Slow Rolls in poker history.

Warning: This article contains some highly frustrating poker etiquette that may increasingly anger you as you read!

What does “Slow Roll” mean in poker?

Slow Roll in poker is widely regarded as one of the most egregious breaches of etiquette. It refers to when a player holds an exceptionally strong hand but intentionally delays revealing it. This is done to make another player believe they might win the pot when, in reality, they have no chance.

Like many common poker situations, Slow Rolls aren’t always easy to spot. Sometimes they’re more obvious, such as when a player holds a very strong hand, waits for an extended period before calling, and then reveals their hand. However, it’s not always that straightforward.

Imagine you’re facing an opponent who goes all-in, but you have the nuts; it’s the final bet, and no one else is left to act, and you genuinely have an excellent hand. If there’s a prolonged pause before calling or inquiring about chip counts, these actions could be seen as a Slow Roll.

Why do it? It’s understandable if a novice is nervously participating in their first live poker tournament or if you want to calculate potential losses if you’re actually beaten. But if you’re clearly going to call and have a high probability of winning, why make your opponents nervously wait? Quickly relieve them of their predicament; don’t be a jerk!

Is Slow Rolling a good thing?

Absolutely not. Although there might be some who argue otherwise, it’s a minority opinion. The vast majority of poker players do not condone the act of Slow Rolling. While there are no rules explicitly prohibiting Slow Rolling during a game, there are certain things that should be avoided whenever possible.

Why do players choose to Slow Roll then?

If it’s widely regarded as poor etiquette, why would anyone engage in Slow Rolling during a game? Often, you’ll see this behavior exhibited by novices who may do it more than once, thinking it’s a fun prank. However, after being reprimanded by other players, they learn a valuable lesson because Slow Rolling is annoying!

However, there are also Slow Roll players who know precisely what they’re doing. They think about the advantages of keeping their opponents in the dark. Perhaps it’s a way to extract more money from aggressive players, and one of the best ways to tilt someone in a poker game is by Slow Rolling them.

One of the most famous players who enjoys Slow Rolling in poker is Shaun Deeb, who calls himself the “Trash Talk King” and has been embroiled in numerous controversies in the past. But he’s most renowned for his Slow Rolling antics. In interviews, he explains that he doesn’t remember when he started Slow Rolling, but he found it to be an excellent way to exploit opponents’ vulnerabilities. Additionally, he finds it amusing and uses it to make others laugh.

Here are the worst Slow Roll cases in poker:

#4 – Deeb Slow Rolls Mike Matusow

This example could be considered one of the most famous Slow Rolls in poker, aired on television and attracting a lot of attention. Mike Matusow and Shaun Deeb participated in an episode of “Poker Night in America,” with Matusow holding a pair of Jacks. ‘The Mouth’ raised, and Deeb, holding a pair of 5s, called.

The flop came 10 5 5, giving Deeb the best hand at the table. Matusow was oblivious; in fact, he might have liked the flop as he needed another Jack to win the pot. He led out with a bet, and Deeb opted to flat-call. Matusow quickly fired again on the turn.

Instead of the expected “snap call,” Deeb, holding the nuts, took a full 25 seconds to act. When he finally declared his intention, he feigned defeat, saying, “Okay, I call.” The reaction when he flipped over his hand was a mixture of jaw-dropping shock, confusion, and laughter.

It’s easy to understand that Matusow didn’t find it funny. In fact, he was furious, telling the table he had “never Slow Rolled anyone in his life.” As the realization of what just happened sank in, he lost his cool, threatening to “punch Deeb in the mouth.”

Remember, when you Slow Roll in a poker game, you’re provoking and playing with fire.

#3 – Mikel Habb vs. Samantha Abernathy

At the 2016 Aussie Millions, we witnessed an even more egregious Slow Roll. While players like Deeb might claim they were joking, Australian player Mikel Habb performed the most dramatic Slow Roll with no hint of jest.

Preflop action started with an under-the-gun raise, followed by a re-raise from Habb in the small blind and a 4-bet from Samantha Abernathy. Everyone folded, leaving Habb to decide whether to call off all his chips. Tough spot, right? Except it wasn’t because he had a pair of Kings!

With no one behind him to act, and facing the prospect of flipping his cards if he called, it should have been a snap call. Instead, we witnessed an Oscar-worthy performance – over 30 seconds of heavy sighs, head-in-hands gestures, shaking of the head, and finally getting up from his seat.

Abernathy smiled and maintained her composure despite the Slow Roll, but Habb wasn’t done. He walked around the table, kissed his fingers, and dramatically pointed to the sky. The bizarre display had everyone watching hoping for a miracle 6 to save Sam and bring justice. Thankfully, the poker gods miraculously produced a spade 6, making Habb look extremely foolish in the moment.

#2 – Andreas Gann Disrespects Donnacha O’Dea

Here’s another example of a player Slow Rolling and facing consequences, which occurred at the 2015 Irish Poker Open. The main characters were professional player Donnacha O’Dea, a highly respected player and gentleman from Dublin, facing off against Germany’s Andreas Gann.

The preflop action was relatively straightforward, with O’Dea holding A 6 and raising, and Gann, with fewer chips, opting to call with K Q. The flop came 8 A 6, giving Gann a flush draw, but O’Dea had top pair and more chips. It was an easy bet for the Irishman, who quickly went all-in, putting Gann to the test.

This hand illustrates the general sentiment towards Slow Rolling in poker. After the initial shock, others began to question whether the graphics on the screen were perhaps incorrect. It was an obvious snap call opportunity, so they pondered whether Gann had made a mistake, perhaps not realizing O’Dea’s raise.

Unfortunately, the German player knew exactly what he was doing. After a full 65 seconds of contemplation, holding the absolute “nuts,” he called. The reaction at the table gave us a glimmer of hope for humanity, with almost every player criticizing Gann. O’Dea himself remained silent throughout, but when a 6 appeared on the river to complete a full house, there were raucous cheers and applause from everyone.

#1 – William Kassouf’s Masterful Performance at the Bicycle Casino

The worst Slow Roll in poker belongs to one man. The most despicable player in the world, British player Will Kassouf, known for his antics at the table and his trash talk and disliked by many, so it’s no surprise he could Slow Roll so blatantly.

The scene was Live At The Bike, possibly the most absurd Slow Roll in poker history. In a five-card pot, Kassouf found himself up against a player named Derek, with a full house against trips on the river. The hand began with Kassouf dominating the conversation as usual, talking incessantly during preflop action, barely pausing for breath after checking his cards on the flop, exclaiming, “Wow, four cards! How do I play trips, guys?”

Such seemingly harmless banter is common in cash games, and it was to be expected from Kassouf and his infamous verbal game. After a three-minute monologue on the turn and river, Kassouf eventually called Derek’s 3-bet all-in. As if the hand wasn’t already ridiculous enough, this detestable Brit engaged in the most reviled Slow Roll ever.

Firstly, Kassouf took nearly 80 seconds to reveal his entire hand. Secondly, he flipped over the cards one by one, entertaining the table with a “funny” speech, pretending to be a magician. But most importantly, he derived genuine pleasure from tormenting the player, entirely embodying the role of a loathsome player, doing what he does best.

Conclusion: Don’t Be That Person

Slow Rolling in poker is arguably one of the most unnecessary breaches of etiquette, and there’s really no excuse for it. If you engage in it, expect nothing but anger from the table.

As you’ve seen in our list of the worst Slow Rolls, it can make people extremely angry, even to the point of wanting to physically confront the perpetrator. In the long run, it could lead to being banned from certain events, making Slow Rolling a cautionary tale.

While Slow Rolling may be a choice in some situations, avoiding becoming “that guy” at the table isn’t easy, but here are some suggestions to prevent any mishaps:

– When it’s your final action and it’s just down to you, make your decision promptly.
– If you have the nuts when it’s time to show down, reveal them immediately instead of waiting. 
– When facing a bet with pocket Aces before the flop, call right away.
– Never pretend to be disappointed or act like you’re folding before calling.

So, before you sit down at any event table, remember our advice: never be the person who Slow Rolls in the game!

If you find this article helpful, you can visit FUN88 to browse more articles about Texas Hold’em poker!