Slow-Rolling is Massively -EV by Lee Jones

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Poker News Daily published an article arguing that slow-rolling could be considered simply another legitimate weapon for a poker player to use against his opponents.

At the risk of misstating the author’s point, the crux of the argument is, “It’s within the rules and it tilts my opponents (which is +EV for me). So I do it.”

Here’s the executive summary of my response to those who consider slow-rolling just a +EV tactical play: “Are you out of your minds?”

I don’t know – perhaps you have your two 36” monitors so filled with table windows that you haven’t been following the reports from the Poker Players Alliance (PPA). Or your TV is always tuned to “High Stakes Poker,” so you never watch CNN.

But check it out: since October of 2006, the online poker industry has been in a pitched battle for its very existence. Politician after district attorney after “protector of the family” has climbed up on his high horse and demanded that the cancer of online gambling be shut down.

And one of the deep social reasons for all this trouble: poker is viewed as an uncivilized pastime, pursued by uncivilized people. The game got its American start on riverboats and in the Old West; cheating and shady characters were part and parcel of its milieu.

But recently, with the advent of TV and internet poker itself, the American people have started to give poker a second look. And (praise your preferred deity, if you have one) budget shortfalls all over have politicians thinking that maybe they could use the tax revenue they’d derive from online poker. Even the American Gaming Association (AGA) – the largest gaming lobby organization – has decided to back online poker (which is a new twist).

But thanks to the “old” perception of poker, and the perception of some politicians who think they can leverage that, we have potential enforcement of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and rumors of even scarier legal activity in the Southern District of New York.

The entire world of poker is teetering on a knife edge. On one side, we’re cast back into the darkness. Online poker stays in its gray legal zone and the games continue to shrink because it’s harder to get money on and off of poker sites. The games are going to get tougher and tougher. Poker rooms in Las Vegas continue to close and poker TV shows go off the air.

But on the other side of that knife edge is legalization. It is an explosion of growth that will – wait for this – dwarf the Big Bang of 2003. You hear people say that the big online sites would love to maintain the status quo in online poker; they’re making plenty of money. Those people are dead wrong; the potential growth is beyond anybody’s wildest dreams.

And right now, every move we make, every time a Senator walks by the TV in his den and sees his teenage son watching the WSOP or WPT, he’s going to add to his opinion of poker – one way or the other.

If that Senator sees ladies and gentlemen playing a fascinating game and treating others with respect, then perhaps he’ll think this is something he can support (or at least quietly ignore as it slips by on some budget bill). If it looks like a golf match or even an NFL game (where you can maim the quarterback, but you can’t stand and gloat over the fact that you did it), maybe we’ll gain a supporter.

If, however, he sees trash talking and berating of opponents, if he sees the typical Hellmuthian tantrums and Tony G insults, he may start to suspect that the Focus on Family view of poker is the accurate one. Slow-rolling is just another form of standing over the quarterback you just sacked and gloating about it.

Let me put it in chilling terms: the guy you are slow-rolling in your $2-$5 game at the Venetian may be a golf buddy with a U.S. Senator.

Now do the EV calculation of your slow-roll and get back to me.

Postscript: Even if it weren’t crystal clear to me that being a gentleman is ultimately good for poker everywhere, I still wouldn’t slow-roll people. My karma and good energy are too important to me. But that’s just me.

Lee Jones is the Card Room Manager of Cake Poker. He has worked in the poker industry for over six years, and been associated with professional poker for almost 20 years. He is the author of “Winning Low Limit Hold’em,” which has been in print for over 15 years.

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Funny that PND haven’t written about the shambles of Cake Poker’s security. Clearly only interested in getting new players there to make money.

Lee you should be ashamed after the fuss Cereus went through!!!

I like many others will never play on Cake Ntwork again


lol @ my comment being deleted….

No serious player will play there again Lee


@cakepoker – your comment is here why the “lol @ my comment being deleted…”

I agree that a statement from Lee on PND would be good about the issue about Cake Security. I imagine though that this article was written before that happened.

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