Recently at a filming of Poker Night in America, Doug Polk slow-rolled Jeremy Kaufman. For many associated with the show, it brought back memories of Shaun Deep slow-rolling Mike Matusow on one of the earliest episodes.
The funny thing to me is that generally, people were amused by Doug and put off by Shaun. I think that was largely a reaction to how the person being slow-rolled took it. Matusow issued a standard blow up. While it was clear that Jeremy didn’t enjoy being slow-rolled, he took it reasonably well.
Anyway, showdown is often an unnecessarily slow part of poker these days. It is supposed to be largely be a functional step in the awarding the pot process. There is no more betting. We just need to see what each player has to award the pot.
If you ever played online poker, you know that when you got to showdown, it went like this. The bettor’s hand was shown, the caller’s hand was shown if it was better, otherwise it was discarded. Then the pot was award. Quick, easy, simple. If there was no bet, then whoever went first has their hand turned over first.
However, in live poker, you see all kinds of bad etiquette at the end. People will say I can’t win and then produce pairs. Other times, the guy who bets asks what the opponent has before they show. That is actually common in all-in situations as well. Some players just never want to show their hand unless they are winning the pot, and will do things to get the other person to show first. Sometimes that can be to try and gain an informational edge, but more often, I think people are very uncomfortable in situations of uncertainty, and they act erratically.
There are some situations where friends have an agreement, spoken or unspoken, where they try to slow-roll each other for entertainment or to needle the other one. This is largely okay as long as both guys are on board.
Largely, I think this is all relatively innocent in intent, but it can often lead to the other player thinking they win a significant pot and then having it taken away from them. We have all been there, it isn’t a fun place. When something like this happens to a newer player, they can even feel like they are being picked on or singled out, and that can cause them to not want to play anymore.
Personally, I like the way it works online. I try to roll over my hand quickly when it is my turn. I usually just say what I have in an all-in situation. I like it when the poker game has a faster pace and the hands go quickly. It has a little more rhythm and keeps people engaged and having fun.