What is slow rolling in poker?

Unlike ‘slow playing’, which is a deceptive, but perfectly acceptable, tactic in poker, ‘slow rolling’ violates the principles of poker etiquette and is universally despised by players. The slow roll comes at the end of a hand, a.k.a. the ‘showdown’, when it is customary for the player who believes he has won to reveal his hole cards immediately. However, a player who believes he has won – indeed, he may hold the best possible hand, a.k.a. ‘the nuts’ – may make a song and dance about calling the final large, or all-in, bet of the hand and, to make matters worse, subsequently delay the process of revealing his hole cards. This unsportsmanlike behaviour may be intended to showboat winning the hand, or to chastise or taunt an opponent, for whatever reason, but serves only to make the player who does the slow rolling hugely unpopular with everyone else at the table.

Of course, situations occur where players, even professional players, ‘accidentally’ slow roll, having failed to realise that they have actually won the hand. Apart from these few, isolated incidents, though, slow rolling is usually done with malice aforethought and should be treated as an insidious tactic that is, above anything else, just plain bad manners. Unfortunately, there is nothing in the rules of poker than explicitly forbids slow rolling but, if you want to maintain the respect of your opponents and avoid negative emotions around the table, just avoid it.