Texas Hold'em: Protection and Slow Play
There are many classic and well defined plays in the highly intense game of Texas Hold'em. Knowing these plays can make the difference between a bad beat and an expensive steakhouse dinner. Take a gander and perhaps you'll learn a few new plays.
The protection play is a classic move in Texas Hold'em and one that most people may have been doing to begin with. It is usually made with a workable but risky hand, such as the top pair when the flop can potentially create a straight or a flush. Its purpose, unlike other poker strategies, is to push people out of the pot or make them fold reasonably - at least in their eyes. To further the point of the protection play, consider if the player failed to push the opponent out of the current round or hand. That essentially means that player's risking losing much more than the player was originally planning.
The protection play could then be compared to a bluff in that the purpose of the game is not to fluff the pot and fatten it up, but to trick people into leaving it. As opposed to a bluff however, it can survive even if the opponent decides to stay in the game. The main difference with the protection play in Texas Hold'em is that you have the best hand currently, but your opponents have potential outs. This is an effort to knock a few out to improve your odds or, in some cases, knock everyone out.
Slow play is the method by which a player draws in their opponents by feigning weakness. Traditionally, aggressive play in Texas Hold'em is touted as the sign of strength. Raising and re-raising tells other players that you think your cards are worth it. Slow playing is using this common perception against the opponents, as this is performed by playing passively at the flop and the turn. There is inherent danger in slow playing though - this forces the issue by allowing new cards to come into play and possibly giving an out to other players. Slow playing or sandbagging is then most useful when you have the best possible hand.
These are just a pair of the many viable plays present in any round and hand of Texas Hold'em. Knowing which play to use may even be more important than knowing the plays themselves. Watch a video or get into a poker game yourself and pay attention to the way people play - this may be an exercise in enlightenment.