Reading Your Poker Opponents

have seen some players and watched poker tournaments, where expert players read their opponents as if they were psychic. It is actually the skill that separates the professional players from the average players. Reading the hands of your opponents is one of the key skills, which need to be developed so that the players would succeed in the higher limit tournaments and games.

A Vital Skill

Reading your opponents to identify their cards is part psychology or part science or part art. This is not an easy skill to conquer and therefore not many players can ideally do it. It takes patience and hard work to develop these reading skills. It also requires you to pay attention during the game, even if you aren’t a part of the hand.

Reading the Board

One of the first skills a player must become skilled at is to read the board, so as to identify the best possible hand. You also need the aptitude to identify all the possible combinations made from the board cards. It is then required to recognize how your hand stacks up amongst all the possible hands. You cannot figure out the hand of your opponents if you do not know the possible combinations on the board.

Narrowing the Hands

You must analyze your opponent’s action in each betting round. Whether they raise, call, or fold would always tend to influence your decision. Use logic to help understand why they have played the game, based on the information that you’ve just observed. You would then have to work backwards from the current point and look at all the preceding action which was prevalent in the previous betting rounds so as to narrow down your conclusions. You would accumulate more information as the game unfolds.

Start a Checklist

The best ways to read other players is to make a check list to size up all the players during the game. There are a few questions that the players would have, based on their gaming strategy. Collect information from the other players as to how many hands they are playing and what cards were shown in the end. Also the position of their hands in the game along with their raises or flops would help you nail down their style of play. Find out if the player is actually bluffing or has premium cards in the hand. There are a few opponents who either bluff or semi-bluff at specific points in the game and catch your opponents doing this.