Hand reading in poker can be one of the most difficult skills to learn, especially when playing online poker as you’re unable to see any physical tells your opponent may have. However, once you begin to master this side of the game you should see your results noticeably improve at poker tournaments.
How do I tell which poker hand my opponent has?
Guessing your opponents hand before the flop
Hand reading begins before the flop and there are a number of factors you can use to base your decision-making on. If you are observant of the other players at your poker table then after a number of hands you will start to get a feel for how they play and whether you should regard them as a tight or a loose player. It will often then be much easier to read which hands a tight player has as you will be able to restrict the possibilities to a much thinner range of possible hands.
Hand Range in online poker
Poker hand ranges is also an important topic to touch upon when talking about hand reading in general. When you start out playing online poker, it’s often tempting to try to put your opponent on an exact hand and base your future decisions on whether or not you can beat that hand or make the opponent fold it.
As poker is a game of limited information, it’s far more profitable to instead try to put your opponent on a range of hands and work out whether or not you can beat or fold out that range of hands.
The size of your opponents bet says a lot
Bet size is another important factor to take into consideration when trying to read your opponents’ poker hand. Most players choose their bet size for a reason, and it’s up to you to try to work out why your opponent has chosen to bet or raise a particular amount.
Likewise, if your opponent chooses to raise pre-flop followed by a check on the flop then you should start thinking about the reasons why your opponent would choose to show strength followed by weakness.Is he trying to trap you or is he genuinely giving up in the hand?
Most players will naturally start to follow certain betting patterns based on the strength of their hand, and once you have picked up on the patterns your opponent uses it will prove to be valuable information.
A player may raise to a certain amount preflop when he has a premium hand and choose to raise to a different amount when he has a more marginal starting hand.
Your opponents’ position at the poker table
Finally, a player’s position may also give you a clue as to the strength of their hand. Most players will correctly choose to play more hands from the button, while vastly limiting the number of hands they play from earlier positions. If you are facing an opponent who is playing from early position then you can often safely assume that he is playing a stronger range of hands.
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