Reads + Tells / What it means to read the opponent
Try to read your opponent’s hand. It’s never too early for that. The preflop action gives you important hints for playing on later streets.Any action that a player takes during a poker hand will give you additional information that will help you further narrow the range of your hole cards.
Many beginners pay too often until they see the opponent’s hand on the river, although you may have already realized that they are behind. These are always costly mistakes that need to be avoided. Many players just preflop have very predictable tendencies. Once you become aware of such a tendency in one of your opponents, you can make far better decisions.
Think about your opponent’s range, BEFORE the flop is on the table.
- Do you generally rate him as passive or aggressive?
- In which position does he play this hand?
- Does he bluff often or does he only engage in a pot with good starting hands?
- Does he often raise preflop? If so, what bet height?
- Does he then often conti-embed? Which bet height?
Many of your opponents maintain their style and become predictable for you. So take every opportunity to watch your opponents play. This effort pays off because you can make better decisions. Of course, especially important are the moments when you actually see the hands of your opponents because that gives you 100% reliable information. The poker rooms usually have so-called Replayer, in which you can look at a previous hand again. Use that to remind yourself of the exact behavior of your opponent!
Same starting cards, same flop, other decision:
If you know your opponent is only getting into a pot with very good starting cards, is bluffing and still contibuting on an AKx flop, then you can fold your pair of ladies with a clear conscience. ……… If your opponent is in almost every hand, so has a very wide range, then you would not see the pair of queens on an AKx flop … fold yet …
Knowing your opponent’s approach has direct positive influence on your decisions. In order to benefit from it, you should make it a habit to study the game of the opponents. At first you will have to force yourself to pay attention to this. Over time, it should become a normal part of your game for you to watch your opponents. Especially even if you are no longer involved in the current hand.
Of course, a tell is not always so obvious and easy to recognize as in the example above. Often it is little things that quickly disappear. Some players put in comparable situations eg. again and again the same percentage amount from the current pot. To correctly interpret what is in the short term of time requires experience. Maybe your opponent is currently playing another 7 tables online and therefore does not have the time for bad start cards, but only with AA, KK, QQ, AK etc. active. Some recreational players watch TV and hardly get anything from the table. Etc.