Reading Poker Players. Reading Your Opponent in Real Money Game

Due to the fact that online we can’t actually see our opponents to pick up reads such as a tell, twitch or there mannerism in a hand, we must find other ways on which we can read poker players. Throughout this article we will be looking at the importance of gaining reads, what information we can use as a read on our opponent, how online reads differ to live, putting our reads to the test before concluding with some key points.

The Importance of Reading Poker Players

It’s a common misconception that you can’t read your opponent whilst playing online due to the fact that you can’t actually see them. Reading poker players is still obtainable online but they come in a slightly different form to that of playing live.

The importance of gaining a read on your opponent is very high and can be a great way to exploit your opponent’s weaknesses. A good read can be the difference between making that all in call on the river and having to fold because you have no idea what your opponent is holding.

Reading Poker Players: what information can we use?

One of the most common instruments used to obtain reads on our opponents is that of any tracking program (often either Holdem Manager or Poker tracker). These programs store every hand history that we are involved in and often will build up a solid image of how our opponent is playing.

Instead of having to watch each player and each table that we play religiously, the tracking software will display how our opponent plays instantly in a heads up display that will sit over your table. However, it is then up to us to translate what these numbers mean in terms of how someone is playing.

It is still believed that even with all this technology now readily available for just a few dollars, making notes and using your skills when watching your opponent play a particular hand can be an invaluable tool in obtaining reads.

The biggest tell is often that of someone’s betting patterns in hands. It’s rare for someone to have a perfectly balanced range so it’s likely they will alter their bet sizing in hands in accordance to how strong their hand is. It’s more commonly associated with big equals strong and small equals weak, but again its player dependent so make a note of big hands that they play and how they change or manipulate their bet sizing.

Reading Poker Players: online and live

Well the most obvious difference is that we can’t physically see our opponents so we cannot pick up any reads in the form of body movements or persona at the table.

We need to dig a little deeper into a player’s game and often our reads will be taken from a much more stats orientated perspective. Taking numbers from VPIP and PRF will determine how tight or loose they are playing and how often they are raising, coupled with how high a person’s 3bet and aggression percentage is will tell us how passive or aggressive they are playing.

Similarly to live however, it’s how you interpret these reads (or stats) and then apply them to your opponent. It’s useless having all this information at your finger tips if you are unable to use it to your advantage.

Putting our Reads to The Test

Once you have a solid understanding of reads and how to obtain them, it’s important you back them in a game time situation.

Take all the information you have gathered on a player and use this to try and aid in your decision of what hand your opponent can be holding. Once you get to this decision stick with your read and follow through with whatever line would fit with your opponents range.

Don’t get discouraged if your read happens to turn out to be wrong, simply rectify your notes, or add to them and in future you’ll have even more information to base your decisions on regarding that player.

Reading Poker Players: Key Points

• Online reads differ to that of live, but are just as important

• Understand the difference and learn to establish a broad base of variables in which to obtain your reads

• Online reads will be more stats based, but this means there are more avenues in which to gain a read on your opponent

• Follow through with your reads and make a plan for the hand

• Don’t get disheartened if you read turns out to be wrong, simply adjust your notes accordingly

Great poker rooms to practice your poker skills: Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars.

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