We have watched those televised poker tournaments and it is common to hear some commentary about certain players read their opponents so well that they initiated daring moves to kill the game off at early stage of the tournament. Is this some sort of psychic phenomena? The reality is that this is a must-have skill for you to be successful in the high stake poker tournaments.
Create a checklist
Before you master this reading skill so that you can narrow down your opponent’s hand, it is advisable to work out a check list first that helps you to size up the players at the tables. In online poker there are critical questions you want to examine as you go over each player … And here is the list of questions to find out:
Check the number of hands a player is playing
By checking the number of hands players play, it tells a player tend to be loose or tight in his approaches to the game. Even if the player switches strategy and only started to put chips into the middle towards the end, you should pay attention on how regular a player enters the pot.
What show down cards do they have at the end?
Every time a player shows down a hand, he is volunteering information about his plays. You want to collect as much as possible the kinds of hands your opponents would typically play. Is there a pattern to pick up here? Do they habitually enter the pot with suited cards, single aces, suited connectors or big cards?
Prior to the flop did the player raise or call?
You must learn about the kinds of hands that make a player raises or calls a raise. Rule of thumb is every time a player raises mark their position and the hand they raised with. It is also good you check how the other players react after the raise and again make a note on what types of hands when these players call a raise with.
Is the player playing aggressively or not?
One effective way to size up your opponent is reading how often they raise or just fold in preflop. That gives you some indication on their level of aggressiveness. Additional information that helps you is the types of hands they may raise/call/check with after the flop. We can never over stress the importance of evaluating players’ betting patterns.
Slowplay or bluff?
Often players prefer to slow play or bluff hands. You should check when a player limps in with pocket ace; did he flop a big hand and try to trap the other players? Some are habitual bluffer or semi-bluff when dealt certain hands. Put all of them down in your note as you notice a player doing this.
When you collect all these information after each hand, you can form your opinion on how good your opponents are, if they are tight, loose players, and what aggressiveness they bring to their games.