Playing Poker is a very rewarding experience for all that play, not only is it entertaining but also nerve-wracking and intense. Poker is a mental game combining strategy, self-control, discipline with a bit of chance. Winning is about knowing when to call a bet and when to bluff to force your opponents to fold.
These things are hard to do when you have a weak hand and even harder when you have a strong hand. Whether you win or not is highly dependent on getting a good sense of the kind of cards your opponents have. Equipping yourself with all the skills needed to get a sense of the cards they have is therefore of paramount importance to winning a poker game.
In this article is a breakdown of some of the tips and tricks you need to have to up your game so you can win more and ultimately, make some money. You can learn them with consistent practice and patience.
Choosing a Table
Before you sit down at a particular table, especially with strangers, walk around the room. Take your time to observe the reactions and habits as well as the tells from the people at the table. Seeing the game from the outside helps in getting a more objective and unbiased read of the players.
This is because when you are in the game, there is a lot more going on in your mind than when you are simply watching from the outside. Some of the specific things to look out for are the way chips are stack and how the players behave before a calling or folding a bet or whenever they are bluffing.
After you have assessed the players at the tables, go ahead and choose a table with people that are much easier to read. The easier you can read your opponents, the better your chances of winning and making money are.
Do Not Look at the Flop
After you have been dealt your cards, resist the urge to take a peek at them. Why? Because this is the best chance you will get to see the reactions of your opponents when they see their cards.
A player is most likely to give away whether they have a strong hand or not when they get a first look at the cards. A player instantly looking away probably has a good hand and does not want to show their excitement. A sadder look might indicate a weak hand.
The flop will still be there during the game, avoid giving away the strength of your hand by looking at yours immediately. Find a different time to take a peek. Be careful not to look at your cards too many times, practice checking your cards only once and memorizing them immediately.
On the other hand, be on the lookout for opponents that check their flop when the game is continuing, they are probably checking what suite they have, avoid placing bets against such opponents.
The Poker clack, Sad and Nervous Players
The Poker clack is a smacking sound that a player makes to make them seem like they are sad. This is one way of throwing opponents off. Someone making the sound understands the message you will get and is betting on it.
When you hear it, do not call that bet, they probably have a very strong hand and would like to falsely boost your confidence in your hand so that you raise the stake. A classic way of setting up the perfect sucker punch.
A player that overtly looks sad is almost always onto the same idea and is trying to mislead others. When a player is suddenly nervous, be cautious, they likely have a very good hand and are containing excitement. Suddenly nervous players are also having very good hands.
The nervous shaking is the body’s way of releasing pent up tension. If you spot this, do not lose your money.
Be Quiet, Listen
Speech is our most developed means of communication, as a result, we are adept at reading verbal cues and interpreting them. The more you talk, the easier it is to give away your emotions and let people tell your hand. According to Wikipedia, a bluffing player may give himself away in his speech too.
Listen to your opponents more than you talk. Watch for how often their pitch and intonation changes, how well do they maintain tone under pressure. An excited player can hardly hide it if they talk, the same is true for a nervous or sad player.
Always Watch Your Opponents
Reading people in poker is a continuous process. Throughout the game, players are dropping verbal and non-verbal cues about themselves and their state of mind. Relax, take your time and look at each one as the game progresses.
This is possible even when you are playing online poker in casinos offering the best poker offers such as OnlineCasinoGems, where you can see the playing patterns of your opponents.
The longer you look at someone, the better you get at reading them. Understanding an opponent’s cues takes a bit of time and with practice, you will learn how to easily identify them. The opponent’s face contains a lot of clues and the more you are looking the more you will see.
Assess Overall Behavior for Clues
A player who is loud when buying chips, for example, is loose. They are likely to place riskier bets and are more likely to be bluffing than not. A quiet player is more conservative and less likely to bluff.
The conservative or quiet players are also a lot tougher to read. You want to be that kind of player. Conservative players are more likely to have their stack of chips neatly arranged and will often call a bet when they have a very strong hand.
According to GamblersDailyDigest, players with messy stacks are loose and will likely bluff more, like those that are loud about buying more chips. Quietness displays control over one’s emotions and demeanor.
Reading People Is an Acquired Skill
Reading people is an acquired skill that takes a lot of time to hone. The more you know an opponent outside of the game increases the ease with which you can read them. Take the time to practice your skills and keep track of what every cue means.
It is helpful to track how often your ideas about people turned outright and use this to positively affirm your skills. According to CBS News, a practice can start at an early age and there is a substantial argument in favor of kids being allowed to play poker too. Enjoy yourself as you play the game, loosening up can help you give off fewer clues to your opponents and win more.