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Reading Poker Players Online

reading poker players Reading poker players is one of the most important poker skills, as it allows you to make the right decisions such as when to fold, call, raise, check-raise, slow play, and bluff.

Practically every poker strategy is dependent on your ability to read other poker players. But how is it done exactly?

First, keep in mind that reading opponents online and reading opponents in face-to-face games isn't the same thing.

Anything you can do to read opponents online can be applied to face-to-face situations. However, there are some tactics in real life poker games that can't be applied to online poker. You can't analyze a player's posture online, for example. Here are a few things you can do to read your opponents online.

Always pay attention

The first thing is to keep your eyes open. Even when you're not involved in a hand, always watch carefully who is playing and how, and who is reacting and how.

There is important information you want to collect about all your opponents so that you can classify them. Who is a calling station? Who is aggressive? Who folds under pressure? These are all things that can help you make tough decisions later.

It is important to gather this information because you need to adapt your play to the person you're playing against. So in a hand where you're playing against a calling station, you simply value bet more and never attempt a bluff.

Most of the time if your cards miss the flop, you'll want to get out of the hand early. But against a player who folds under pressure, you could attempt a bluff to pick up the pot.

This is why understanding your opponents style-of-play will help you win more money on your big hands, pick up small pots, and stay out of trouble with marginal hands. Use this technique in all online poker rooms.

Bet or raise to gain information

The second critical aspect of reading your opponents has to do with you forcing a reaction to gather more data. How is this done? Simple, you raise the opponent. When you're not sure how strong or how weak a person is, raise them.

Invest a little bit of chips to see how they react. Will they fold, call or reraise you? Then compare this with the opponents playing style and draw your conclusions. The trick here is to know how much to raise by, and that depends on many things, including your table position, the number of players in the hand, the pot size, the blinds, etc. A standard raise is 3 times the big blind.

Daniel Negreanu is known for raising 2.5 times the blinds for his "feeler bets', where he's trying to get a feel for the strength of other player's hands. He's effective because he uses this fairly consistently. It confuses opponents because you never know if he's trying to figure out if you're strong, if he's doing it to get a call, or if he's trying to pretend like he's weak when he's strong hoping you will reraise him. Either way, feeler bets and raises are both good methods of extracting information from your online opponents.

As you can't use physical tells, it is important to pay attention to betting patterns and the cards your opponents play. Making certain types of feeler bets and raising your opponent are also good ways to gain information about the strength of their hands. Do not be afraid to make a stone-cold bluff, a monster lay down, or a fantastic call, when you get a read on other online poker players.

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