How to Read Opponents and Gain an Advantage
For a lot of people, poker is a card game—and it's true. But if you really want to get serious with it, you have to approach it in another level. You have to think about it like a battle between you and your opponents. After all, they have the ultimate control of their luck and their techniques.
So besides learning about the various poker rules, you may also want to achieve finesse when it comes to reading the actions and reactions of your opponents while in the middle of the game, even when you're playing online poker.
The Challenge with Reading Opponents in Online Poker
Before we get into details, there's something you should know first. It's not going to be very easy ride for the simple reason that everyone sits behind his computer. Unlike in real poker games, where everybody is around a table, you cannot see the glum faces of those who are either losing or bluffing. You cannot see their immediate reactions to the raises and calls. In an online poker, one may act as if he's winning even if he has the weakest hands among the bunch.
The good thing about this, though, is that you can be more perceptive on other factors, which can be very helpful when it comes to reading the playing styles of your opponents.
What You Should Watch Out
Speed of his action. A person who has a very strong hand will be a lot faster than those who do not. After all, the latter would have to think twice or even thrice before they try to make a bet, or even make a call or raise. If you are trying to take those weak hands out in the game, make sure that you do it really fast. Nevertheless, you should avoid becoming reckless with your actions, especially if what you have is a hand that has a potential to win.
Raises he makes. As mentioned, the amateur ones or those with very weak hands will definitely make very small raises. Somehow, at this point, they don't really want to lose a lot of money just in case that they're going to fold. You can use bluff at this point and try to make a call, so they will be forced to really get into their bankroll.
All-in bets. Did someone make an all-in bet? There are two possible scenarios in this one. It could be that he has the potential of having a strong hand, and he wants to eliminate as many players as possible. It could also be that he has the weakest at the early stages of the game, and he's hoping that he'll be able to settle down later on with a much better hand. Either way, you can always make a call into their all-in bets, so that they will think of folding.
Chatters. Those who are rude, condescending, and whiner in online poker rooms are usually those who are having problems with their own cards. They are out there to deter you from your focus. The best strategy is to simply ignore them and concentrate on the game.