How to Read Your Opponents and Win at Poker


Poker is a card game where players try to make the best hand possible using cards that are dealt to them. It is played with a standard 52-card deck and is one of the oldest games in the world.

Whether you play in brick and mortar casinos, online or at home, knowing how to read your opponents is a critical skill that will help you win. You will need to learn how to observe your opponents’ idiosyncrasies, eye movements and betting behavior to understand what their hand is likely to be.

You also need to recognize that not every poker table is going to be the best environment for you. Some may have a lineup of very aggressive players, while others will be filled with amateurs. In these cases, you will need to adapt your style to match the characteristics of the particular game that you are playing.

1. Pay attention to your opponents’ betting behaviour (especially their pre-flop bets)

When you start to play poker, it is easy to get tunnel vision in your mind. You want to know exactly what your hand is going to be, which means paying attention to how your opponent bets before the flop.

The flop is the most crucial part of any poker hand and it can have a huge impact on your chances of winning the hand. If you have a weak hand, it is important to bet a little more frequently on the flop than you would on the turn or river.

2. Know your hand charts and narrow your starting range

Having a good understanding of the various poker hands and their strengths is an essential skill for anyone who wants to become a successful player. It’s especially important when you play online poker, where it’s often difficult to keep track of the hand strength of your opponents.

3. Don’t be afraid to call a big raise

A common mistake that novice poker players make is to bet too much or too often when they have a weak hand. This can be a huge mistake, as it can lead to them losing a lot of money.

4. Control your table

It’s the poker dealer’s job to keep the action at the table running properly and in a timely manner, so that other players can’t fold out of turn. If a player folds out of turn, then the dealer should pipe up quickly to let the other players know that they are now it’s their turn to act.

5. Take your time

When you first start playing poker, it is a good idea to slow down and give yourself plenty of time to think about your hand. This can be done by checking and calling rather than raising or betting.

6. Don’t get too attached to your good hands

King or queen kings are strong hands but they can be a liability when you hit an ace on the flop. It is always a good idea to be cautious with pocket kings and queens as the board can be full of flush and straight cards that will give you a hard time.