In poker, reading your opponents is essential. It’s one of the best ways to become good at poker. To gather tells on other players at the table, to time your shoves and bluffs, and to take advantage of other opponents’ flaws and play to their strengths, you must be able to evaluate your opponents. That means you need to learn the poker hands ranked of your opponents and use them to your advantage whether you are playing live or online.
Examine preflop behavior
Start your efforts preflop if you want to provide your opponent with a precise range of cards by the river.
The position of your opponent should be the first to consider. From Under-the-Gun and Button, they will play entirely different hands, therefore it’s critical to give them a reasonable range.
A player raising from the first position is unlikely to have good holdings on a 633 flop since they do not have 63s in their range. It would help if you played differently against these ranges because a player on the Button is far more likely to have such hands.
It is not sufficient to know the position. It would help if you also determined your opponent’s playing strategy. A passive opponent might only play 15% of hands from the cutoff (CO), whereas an aggressive one might open 35% or even more.
The same approach should be taken in other circumstances, such as when someone limps, or you are up against a 3-bet. By analyzing their position and playing strategy, you can already guess what hands your opponent might be holding.
How much your rivals bet says a lot
The bet size is another crucial element when attempting to read an opponent’s poker hand strength. You must determine why your opponent has chosen to bet or raise a specific amount. Most players choose their bet size for a reason.
The same goes if your opponent raises before the flop and then checks on the flop. In this case, you should consider why your opponent would display strength before showing weakness. Is he trying to trap you, or is he giving up on the hand?
Depending on their hand’s strength, most players will inevitably begin to follow particular betting patterns. Once you have identified these patterns, you can exploit them to your advantage.
When holding a strong starting hand, a player may decide to raise to a specific amount before the flop, and when having a worse hand, he may opt to raise to a different amount.
Reduce the range based on flop actions
The following step is straightforward. You can limit the range by using data from the flop action.
Studying game theory optimal (GTO) strategy will teach you what your adversary should do in any circumstance. You can then modify these ranges in light of your findings.
You can lower your opponent’s likely holdings by understanding what hands they should be checking or betting on.
Identify a drawing hand
Paying attention to how long a player waits before calling a bet is the most straightforward approach to determine whether they have a drawing hand. The issue becomes much more apparent when the poker player uses that time to calculate things mentally. Simply put, the probabilities that the requested cards will actually “come” are being calculated by your opponent.
The fact that he spends time checking and re-checking the board again after a flop is another clue that he might have a drawing hand. Remember that he wouldn’t need to examine the table again if he had strong poker card strength.
Look for physical tells
There are certain physical signs that can indicate if your opponent’s hands are strong or weak. Of course, these physical actions are only applicable to live poker. There are other ways to know your opponent’s hand rankings online, like betting size and when making a decision.
Here are some physical tells to note:
Placing your opponent’s hand on a specific range is a valuable technique to help you determine what strategy to use. It will tell you if you should raise, check, or fold. You can develop this skill by constantly playing, whether online or live. Therefore, start by learning the basic Texas Holdem rules of poker hand ranking, and then you can easily apply the techniques listed above to determine your opponent’s ranges.