Online poker is undoubtedly one of the most skillful casino games, which makes it hugely appealing to anyone who enjoys a challenge.
While luck plays a part in poker, the players who are prepared to hone their craft are the ones who will make a profit in the long run.
One of the most difficult elements of poker is knowing what your opponents have in their hands, and this largely boils down to guesswork.
However, there are several ways to gain information from other players that will help you make better decisions at the table. We look at some of our favorites.
Observe your opponents
Many players make the mistake of not concentrating fully on the game until it is their turn to act, but this should be avoided at all costs.
Concentrate on what other players at the table are doing by observing how often they fold, whether they call regularly or if they raise consistently.
This will help you work out who the tight players are and which ones are loose, thus giving you the information you can use as the game progresses.
Identifying and taking advantage of loose players is a great way to build your chip stack, as these are the ones who are most likely to be playing bad hands.
Use raises to flush out weakness
Raising the pot in poker is an aggressive move that can provide you with a ton of information, but it must be done at the right times.
Raises are the best way to protect a premium hand such as a pair of aces as they will flush out players with weak or semi-weak hands.
In most cases a strong pre-flop raise will narrow the field down to just one or two opponents, thus improving your chances of your hand holding up.
Continuation raises can also provide information. If a player is prepared to call or re-raise you, it may well be that your premium hand is not as good as it might first have appeared.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
If you have ever watched professionals play poker on television you will no doubt have noticed that many of them talk to their opponents.
In most cases, they will be doing this not to be friendly, but to gain valuable information they can use to their advantage later in the game.
Using tricks such as putting your opponent on a specific hand and then asking if that’s what they have can provide you with valuable information.
While you may not get a direct answer to the question, the player’s reaction can give you a ‘tell’ that is useful further down the line.