Many people think that you can only pick up tells when playing poker at an actual table. This isn’t true and it’s important that you realize this. You’re going to need to study your opponents to understand what kind of hands they’re playing. It should always be your goal to get as much information about a player as possible. This information will be used when you’re playing against them. This is why you need to watch the table even when you’re not playing in the hand. Just because you can’t win chips doesn’t mean watching the table is worthless. In fact, it can mean the difference between having a short stack and a big one.
The very first thing you need to do is determine what type of player your opponents are. Are they a loose player that will call with any two cards? They could be the exact opposite and are extremely time and only play big pocket pairs. There are also players that like to see lots of cheap flops and will play what’s called small ball. That’s where they’ll limp in or call small bets if they have suited hands and connectors. There are also highly skilled players that will mix and match their game. This is done so you can’t put them on a hand.
Watch closely how they use their time clock. Are they pretending to take a long time? Your opponent could also be making snap calls. That’s when you call a bet without even thinking about it. There are players that will do just that and you’ve probably done it as well. You have to ask yourself why are they taking so long or calling so quickly? Are they trying to pretend they have a big hand and are thinking? If they’re calling quickly, the player may have a hand and think you don’t.
You’re not going to know what type of opponent you face without studying them. You may even want to take notes on each player. You may find that some online poker software already has a place for you to take notes. Always make sure to write down what you observe about players. This will go a long ways in how you play against them in the future. It’ll mean that you’re not totally in the dark. This is especially useful for those of you that play in tournaments. It’s not unthinkable to play in a tournament with several thousand people in it. Always record as much information about your opponents as possible. You never know when you may face that same opponent again at another table. Players often get moved around during a tournament and it’s not unusual for you to see them again at another table.
The ultimate goal is to always know what your opponent’s cards are. The only way you can determine that is by watching what types of hands they play. By doing so you’ll be able to tell if a player is potentially bluffing or not. You’ll also have a good idea if you should fold your hand or call a raise. This information is invaluable and you must have it to become successful when playing online poker. Always remember that playing the player is as important as the cards in your hand. The only way this is possible is by studying your opponent. Knowing the tells of your opponent will help you extract as many chips as possible from them.