How to Read Your Opponents in Poker


Poker is a card game that involves betting and the raising of hands. It has a fair amount of skill and psychology involved, but the most significant element is the ability to read your opponents. This isn’t always possible and most players don’t rely on subtle physical tells to read their opponents, rather they use patterns of behavior. For example, if a player always calls with weak pairs and doesn’t raise them then they are likely playing pretty crappy cards and you can make the assumption that they will be losing to their opponents in the long run.

During each betting interval, the player to the left of the dealer makes a bet by placing chips into the pot that are equal to or more than the previous player’s total contribution. A player must either call the bet by saying “call” or they must fold their hand and not put any chips into the pot at all.

It’s important to understand the concept of position in poker. Playing in position, meaning that you are acting after your opponents, allows you to get a feel for their action and make better decisions. You can also help control the size of the pot and get more value from your hands by checking as the first to act. It can be difficult to get good value when you check in early position, especially against an aggressive opponent, so it is usually best to bet or raise instead of limping.