Reading your opponent’s hand is like watching a CSI episode. You know where the body is, you just need to figure out how it got there.
Step 1: Evidence
First, you need to gather evidence. Track your opponents in order to track their game strategies. Does the SNP loose or tight ? Aggressive or Cautious? Are they taking time to skip a move or are they raising the stakes instantly? … Remember that it is dangerous to accept only one piece of information, so watch and try to form an idea of their hand based on a combination of timing and betting pattern.
Step 2: Persuasion
You must make sure your evidence is in line with each other before you go after your prey. A quick skip or delay followed by a skip usually indicates weakness, while a delay followed by a bet indicates strength. A sudden river bet from a tight player after a short pause is almost certainly a sign of a great hand. Loose aggressive players should be approached with caution, as they often take the same steps to scare off their opponents.
Step 3: Reserve
As you knock down players by reading their cards, make sure you don’t reveal your cards to others! Try to spend the same amount of time (not too slow, not too fast) in meaningful pots and plan a couple of moves ahead to outflank your opponents.
Mixing play styles
How important is knowledge of psychology in playing poker? Many of us underestimate this side of the game because this aspect does not lie on the surface, but any competition that challenges one person’s intelligence against another relies heavily on it.
Psychology is used in poker as a means to gain the upper hand, using techniques that range from managing emotional reactions to hiding your cards; deliberately causing confusion by mixing playstyles; and mastering the art of bluffing. You wreak havoc on the heads of your opponents in an attempt to gain an edge at the table.
Playing poker is not only about focusing on your own cards and their capabilities, but also paying close attention to competitors by reading their cards and playing tendencies, and also protecting yourself from tactical mind games. After that, you also need to work out a way and use the knowledge gained to disrupt the opponent’s game plan. Not easy! It’s not easy to keep all of these points in mind when trying to keep the poker face in order to hide the thought processes in your head.
Tear off templates
Your mom probably once asked if you would jump off a cliff if your friends did. You were probably outraged by this question and answered that of course not. Yet you often do just that at the tables of the game.
Have you ever doubled the big blind just because everyone else did? Or joined the chat even if they didn’t really want to? If so, then you have become a victim of the influence group.
It’s time to throw off the sheep’s skin and reveal the wolf underneath. Use the group to your advantage by gaining control over it. If you notice that the group is constantly doubling the big blind, start raising the big blind 3 times. After a couple of turns, you will notice that the rest of the group starts to follow suit, placing too much and leaving themselves vulnerable to your attack with the best hand.
At the Sit & Go table, watch out for mid-stack players who are waiting for aggressive players to knock each other out of the game and the big stacks go to the small ones.