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Pot Limit & No Limit Poker : Play Poker

READING THE RIVAL POKER PLAYER

    Gaining mastery over technical poker skills such as understanding hand values and knowledge of probabilities is relatively simpler as compared to acquiring the ability to read the rival poker player’s mind well. To see how people actually act in a pot-limit game, you need to have a lot of on-the-job experience.

    The actions acquire different meaning depending on who does those actions. Maybe, Suzy Smith has a rock crusher when she uses that type of betting motion, but Johnny Jones bets with a slight flourish when he’s bluffing. We think that by listening to the right type of advice, we can improve our skills in reading people to some degree.

    The amount a poker player bets is flexible rather than fixed in big-bet poker. Thus, being the major point of difference between big-bet poker and most limit poker games. Information about the bettor’s hand is conveyed by the size of the bet.

    Since, there is no simple formula that applies to all people, situations, or types of poker, interpreting this information are difficult. A big bet may mean a big hand. This could also be an indication of fear. Maybe, the bettor is bluffing.

    However, mostly he simply has a hand that he thinks is good, yet is easily catchable. He wants you to fold. A pair of jacks at hold’em before the flop, or a pat 8-7-6-5-4 at Ace-to-Five lowball draw are a couple of examples.  An unusually small bet can be a light probe by a weak hand. It could also mean that a big hand is looking for action.

    For example, for getting the absolute minimum, the lowball player opens in early position, and then stands pat. Be cautious! Since, most pat hand holders don’t want you to draw against them cheaply so they open with a fairly large bet. Always be cautious of Greeks bearing gifts. You are drawing dead or close to it, up against a pat six or wheel if you are getting a great price for your one-card draw.

    Once at Omaha, in a pot-limit game, a former World Poker Champion put in a big reraise before the flop, which seemed to be two double-suited aces. His not so experienced rival poker player heads-up out of position. In the pot preflop, there was about fifteen hundred dollars. Both the poker players had plenty of money in front of them.

    The flop came A§-9ª-4ª. The W.C. bet a small bet in relation to the pot size, which was out of character for the bettor, who usually bet the full size of the pot and the weak poker player checked. Most of the experienced poker players understood what happened. The W.C. had flopped a huge hand; top set and the nut flush-draw.

    A Greek gift was the cheap bet. The rival poker player did not understand the situation. Due to his misfortune, the rival poker player lost his entire stack of six thousand dollars as he called the bet. A small bet at a big pot could be a weak probe. However, there might be big trouble in waiting for the would-be caller if a habitually heavy gunner does it.

    After all the cards are out, how do you detect a bluff? One of the important aspects to understand this is that a poker player who has a little something to show rarely resorts to bluff. He simply checks whether his hand is good or not. Desperate poker players resort to bluffing.

    A poker player who has some kind of hand is less likely to bluff than a poker player who has absolutely nothing. The probability of bluffing by a hold’em poker player drawing at a jack-high straight and missing is far more higher than a poker player holding A-K who was trying to make likely to bluff in he busted out by pairing a six than by catching a queen or king.

    In my all these playing years, I have seen poker players get check-raised on the end and call, hoping to catch a bluff. It might not be impossible, but it is certainly improbable. If a rival poker player wants to run a bluff and has nothing, instead of check-raising, he is more likely to lead into you. How could he be so sure that you will bet?

    “Tells” are those mannerisms, which give away the strength of your hand. With the same principle in mind, many of these tells are discussed in poker literature. Poker players try to fool you by acting strong when they are weak, and vice versa.

    A slow, hesitating bet might be a powerhouse whereas a fast bet might be a bluff. But, there are certain expectations to this rule. Understanding what the normal betting tempo of the rival players is after watching them, and understanding why they are playing abnormally fast or slow is of immense help.

    The way a poker player plays a hand reflects their tendency to act the opposite of what they really feel. Some of the poker players, out of habit slowplay their big hands. You can take advantage of this knowledge by identifying poker players with this penchant.

  Here are the meanings of certain mannerisms:

Due to the excitement of holding a good hand, shaking hands come more often than the nervousness associated with a bluff.

  • Be cautious of “speech bets.” A poker player who bets with his mouth yapping may well be chirping due to the excitement of holding a good hand.
  • A poker player who reaches for his money as you are about to bet would prefer that you checked. He is unlikely to have a big hand even though he might still call.
  • A poker player who checks after looking at his money was thinking about betting.
  • A poker player who checks out-of turn when the flop came down may be excited because he just hit a whopper.
  •     A poker player who acts a little disgusted when he checks on the end, if it is not a total act, will still remain a good enough hand to call if you bet. For example, a hold’em hand for this action might be top pair with the nut flush-draw. Although, he is disappointed about missing the flush, he still has a pair of ace.

        We have just started to understand the subject of reading the rival poker player. You should observe your rival poker players if you want to develop your skill in this department. Keep in mind the amount they like to bet in certain situations and the tempo used for the bet.

        Each poker player has got his own “signature” which varies with factors such as whether he is in front or stuck for that session. Noticing an unusual mannerism does not automatically assign the meaning it had when someone else did it. We must learn what it means when that particular poker player acts in such a manner depending on our individual idiosyncrasies.

        A couple of warnings before ending the chapter. Firstly, don’t automatically pay off a loose gambler because at times he simply won’t be in a mood to play fast. Secondly, don’t rely very heavily on some mannerisms when you’re stuck that you start finding flimsy excuses to make bad calls.

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