How To Read Poker Players

September 18, 2009 by  
Filed under Strategy

One of the most important skills you can learn as a poker player – second only to learning the values of different poker hands, is learning how to read poker players. While a lot of poker play takes place in the realms of statistical analysis, there will be many occasions when you will need to be able to read your opponents. Beginners, especially, love to bluff, and are easy for a skilled player to read.

It’s hard to teach someone how to read poker players – you can learn a lot about body language and common tells just by reading books, but applying the knowledge will take practice, and is a skill that you will develop as you spend more time at the table.

While you are learning how to read poker players, you should practice being aware of the signals you are sending out yourself. Once you are aware of body language tells, you can train yourself so that you do not send them out during your own play. Practice adopting a relaxed posture, even when you are nervous. Practice speaking calmly at all times, and watch for things like touching your face, or biting your lip – things you may do without even realizing! Think about why you do them, so that you can stop yourself from doing it, and also be more aware of when others do similar things.

It takes a lot of practice to be good at reading poker players. Don’t get too hung up on the skill, however – remember that there are other things, such as basic hand probabilities, that are also important.

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