Basic Reads and Putting People on Hands

Being able to put other players on a specific hand, or at least a basic idea of what they might have, can be a very useful thing in any poker game. It is far more important in a No Limit poker game than low limit poker, true, but it might easily still save you maybe 20 or 30 dollars in an hours game of 1-2 $. One of the easiest reads is when there is a preflop raise. In general you should treat preflop raisers the same way no matter if it is a solid player or a maniac who is doing it.

Respect is nedded

A healthy dose of respect is needed either way. Give people credit for a big hand when they raise, and only enter the pot with a strong outright winner hand or, if there are enough players calling and you are in late position, a strong drawing hand. Likewise if there are several raises preflop from several players. It is fair to assume that one of them got at least a hand like QQ and probably better.

Another read is when there is a possible draw on the table. In a multiway pot where you got a big pair and the flop comes 2 of a suit and a single player calls you all the way, you should at least have the idea that he is drawing for a flush. If the river could be making his flush you are better off checking thereby not giving him the chance to raise you. It would usually be wrong to fold if he bets the river after you checked since there would be enough money in the pot for you to make a value call, even if you are almost certain he hit his flush.

Notice the other players

Another somewhat useful read is noticing how long time people use to make a raise. It could be an indication of a strong hand when people almost let time run out before they raise you. Likewise if the raise is very quick, this indicates a draw or possibly a bluff or semibluff. The time factor is far from being a certainty but could help you in putting a read on another player.

Forced reads. Sometimes it can be a great help to shake thing up a bit, helping you to read specific players in the pot. Let us assume you limped in with 88, no one raised and SB and BB called also. Now the flop comes something like 337. Your overpair look good here, but you got to consider two things. Could anyone have a better overpair and could anyone have a 3. You should assume that 88 is the best hand since no one raised preflop, but the most likely place to see a 3 is in the hands of either SB or BB.

Let us assume you are in late position and someone makes a bet in front of you. Here is a good chance to force a read on other players. You raise your 88, and if anyone calls behind you, or either SB or BB calls you can take that your 88 is behind. If you just call on the flop you get no information at all, and if an overcard comes on the turn you are in a limbo. By making the flop raise you force out overcards and you identify possible strong hands.

There are several forced reads in poker but probably not something you should try too often as a beginner. Hopefully I can include more of these examples in another round of poker school, maybe for advanced players.

Offer valid as of date published. T&Cs apply.