How to Play Poker Basics
Free Poker Games Online
Texas Holdem Rules
Texas Hold'em Games
Omaha Poker Scooping
World Poker Tour
Official Poker Rankings
Poker is played on a variety of levels.
Beginning players play poker based on their hand values. They learn what the odds are of their hands being the best and they bet, check and fold
based on these odds. This is the foundation of poker and essential to learning the basics of the game. Indeed, players can often beat low limit
games just by playing well at this level.
The next level of poker involves adjusting your bet, check and fold decisions by trying to ascertain what your opponent is holding. This allows the player
to increase their profits per hand by folding good hands that they would normally
bet or call (based on odds alone) when they think their opponent(s) have a better hand or by betting or calling hands that they would normally fold if
they determine that their opponents have a worse hand.
One effective way of determining what your opponent is holding is by looking for poker “tells”. Poker tells are actions by your opponents that
give away the value of their hands. Tells are most often associated with live play. Indeed, many critics of online poker claim that it is not
possible to pick up any poker tells online. This is not true. Although it is indeed more difficult to pick up poker tells online, an observant
player can find them. What follows is a listing of three common live play poker tells and three common online poker tells.
Live Play Tells
Looking at Chips: If you are involved in a hand on the flop, do not look at it as soon as it is dealt. Instead, take a look at your opponent’s
reaction to the flop. Many players will instinctively look down at their chips if the flop has helped them. Be less likely to bluff or play a
marginal hand if you spot this type of tell.
Table Talk: Pay attention to what your
opponents are saying. If a player says that they are only in the hand because they want to go home (often used in tournaments) or that they feel
like gambling, they often have a monster hand. Similarly, talkative players that all of a sudden go silent also often have very strong hands.
Don’t bluff and fold all marginal hands if you spot these types of tells.
Eye Contact: Players are more likely to make eye contact with you if they are weak (hoping to
represent strength) and more likely to avoid eye
contact if they are strong (hoping to represent weakness). If you find yourself in a marginal situation, take a look at your opponent. If they
are staring right at you, be more likely to call. If they are looking away, be more likely to fold.
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Online Play Tells
Table talk: Most online poker rooms have
chat boxes that allow players to talk to each other. You can make use
of the chat boxes to determine the strength of your opponent’s hands. You can do this in the same way you would in a live casinos. Online opponents
who hold strong hands will often try to coax you into calling. Don’t fall for it. Be less likely to call an opponent who is challenging you online.
Action Buttons: Many online poker rooms have action buttons that will allow players to state their intentions on a hand before the action
actually gets to them. The computer will execute this decision as soon as it is the player’s turn. You can tell that a player has used an action
button because there will be absolutely no pause between that players action and the previous players. Your opponents will most likely use the
“call any” action button if they are on a draw and the “raise any” button if they have a solid hand. They will seldom use these buttons on a bluff,
since a bluff is situation dependant. As a result, be more likely to respect these types of bets.
Pauses: Pay attention to how long your opponent takes to call or raise you. If a player intentionally stalls and then raises you, they often have
a very strong hand and are trying to lure you in. If they stall and then just call, they often have weak, marginal hands, or drawing hands.
Word of caution: While poker tells are a very powerful tool that will take your game to the next level, they should be viewed as a
supplement to (not a replacement of) the solid fundamental game that you learned as a beginning player. Do not, for example, call an
opponent all the way down with a queen high just because you know he is bluffing. Do, however, use the information you learned to make
tough and marginal decisions easier and more profitable.