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How to Read Your Opponent’s Hands in Online Poker

One of the most difficult skills to get to grips with in poker is learning to read a player’s hand. Once you commit to learning this part of the game, however, you should start to see noticeable improvements in your play and in your results.

Of course, reading poker hands is even more difficult when it comes to playing online poker, as you aren't privy to any physical tells they may demonstrate at a live table. Each time a player makes a move during a hand of poker in a live casino, every other player in the game has an opportunity to make a read and guess the hole cards in a player’s hand.

However, there's also more to remember when it comes to reading poker hands offline. In Texas holdem poker, for example, it’s easier to work out what a player's cards might be when on the river, as opposed to the flop;. A flop is so significant in defining a hand in Texas holdem that many players don’t even consider what cards another player might have until they’ve seen them.

But in both live and online poker, a player can demonstrate many individual tendencies. Knowing what these tendencies are affords you a head start in reading hands. Hand reading is one of the most popular covered aspects of the game when providing poker tips for beginners, so let's delve into how it can help you in your online poker game.

Poker playing style


The act of reading your opponents' hands begins proper to the flop, and there are various factors you can take into account before making your decision. If you keep an eye on how each of your opponents play the game once a few hands have been completed, you will begin to develop a feel for their playing style,.You should also then be able to categorise them as either a loose player or a tight player. You should also be in a better position to read your players, as you can limit the range of possible hands they each hold. So while guessing your opponent's hands shouldn't be a part of your go-to poker strategy per se, you'll definitely want to take this next piece of advice into account.

Hand ranges in online poker


When it comes to reading poker hands in general, hand ranges are one of the most aspects to take into account. When you first start playing poker online, you might be tempted to try and guess your opponent’s exact hand and use your conclusion as a basis on which to base your future decisions.

As there’s a very small amount of information available to you when playing poker online, it will serve you far more to guess the range of hands your opponent may have and decide whether or not you should fold or take on his hand.

Bet size


Another key factor to consider is bet size, which, of course, should be a part of any bag of poker tricks. The majority of players choose a certain bet size for a reason, and it’s on you to try and work out what that reason is.

In a situation where your opponent is indicating strength followed by weakness, such as ridings pre-flop and then checking once the flop has been dealt, you will need to work out why that might be. Did the flop fail to serve him well or is he hoping you take the bait?

Most online poker players sill follow set patterns based on the quality of their hand, and once you have begun to recognise these patterns, you’ll be able to start using them to your advantage. For example, an opponent might choose to raise to a predetermined amount pre-flop when he likes the strength of his hand, and raise to a different predetermined amount when his hand is only marginally decent.

Position when playing online poker


The final aspect of reading your opponent’s hand we’ll look at is how a player’s position can clue you in on the strength of their hand. The majority of online poker players will play more hands from the button, which is the sensible thing to do. However, this also greatly reduces the number of hands they play from earlier positions, If your opponent plays from one of these earlier positions, it’s likely that he’s playing with a hand he feels confident about.

Wrap up


Hand reading is part of poker tactics 101, and you should start thinking about the cards your fellow players might be holding as early in the game as possible. In a perfect world, what you consider to be your opponents’ hand range will have an effect on every move you make.

By choosing to play free poker games to get your head around reading your opponents' hands when playing poker online, you can get in some great practice time. You could even use a poker hands chart next to you. Familiarising yourself with the very best poker hands is never a bad idea, either.