You’ve been playing poker for a while, you know your outs from your douts, you’ve learnt a few poker chip tricks in your time, and you have played a few live games too. You find yourself down your local card club and sit down at the table immediately looking for tells.
You’re looking for the Harrington lick of the lips, the glance at their chip stack, their heart beting fast and heavy through their shirt. But nothing. Not a sausage. There is no tell being given off by anyone in the room. What is going on?!?
If you find tourself in this situation, or even if you are just starting to look for tells in your opponents, one of the best and most reliable poker tells out there is shown by the size of your opponent’s bet. This is a great tell that can be used online too!
Amateurs and novices that learn the game usually start out by betting in a formulatic pattern. If they hold AK then they raise up 3xBB, if they hold TT in late position, they raise 5xBB, and so on. This formula varies from person to person but once you can hone in on a player’s betting pattern you will have a much clearer idea of the range of hands they are likely to be holding.
Most beginners focus on what is the correct play to make, rather than how to mix up their game. This can make them very predictable poker players. Make sure you keep an eye on how much they are betting / raising and if there is a showdown then make a mental not to yourself of what kind of play this player made at each betting round. Try to work out why they bet like they did and form a mental picture of how this player thinks. Chances are, later on during the game you are going to be heads up in a pot with this guy and this information will be invaluable to you.
If you are at a table of novices, you will see a lot of limping going on. This is especially noticeable when playing online. Losers love to limp. They limp with pretty much any two picture cards or even a raggy picture card if its suited in the hope to get lucky by seeing a cheap flop. If they do pick up a genuine hand like a strong suited ace, or a large pocket pair, they are going to be raising and raising BIG. This is their tell. Many of these players have rules for how they play specific hands.
If you play like this, you are giving your hand away every time, even before the flop.
You are better off using the following rule:
By betting in this way, you won’t be giving anything away to your opponents. Even observant opposition will not know what kind of hand to put you on pre flop. If you find yourself playing at a table where the opposition is a lot tougher, then you need to ensure you are not giving away the tells mentioned above yourself! At a tougher table, you can be sure that every player at the table is watching how much you bet into the pot and looking at your position too. This is where you can turn the tables against better opposition.
If we just talk pre-flop for a minute here, lets say you find youself in early position with a pair of tens. Nice! You will be looking to raise. Crank up the bet to 3xBB. The next time the button comes round and you find yourself in early position again, but this time with 45s, crank it up to 3xBB. In fact, most raises should be to the same size each time if you are looking to disguise your bet. This way, whether its rags or bigslick, no one will know what it is you are holding and it will make reading you a lot more tricky.
Usually, if I am going to play a hand, I am going to be raising. My raise is usually 3xBB no matter how strong or super-strong my cards are.
By watching how much each player at the table bets, you will be shocked at how often these players repeat their own betting patterns and give away their hand. In order to prevent them from picking up on your hand, make sure you bet the same way in different situation.
The more you can baffle your opponents, the more money you stand to make.
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