The moment you sit down at the poker table, you should start evaluating the way in which each of your opponents play poker. The information you collect about your opponents will allow you to make better plays against them. All you need to do to get information about how your opponents play is watch the hands in which you are not playing.
When you play at the table from the very first hand, what kind of information can you have about your opponents?
If you are in this situation there are some things that will help you figure out what the players are like:
- Look at your opponents’ stack size.
- Read their player username (Not super useful, but it’s always an option!).
- Pay attention to players who don’t wait for the big blind (not a great indicator, but better than nothing).
- Pay attention to players who call the big blind and then call a raise from another player (this is a good one).
When you play cash games, just by looking at the size of the players’ stack you’ll discover who the potential solid players and the potential weak players are. In all cash games there is a maximum buy-in that in general is 100 times the big blind. Generally, solid players will be close to this maximum buy-in or above it.
This rule does not apply to all players because sometimes it may happen that the weak players get a good run of cards and as a result they increased their stack above the maximum buy-in. However, in general this will be a pretty accurate indication of their ability.
Try to be more aware of the opponents who hold deep stacks but do not form a strong judgment just based on this.
On the other hand, weak players tend to have a stack size that is significantly below the maximum buy-in. This happens because players who play for entertainment do not have problems letting their stack decreasing as the game goes on. However, a winning player will try to reload to the maximum in order to give themselves the best chances to make each poker hold’em hand as profitable as possible.
Online player name/alias
Through the name and alias your opponents use online you can also learn things about their personality and their intentions. In general, “sensible” players will just use their real name or even a name related to the poker game as their alias. The less sensible players, on the other hand, and also players who play for entertainment, tend to use rude and even offensive names.
Aliases can be helpful when we have little information about our opponents, even though they are not the most solid indicators. You can deduce that those players who use ‘sensible’ names have more chances of being solid players while players who use ‘less sensible’ names are more likely to be playing just for fun.
Players who don’t wait for the big blind
You need to post a big blind in order to be dealt a hand when you play at a cash table. You can post the big blind at any time of the rotation but you should wait until the actual big blind comes to you before you play a hand.
You should do this in order to save yourself from seeing flops when you are in a bad position with a hand in which you could possibly lose a lot of money. If you see your opponents posting the big blind before the actual BB gets to them, you’ll know they are anxious to get involved in the game and they probably are not solid players.
Players who call the blind and then call a raise
If one of your opponents calls the initial big blind and then calls again after the player behind them raises, you can infer that they don’t have much experience in the game. This is because when you have a hand worth calling a raise with, it’s much better to be the raiser than calling another opponent’s raise.
Besides, if one of the players limps in, you can infer that they are holding a marginal hand or they try to slowplay a monster hand. When another player raises behind them, if they call you’ll know that they have a marginal hand since a player who holds a monster starting hand will usually re-raise. When they call to see flops, this will provide you enough information about their game: you’ll be able to assume the player is weak and doesn’t have much experience when it comes to playing winning poker.
It is also true that they call and then the raise and even though have a strong starting hand. This means they are passive players. However, take into account that if you face a solid player he won’t be so passive so you can infer once again that they are not so great just because they call with strong starting poker Texas Hold’em hands.
Except when a player holds a small pocket pair and he is set mining, choosing to call the blind and then call a raise is not a good play and an experienced player would not use it.
Poker table analysis evaluation
Even though you use the above mentioned tips to analyze the style of play of your opponents, the truth is you will not always get concrete evidence about the way in which your opponents play. It may happen to you that you find a really strong player who, at the same time, uses a childish name and does not wait for the big blind as he sits down.
You should use the information in this article to help you make better decisions and not rely solely on them.