The one skill that every poker player wants to master is reading other poker players’ hands. The art of trying to tell what cards the other players have from the expressions on their faces and their actions.
In reality, the only way to learn this art is to play a lot of poker. To spend hundreds of hours at the table playing hundreds of rounds poker. Now obviously most of us lack the time, the money and the patience to do that. There are a few things that you can learn about reading poker hands.
The first rule of poker is never taken anything for granted, so, remember nothing is certain. Just because you think the other guy has the nuts, doesn’t make it so. He might be a really good bluffer.
One way to learn to read poker hands is to watch a lot of poker. Watch a lot of those TV poker shows particularly the ones with the professional poker players and see what they do. Pay close attention when they bluff, and see what they do when they bluff. That can tell you a lot about how people act. It can help you spot a pro who is pretending to be an amateur player.
Another way to learn to read poker hands is to go to a casino or card room and simply watch other people playing poker. Buy yourself a drink and sit down and enjoy the show. Watch closely and pay attention, especially to the really good players. Watch and see how they bluff and what they do when they have a really good hand.
You should also read poker books and pay attention to expert advice. Many poker players today read poker books and take poker lessons. If you can learn the systems promoted in the books and online, you can deduce some of the bluffs that they plan to make.
When you observe poker, you should watch out for cheating, especially if you’re playing in casinos or card rooms. There are a lot of methods of cheating out there that you should be aware of.
The most common is marked cards, the marking is usually subtle done with nick or tear in the card. This is why most professional poker players ask for a new deck on a regular basis to keep somebody from marking it. Be particularly weary if somebody displays unusual skill at reading poker hands and anticipating other players moves.
Observation is the key to poker and the way to become a good observer is to watch and play a lot of poker.