You might believe that online poker lacks in the basic psychology that the “real world” game has, but people are still people, even if they’re using a mouse and keyboard instead of their hands.
In general, current breed of online poker players are more aggressive, more math-savvy and harder to judge overall. They’ve grown up with online poker and are used to the anonymity that online play allows and many of them steadfastly believe that there’s no physical tells, so how can you predict what their next move will be? Fact is, though, that there are certain ways to read your opposition, but they require a different approach.
We try and we try and we try, but every player out there has some sort of betting pattern. Sometimes they’re harder to discern than others.
A key place to look at this is in the pre-flop, where you can determine a lot about their playing style by whether they raise or just limp in.
You’ll also want to observe which hands they’re likely to raise with versus calling or checking. Figuring out what their range is for each of these actions is key to determining if they’re an especially tight or loose player and how aggressive they choose to be when going in on a hand.
You’ll want to note the position the player you’re observing was in when they entered the pot. Are they, for instance, going in with fairly weak hands from early in the rotation?
Once you determine someone’s betting style, you can use their position to get a read on what they’re holding.
If you’ve observed someone be tight time and time again and they go hard from the button, well, you’ll want to make sure you’re also holding something strong to take them down.
The great thing about online poker software is that it gives you a chance to collect and use copious amounts of data on your opposition.
In the real world, it’s much easier to remember a face and name and associate it with a playing style. In the digital realm, usernames blur into each other and can be hard to keep separate. By using the built-in notes ability that every online poker site out there allows you, you can instantly call up the things you’ve seen a player do and use it against them.
File Players Under Types
In order to make your game easier, you’ll want to give each player an easy-to-digest descriptor. The most obvious way to do that is to describe them as being tight or loose and whether they are aggressive or passive.
Tight players, for instance, have a tendency to fold anything short of face pairs or high sequenced suits, but they may become aggressive when they are holding the cards they want.
This is called “tight aggressive” so you can quickly categorize and understand their style without having to go through reams of data.
The same applies for loose-aggressive and the very elusive passive-loose player that has more money than common sense. (Those are the ones that you want to drain dry.)