As anyone who has played poker before can tell you, it is important that you are able to spot the fish as soon as you sit down. If you are unable to locate the fish within at least fifteen minutes, guess what? You’re the fish.
While everyone knows how important it is to remain observant and attentive at the poker table, we must also study our own game and style before we set our sights on our opponents.
We need to study our own games first, because while poker is not a very difficult game to learn, it is incredibly challenging to master and those who become good at it must spend countless hours maintaining their edge.
Since you are the player that you are most familiar, your studies should begin with your own style before you expand into watching others. You’ll need to be able to confirm or deny the effectiveness of your personal strategies and theories, find your own weaknesses and take your critical thinking skills to a new level first.
Studying the effectiveness of your chosen strategies with a variety of opponents is one of the most pivotal steps in this process. That is how you can locate the weaknesses in the games of your most frequently played opponents.
So what happens once you’ve collected enough unbiased information about yourself to create a dossier? You’ll need to start studying your opponents, so that you can readily determine their skill level within the few moments of the game.
By studying your opponents and their amount of comfort with the game, you are able to instantly determine their level of experience. This lets you pick out the weak players in the group and attack them mercilessly. Even something as simple as the way that the player riffles their chips can tell you everything you need to know about their abilities.
Some players can mimic all of the game’s mechanics while still not being able to play very well, but these types of players tend to be few and far between. To take your studies to the next level, you must pay close attention to how they handle showdown hands.
These hands offer valuable insight, as they let you know whether the player is a skilled bluffer or whether they are particularly aggressive when they have big hands. By analyzing showdown hands, you are able to add this information to the wealth of knowledge that you already have inside of your memory banks.
When it comes to studying yourself and your opponents, it is an endless work in progress, as you will never know it all. We are not machines and neither are our opponents. But those who study are able to get a much better read on themselves and others and as all poker player know, any step in the right direction is critical to long term success.