Most people have seen a magic trick or two in their lives. Remember the one where the magician can guess what card you're holding in your hand? Wouldn't we all like to perform that feat in poker? Well, this article won't assist you in developing psychic powers, but it will reveal a very valuable tip to help you determine what an opponent is holding.
Betting patterns are the biggest tell in online play. By discovering this in your opponent, you know the type of player you're up against and you can remove the mystery from their hand.
Putting the Puzzle Together
You must first put together the pieces that form the betting pattern puzzle of a player. You have to determine what kind of player he is and the kind of betting pattern he follows before you can start applying betting patterns.
The best way to fit the pieces together is to take it easy the first five or 10 hands and watch other players show down a few hands. If a player doesn't show them down, just watch the way he likes to bet and make predictions about his hand. Eventually you'll get vibes on the way he likes to play certain hands.
There are many types of betting patterns that you may pick up on, but the basic ones are:
Raise, Bet, Check
The player raises pre-flop. He bets the flop. Then he checks the turn.
When you think of this pattern, imagine the hand ace-king missing the flop. For example, most people with two un-paired high cards, such as ace-king, will always bet the flop even if they hold nothing. This is one of the biggest signs of weakness you will witness at the poker table. When an opponent does this, I immediately put him on ace-king and raise the turn with most hands. Occasionally, this read will be wrong, but this is a typical ace-king pattern that most mediocre to advanced players use.
Call, Check-Call, Raise
The player calls pre-flop. He checks the flop and calls an opponent's bet. Then he raises the turn.
This pattern is usually one of strength. When someone check-calls and then shows strength on either the river or the turn, I almost always fold.
Imagine that he has a drawing hand. The key to putting him on a draw is evaluating the flop, turn, and river. If the flop is two-suited and the player check-calls, then assume he's on either a draw or low pair. If the turn comes the same suit as the flop and he raises, put him on a draw. It's an easy pattern that most good players will detect.
When an opponent check-raises you, I would say 90% of the time you're beat. Most opponents just aren't skilled enough to try a check-raise bluff. In fact, most players don't even think about trying it. I always fold to check-raises unless I have the nuts.
See you at the tables.