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Reading People in Poker

One of the most useful skills in poker is knowing how to read the other players. By identifying tells when a player is bluffing and anticipating when a player has a good hand, players can best defend against losses and bet more effectively. There are a few ways players can learn how to better read the other players in a poker game.

Bluffs and Tells

In poker, players regularly pretend to have cards that they don't. They can try to convince others at the table that they have a much better hand, attempting to drive out other players, or they can try to downplay a good hand, keeping more people at the table and driving up the value of the pot. These are both types of bluffs, and many players have tells that give away when they are attempting to bluff. Players should be aware of other players' body language, as any sudden changes can indicate a bluff.

Telling Behavior

Another way players can learn how to read people in poker is to observe the overall behavior of their fellow players. Players who are animated and talkative may be excited over a good hand. Other players who throw down their bets and complains about the behavior of others may be frustrated at a string of bad hands. However, some players may be so aware of their behavior that they use such behavior to bluff.

The only way players can really learn how to read people is to play several hands with a particular group. Over time, the player will become familiar with habits of certain players and will soon be able to predict hands based on the behavior of their opponents.