Reading Holdem Hand Skills

For example, the two suited cards appear on the flop and a rival raises after there has been a bet and a couple of callers but check later on the turn when a blank hits. It is possible might be on a flush draw and was buying a free card. If the flush card hits on the end, you should fold unless you can beat a flush. If a flush card does not hit you may to check and call in the expectation you can induce a bluff. Conversely, if you were also on the flush draw, you may want to bet as there is a reasonable chance that you can pick up the pot.

After finishing with the hand, it becomes extremely important to have a good idea of what your rival has. The more precisely you can read hands on the end, the better you can ascertain your chances of having your rival beat. This definitely helps you to decide how to play your own hand.

In fact, many people try to ascertain whether a rival has a bad hand, an average hand, a good hand or a best hand. Suppose your rival bets on the end. Generally when a player bets, it shows a bluff, a good hand or a best hand but possibly not an average hand. If your rival has only average hand, he will just check instead of betting or raising. If you have only average hand, you should ascertain whether your chances gives your rival an opportunity to bluff and whether those chances guarantees call with respect to the pot odds.

As mentioned in hold'em, one complimentary way to read hands is to begin by considering number of various possible hands that a rival can have and then try to remove some of the possibilities as the hand progresses. A best way to read hands is to work backward. For example, if the last card is a deuce and a rival who has been calling so far bets suddenly, you think back on his play in earlier rounds. As it does not seem possible that he would have called with only two deuces in the hole, he is either bluffing or has something other than a set of deuces.

Suppose the flop comes

The first player bets and the second player behind him raises. A third person, who is also in an early position and is a solid but not very aggressive player, raises again. Assume that several players are still left to act behind the raiser and that this re-raiser had just called before the flop. What would be his possible hand?

Notice that he is not likely to be on a draw trying for a free card as he would not want to eliminate the players behind him or the initial bettor. Another thing it is easy to rule out a set. The re-raiser most likely would have raised before the flop with KK or QQ but would not play with 22 from so early position. Likewise it is unlikely that he has AK's, aK, KQ's as he would have raised before the flop with these hands. Additionally he would not make it three bets with a hand like KJ's, KJ, KT's, or KT. (He would also not have played with KJ or KT as they are not suited.) This takes us one possibility: KQ. If his hand is not suited, he would most likely call with it from an early position, but would still be ready to make it three bets on the flop if he flopped top two pair.

Let's take one more example. Suppose six people limp in before the flop, the pot is then raised by a strong player and the player on the button cold calls. Everyone else calls. The flop comes

Everyone checks to the button, who bets. Three people call including the strong player (who raised before the flop). The card on fourth street was

Everyone checks and the player on the button bets again. There are two callers including the strong player.
Let's ascertain what kind of hands strong player would have. First, for him to raise so many people before the flop, he must have a hand of value in a multi-way pot. Second, for him to call both on the flop and the turn, the pot must have been offering pot odds.

It brings us to one most likely hand. It is JT's. Because of the high implied odds before the flop, it would be correct to raise with this hand. On the flop, the pot would be large enough to make a correct call with just a gut shot and the 9? on the turn would produce an open-end straight draw, which would make it correct to call again here.

We shall discuss about some other techniques. When you cannot put a person on a hand but have minimized his holdings to a limited number, you can take the help of mathematics to ascertain the chances of his having certain hands rather than others. So to continue the play you can then determine what type of hand you should have in order to continue the play.

You can sometimes take help of mathematics calculations based on Bays' Theorem to ascertain the chances that a rival has one hand or another. After determining on the type of hands the rival would be betting in a given case, you should ascertain the possibility of your rival holding each of those hands. You can then make a comparison with those possibilities.

Suppose a player in an early position calls and then re-raises. You read him as the kind of player who will call first and then re-raise only with AA, KK, aK's, or AK and you know that is the only way he will play these hands from an early position. The possibility that a player will be facing AA on the first two cards is 0.45 percent. The possibility of his getting KK is also 0.45 percent. So he will get AA or KK 0.9 percent of the time on average. The probability that he will get AK's or AK is 1.2 percent. By comparing these two possibilities - 1.2 percent and 0.9 percent, you ascertain that the chances are 4-to-3 that your rival does not hold a pair.

Knowing it is less likely that your rival holds AK's or AK rather than a big pair does not on itself tell you how you should proceed in the play of the hand. In addition, the more you know about the chance of a rival having one hand rather than another when he bets or raises, the easier it is for you to decide whether to fold, call or raise.
For example you have

And the flop comes

And your rival bets. If you think your rival will bet a ten (KT or QT) as an ace, you should at least call. If the turn comes another ace and your rival bets again, your play is to raise if you know this rival would still bet if he had only a ten. This is because it is much more likely that you have the best hand and your raise may save you from losing to a fifth street king or queen. (If re-raised, you should throw away your hand.)

As this last example shows, you should consider the mathematical conclusion with what you know about a player. For instance some player in an early position fairly calls with AA, KK, or AK's but usually will raise with AK offsuit. Here if the player calls and then re-raises he is three times more likely to have a pair than AK's.

The number of players in the pot is an essential factor in reading hands and deciding how to play your own hand. Any time when someone bets or someone else calls you are in a much different position than when it is for you to call. A caller ahead of you makes it necessary for you to tighten up because no longer have the extra equity that the bettor may be bluffing. Thus when your hand is worth a call in a heads-up situation such as when you hold two over cards and are trying to catch a bluff, it is not worth a call when someone else has called ahead of you.

You can apply the same thinking when you have a minimum or near- minimum raising hand and the player to your right, who has the same standards to yours, raises ahead of you. This means that his hand is better than yours and the correct play is generally to fold.

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