Reads in Texas Hold’em

Reads in Texas Hold’em

Playing Texas Hold'em poker is one of the most mentally stimulating activities one can undertake. It is also physically draining to sit at the poker table for long hours at a time in both tournaments and cash games. Add to that the fact that you are literally keeping an eye on each and everyone at the table and their mannerisms it can wear you out. However, for those of us that endure there is the ultimate reward in that kind of focus. You get a read on your opponents. Knowing how to read your opponent and being able to trust your reads makes a sound poker player lethal.


You hear the word profile over and over and over again when talking to the world’s best poker players. Profiling is the ability to take small pieces of information to form a general idea of how a poker player plays his or her game. Player profiling includes understanding what hands a player is showing down with. It includes watching and listening for inflections in their voice when betting. It also includes constantly watching bet sizes looking for inconsistencies. Lastly, you are looking for just about anything large or small that will somehow lead you to have a better understanding of how that particular player plays the game. Are the tight, loose, aggressive, passive? Do they check call when they have big hands? Do they chase flush draws? All of these things are very relevant when your hard earned cash is on the line. Armed with this knowledge you are in a much better position to make your read and be able to trust it when you need to.

Pushing fear aside

How many times have you heard a poker player say, “I knew he had…!” after folding the best hand? This happens all the time in poker. You know why? It happens because even though that player knew exactly what his opponent was holding he was incapable of trusting his read. He could not pull the trigger and execute which means he did not trust his own judgment. Do not let this happen to you! There are going to be several times, particularly in Texas Hold’em poker tournaments, where you are going to have to trust your read and in doing so your tournament life will be at risk. The pros are more than capable of doing this and live by their reads on their opponents. Amateur players are not nearly as daring most of the time. In order to win poker tournaments you have to be capable of trusting the information you have gathered throughout the poker tournament. If you cannot execute when called upon you will have a very difficult time winning poker tournaments or doing well in cash games. The players that have the gall and audacity to call a player they know is bluffing down with middle pair are the ones that are going to take home the prize in the long run. You must be capable and willing to push fear aside and make the correct call when the time comes.

Put the time in

In order to make good reads on your opponents you have got to work at it. You cannot learn to read your opponents by reading a book about it. You have to sit down at the table in your local casino and work extremely hard at it. You have to purpose yourself to improving in this area. Sure, you can read several books about what to look for and why you should be looking for it. But none of that will do you a bit of good if you do not put the work in to improve that particular area of the game.

Ultimately, the most difficult thing you will have to overcome in the game of poker is yourself. Learn to trust the man in the mirror and you will be rewarded for your effort.