In our last article we mentioned some basic differences of playing online Texas Hold’em in an open table or a tournament. If you missed it, you can read it here: How to play Texas Hold’em Online – Part I.
Now let’s go over a quick explanation on the basics we mentioned at the beginning of the last part.
Reading an opponent
This is slightly complicated unless you spend a lot of time in a table with the same person.
If you happen to spend a lot of time with another player in a table, you might notice certain betting patterns, like if (s)he raises after someone else just raised, it means they are bluffing, or pressing the pay button very fast means they are anxious and have good cards, but don’t want to raise the bet to avoid suspicion. Since you can’t read the person’s body to find any tells, you will need to learn to identify these patterns in behavior to read your opponents and have a better chance at winning.
Probability of success
This isn’t very different from trying to figure what are the odds that an opponent has a better hand when playing offline; however, because you can’t talk or do anything to get a reaction as when playing offline – to judge how confident they are on their hand – and you have a very specific time limit determined by a counter, you need to learn to do this fast and evaluate the chances of having a better hand while taking into account any abnormal betting patterns that may indicate they have a good or bad hand.
When and how to bluff
Bluffing is not an option when playing poker, but you need to learn how to do it right, and when to do so when playing Texas Hold’em online.
At the beginning of a game, if all players have a similar amount of cash, you can expect most people to be a bit defensive on calling a bluff, so you can take advantage a pull some bluffs when a game is starting.
After you’ve been caught once or twice, you need to assume that a few players have noticed a betting pattern when you’re bluffing, so you can use that to your advantage. Follow the same pattern when you have a good hand, and if the other player is experienced and noticed the trend, he’ll fall into your trap.
If you’re on a critical position and need to bluff, try to make it seem as legit as possible – like you have a really good hand but want to make small increments before the turn to not scare people away, and then go big on the last two cards – unless you notice they have a good chance of having a better hand and will not back down.
When to fold
Since it’s so difficult to read people when playing Texas Hold’em in an online environment, it becomes harder to tell when you should fold and when should you try and call someone else’s bluff.
So, at this point, the best thing is to remember what kind of game you’re playing (open table or tournament), and be sure to stick to that kind of game’s purpose. In a tournament you might need to take a risk and call a bet you would normally fold to in an open table, because blinds are going up and you need to increase your pot. Meanwhile, in an open table you can be careful, but if you have a decent hand, don’t be shy and fold just because another player raised the pot.
This is probably the only aspect you can’t get a more detailed guide on how to approach, as it’s something you need to learn by playing.
Finally, if you start losing hand after hand and don’t seem to get a break, leave the room and stop betting for the day – don’t let emotions get the best of you.
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