Hand Reading In Poker Games – 5 Signs That An Opponent May Be Weak

Spotting Weakness In Opponents By Reading Betting Patterns – Poker Hand Reading Tips!

Spotting weakness in an opponent during a poker hand is a great way of accumulating chips. This article covers 5 scenarios where poker hand reading may enable to deduce weakness.

Before we begin a word of caution – many opponents will ‘act’ weak when they are in fact very strong. The signs below are thus player specific, in fact if you are aware of a particularly ‘tricky’ opponent these signs can often be more or less reversed… if a maniac who bets every flop suddenly checks the alarm bells should be ringing!!

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Poker Hand Reading - 5 Poker Hand Reading Signs Of Opponent Weakness

  1. Limping. This is especially the case where a player is folded to in middle to late position. Think about what hands they could play that would justify not raising. Big pairs and high unpaired hands (A-K, A-Q etc) play best for a raise. This leaves small pairs and hands such as suited connectors. If a pre-flop raise does not take the pot immediately then a continuation bet on the flop will usually do the trick.
  2. Over-betting On A ‘Dry Flop’. When an opponent suddenly bets twice or even three times the pot on a flop which contains very few draws they are often weak. Why bet so big with a set or an over-pair? The most likely holding is a medium pair and depending on the opponent you may have an excellent chance of taking the pot, either by re-raising now or calling and then betting big on the turn. Be careful to take a note of any player who would do this with strong hands.
  3. Checking The Flop. Sure, certain opponents will check with the intention of check-raising. However the flop check usually means exactly what is implied – weakness. The position of the player checking should be taken into account, if the flop has many straight draws or a flush possible then a check behind could indicate a drawing hand. If an opponent checks behind from position on a ‘dry’ flop then betting out when a safe turn card appears will often take the pot.
  4. The ‘Weak Lead’. When an out of position player bets into the pre-flop raiser for a small amount weakness is often apparent. The thinking here is to look from the opponents viewpoint as to what hands they would bet. For example with a strong hand such as 2 pair or trips a check-raise would be in order – after all pre-flop raisers usually continuation bet when checked to!
  5. The Button Steal. A single raise when folded to on the button does not imply weakness. However if an opponent raises every single time when they are folded to here you can deduce that they are doing this regardless of their cards. This sign of weakness can present excellent opportunities to pick up chips with a well timed re-steal from the blinds.

To summarize, betting tells are always opponent specific. Be careful taking advantage of weakness against players who will call you to the river with their weak holdings anyway. If your holding is very strong then optimal play may be to allow another card to come, hoping that your weak opponent improves enough to pay off a big bet later in the hand. 

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ACR Poker Mark's Rec


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