How to Read People in Poker


There’s plenty of luck involved in poker, but it also requires a considerable amount of skill. Players need to know how to read the other players at the table, anticipate their opponents’ ranges, and be able to make good decisions under pressure.

A hand in poker consists of 5 cards, including two personal cards you hold (called hole cards) and the rest of the community cards on the table. A full house is three matching cards of one rank, a flush is five consecutive cards of the same suit, and a straight is 5 unmatched cards in a row. The highest hand wins the pot.

The game has different betting intervals depending on the variant being played. In each interval, one player has the right to call the last raise (unless he’s the dealer). In order to be able to call a bet, he must put chips in the pot equal to or higher than the previous player. This is called “the gap concept.”

Reading people is a skill with many applications, and there are books on it. However, the skills required to read other players in poker are a little more specific. Advanced players learn to watch their opponent’s body language and analyze their tells in order to make good reads. They also study the way their opponents handle their cards and chips to pick up on any small tells. They may even play multiple tables or watch replays of their own hands to improve their reads and strategy.