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Reading is fundamental. In fact, it's one of the keys to poker success. Being able to assess your opponents is crucial to garner tells on others at the table and to make well-timed shoves and bluffs, capitalizing on other opponents weaknesses and play around their strengths. Finding tells at a live poker game is relatively easy as physical tells are identified easily. It usually is identified in a person's facial expressions, and possible movements, nervous habits, table talk and moods and these are some of the tells that lots of poker players give off on a consistent basis.
Online poker makes this process increasingly difficult. This is because some people insist that there are no tells in the world of online poker, and you can't call a bluff; however, professional gamblers have a different point of view. In fact, several categories of tells in online poker exist.
One of the easiest ways to analyze an opponent while playing Internet poker is to get them talking in the chatbox. One of the ways in which you can tell if someone new or experienced in the game is by observing their comments and attitude towards the game. It will quickly become apparent that they are simply playing for fun or for real money. It's also the best way to find out if someone is on tilt
One of the biggest tells is the speed at which an individual bets, folds, and moves all in. You can tell if a player is new to the game by assessing how consistently they move the chips pre-flop and how long they take post-flop. An indication of a somewhat inexperienced opponent is when they make immediate folds and do so consistently. It is then apparent that they are basing their decisions not on position and the opponent's actions but on their hole cards.
Another way in which to sum up an opponent during a poker game is to watch for the size of the bets as well as their betting patterns. The frequency on which they raise or call tells a lot about that experience and their level of analysis. You may find some opponents that mix up the bets on each hand, and other's that bet the same amount every time.
In the world of online poker, there are ways to take notes on other opponents. The good news is that the comments are private in any person's note system and its the perfect way to keep notes attached to specific individuals. So when they reappear at a table instead of recognizing the screen names, you'll be notified that you did play with this person previously and it will also mention that you took notes. It is always beneficial to make notes on your own as well and also make use of hand history to analyze your personal betting speed and patterns.