Chapter 16: Studying Holecards at Showdown

One of the HUGE advantages of online poker is the ability to see your opponent’s hole cards when they go to showdown against you or another opponent at the table.  You can gain an incredible amount of information from analyzing their hands and how they played them street by street.

What to look for:

Their hand selection preflop.  By seeing their cards at showdown we can know what their preflop standards are.  If you see someone limp under-the-gun and show K4s at showdown, they’re going to be a fish.  If you see someone 3-bet a player and showdown T7o, make a note because it’s likely they’ll be aggressive and loose.  Knowing what a player chooses to play preflop can help you know what they are capable of and how advanced a player they are.  It is the way to best tell who the fish are and who the aggressive raisers and reraisers are.

How they play their big hands.  Sometimes you’ll notice a player flopped a set and proceeded to check behind the flop or just call players’ bets.  Sometimes you’ll see a player who just limped preflop with AA.  It’s important to know if your opponent likes to slowplay his big hands or if he plays them fast with bets and raises like most players do.

How they play medium-strength hands.  Since most of the time a player will flop one pair with his hand it’s important to know how far someone is willing to take this one pair and what he’s willing to call or bet with it.

How they play their draws.  Do they semibluff big?  Or do they check and call with their flush draws?  Always be looking for this.

More reliable than stats.  I consider seeing someone’s hole cards the most reliable way to tell how good and capable that player is.  Stats can help you a lot but they don’t tell you the intricacies of a player like his hole cards can.  Remember to always check an opponent’s hole cards in the hand history window after he plays a big hand.  Piece together the whole hand from his perspective, and understand how his actions in that hand will relate to future hands.


Are you looking for more training on tough river calls? The best way to become an expert is from online poker training sites such as Deuces Cracked. They’ve helped improve my game tremendously. Check them out by clicking here.

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09. August 2012 by Bill Vosti
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