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Get a Feel for the Table

Poker Tips: Get a Feel for the Table
by Hank Cashman of

In every game you have to know your opponents. In poker, since you are playing more than one opponent at a time, you have to also get to know the table.

The feel of the table is the combination of the players and how they are playing each other. It is a conglomeration of all the factors that make up that particular table.

Get to know your opponents. Which ones are the rocks, the fish and the sharks? Which ones are the loose/aggressive? Also note where they are in comparison to you. I want two calling stations to my left and the maniacs to my right.

Now that you know what and where everyone is, how will they react to how you play your hand? This is what makes up the feel of the table.

When you start a hand you have to evaluate how strong your hand is and anticipate how each player will react. If you have a hand that you raise pre-flop, you will get a different reaction from each type of player. You have to take this into consideration to evaluate the strength of your hand.

Now that you know where you stand, ask yourself if you think your hand will improve or not. If you believe that you hand will not improve and there is the possibility that your opponents might, you need to bet at least 75% of the pot. This way you can take the pot down now while you are at your best chance to win the hand.

If your hand will improve and you want to continue to build the pot, keep your bet about half of the pot. This will entice calls.

If you think your opponent has hit the flop, you need to know find out. If they have hit the flop this should help you decide how to proceed. If hit and you may have a weaker hand, bet low. If they hit but you hit better, bet higher. At this time, the stronger you feel the stronger your bet should be.

If you have a good hand but you see a possible straight or flush draw for your opponent, you need to get them off of their hand as soon as possible. If you hit two pair but there are two suited cards on the board, put in a high bet and take that pot now. You need to know if this is possible or not. Some players will chase a draw to the river no matter how bad their chances are. Getting drawn out on is a terrible feeling.

Put all of these elements together to know how to play your table. Every table and group of players is different. If you adjust to your table you will win more.

Keep the cards and chips flying.

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