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How to Read Your Opponents’ Ranges in Poker


Poker is a card game for two or more players, played with chips that represent units of money, called “whites” or “coloreds.” For example, a white chip is worth the minimum ante or bet; a red chip is worth five whites; and so on. Players place these chips into a pot when they call, raise or fold a bet. The highest-ranking hand wins the pot, unless it’s a flush or a straight.

There are several factors that determine how good your poker hand is, but most of all it comes down to your opponents’ hand strength and range. Learning how to read your opponents’ ranges is an art form in itself, but some basic points to keep in mind are:

The flop is important – even if you have a monster hand the flop can transform it into garbage. For instance, say you have a pair of kings off the deal and the flop comes A-8-5. Now you’re a huge underdog against three Js.

This is one of the biggest mistakes new players make, but it’s really easy to avoid. You just need to be patient and play your strong value hands with a lot of confidence. This way you can take advantage of your opponent’s mistakes and trap them into calling with mediocre hands that you can crush on the turn and river. Don’t get too cocky with your trashy hands though, because your opponent will learn to spot them and bluff you back with their own weaker hands.

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