New to Poker - How to Put People on Hands (1 Viewer)

rickyrick123

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I'm relatively new to poker and i've been playing at the casino and home games a fair amount.

I've studied the pre-flop charts and have a rudimentary understanding of how to play post flop.

I often see highly skilled players call out the opponent's hand and be very accurate on their guess. How do you develop the skill of putting players on specific hands? I'm sure there is a lot of pattern recognition in home games, however, i'm still very poor at putting players on specific cards.

How do you develop the skill of putting players on specific hands?
 

Legend5555

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It's actually not an that common you can put a player on a specific hand. More often you can put them in a range of hands, and that range can get pretty narrow. However, against weaker competition, it can become easier to make that range down so much, that there may only be 1-3 hands they can have.

After every street, you should be thinking about what hands they could have given all the action that has taken place.

Some simple examples:

In a tournament, you have a stack of 50bb and raise preflop to 2.5bb from the button. The BB who has 60bb calls. In this scenario, the BB's range should be very wide. They should be defending their BB for the extra 1.5bb with a very large amount of hands to an open raise from a fairly deep stacked player raising a presumably wide range from the button. So it will be hard to narrow down the hands without looking at future action.

In a 9 handed cash game, you are UTG and raise to 3bb on a stack of 200bb with pocket 9s. UTG+1 3 bets to 10bb and it folds back to you. In this scenario, both your ranges will be pretty tight as you both raised knowing there was still the entire table left to act. You can probably narrow down the UTG+1 range to TT+ and AK, MAYBE AQs.

Now there are some super tight players that only 3 bet preflop with QQ+ and AK. And sometimes you can narrow down that a person made a backdoor flush by looking at the distribution of suits on the flop and figuring out that they must have called on the flop with a pair and went runner runner for the flush.

It just takes repetition and practice.
 
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Senzrock

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I'm relatively new to poker and i've been playing at the casino and home games a fair amount.

I've studied the pre-flop charts and have a rudimentary understanding of how to play post flop.

I often see highly skilled players call out the opponent's hand and be very accurate on their guess. How do you develop the skill of putting players on specific hands? I'm sure there is a lot of pattern recognition in home games, however, i'm still very poor at putting players on specific cards.

How do you develop the skill of putting players on specific hands?
My advice to you: when you are new to anything (poker included), you unfortunately can’t skip any steps. Hand reading is one of the hardest, if not the hardest skill in poker (even understanding what a range really is and how to break down ranges is incredibly challenging). If I were you, I would not focus on this at this specific time. The advice you get will confuse you, because you are not ready to integrate it into your game yet. That’s not a slight to you, you just need tens of thousands of hands under your belt before you are able to refine this skill in a serious way. I would tell you to just get volume in (live and online) and get more comfortable with different spots. Recognize when people are stronger vs weaker, on what kind of boards you see players putting lots of money in etc. When you are feeling more comfortable, do some study - “Playing Optimal Poker” by Andrew Brokos is a good recent title to look up.
 

Legend5555

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My advice to you: when you are new to anything (poker included), you unfortunately can’t skip any steps. Hand reading is one of the hardest, if not the hardest skill in poker (even understanding what a range really is and how to break down ranges is incredibly challenging). If I were you, I would not focus on this at this specific time. The advice you get will confuse you, because you are not ready to integrate it into your game yet. That’s not a slight to you, you just need tens of thousands of hands under your belt before you are able to refine this skill in a serious way. I would tell you to just get volume in (live and online) and get more comfortable with different spots. Recognize when people are stronger vs weaker, on what kind of boards you see players putting lots of money in etc. When you are feeling more comfortable, do some study - “Playing Optimal Poker” by Andrew Brokos is a good recent title to look up.
More succinct way to make my point.
 

DeusEx

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I'm relatively new to poker and i've been playing at the casino and home games a fair amount.

I've studied the pre-flop charts and have a rudimentary understanding of how to play post flop.

I often see highly skilled players call out the opponent's hand and be very accurate on their guess. How do you develop the skill of putting players on specific hands? I'm sure there is a lot of pattern recognition in home games, however, i'm still very poor at putting players on specific cards.

How do you develop the skill of putting players on specific hands?

As you are new, you need some trolling, here allow me to help.

When you say new to poker, you seem to presuppose everyone plays the same game, not everyone plays games that have training wheels. As to not make an ass out of you and me, what game might you be talking about? No-Limit Texas Hold'em? - I'm just pointing out there are better and more games to poker ;) than hold'em.

Welcome to the forums, and welcome to poker. Its a ride, enjoy your journey!
We've made a post that is focused on new members from a chip perspective. New Members Start Here

If you want a more challenging game check out Omaha, its the darkside, and yes, we have cookies. Real Degens play Scarney!

Pertaining to your question specifically, it takes time, but it also takes the ability to think through each action up until current action of the hand, and how they bet, along with body language, and all possible hands, an insight as to how they play, intelligence / IQ, and if they can light money on fire or not (and I mean literally)
 
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Eriks

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My advice to you: when you are new to anything (poker included), you unfortunately can’t skip any steps. Hand reading is one of the hardest, if not the hardest skill in poker (even understanding what a range really is and how to break down ranges is incredibly challenging). If I were you, I would not focus on this at this specific time. The advice you get will confuse you, because you are not ready to integrate it into your game yet. That’s not a slight to you, you just need tens of thousands of hands under your belt before you are able to refine this skill in a serious way. I would tell you to just get volume in (live and online) and get more comfortable with different spots. Recognize when people are stronger vs weaker, on what kind of boards you see players putting lots of money in etc. When you are feeling more comfortable, do some study - “Playing Optimal Poker” by Andrew Brokos is a good recent title to look up.
So much this! I remember when I first started out in 2004. NL50 was the smallest game available online. Most people sucked, I definitely sucked. I actually recall one hand where I by some logic took K2 offsuit postflop (vs too much pre-flop heat) flopped K22 and stacked an AK. I remember thinking I was so good at this and I was calculating how much money I could make if I kept this up.

Then I read a book or two and watched a bunch of WPT and started raising A5o on AKQ-boards ”for information”. And slowly but surely I gained a little experience and started to understand some concepts here and there. But there was a loooong way before I would have been susceptible to any kind of ”range talk”. Just let it take time, play and have fun!
 
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Rhodeman77

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One of my local players wrote a book that is referenced at least once every game. It has 2 chapters,

Chapter 1: Put them on AK.

Chapter 2: Act accordingly


I think there should be a third chapter: Rake in all the money.
 

ekricket

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One of my local players wrote a book that is referenced at least once every game. It has 2 chapters,

Chapter 1: Put them on AK.

Chapter 2: Act accordingly


I think there should be a third chapter: Rake in all the money.
Sometimes I think NL should be renamed to “I bet you don’t have an ace” or something like that
 

boltonguy

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Ed Miller has a book on hand reading, "How to Read Hands at No Limit Holdem" which is a good overview of identifying a starting range for your opponent and then trimming that range based on specific actions made by your opponent preflop and on flop, turn & river. It is a good place to start.
 

ImCrossland

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My advice to you: when you are new to anything (poker included), you unfortunately can’t skip any steps. Hand reading is one of the hardest, if not the hardest skill in poker (even understanding what a range really is and how to break down ranges is incredibly challenging). If I were you, I would not focus on this at this specific time. The advice you get will confuse you, because you are not ready to integrate it into your game yet. That’s not a slight to you, you just need tens of thousands of hands under your belt before you are able to refine this skill in a serious way. I would tell you to just get volume in (live and online) and get more comfortable with different spots. Recognize when people are stronger vs weaker, on what kind of boards you see players putting lots of money in etc. When you are feeling more comfortable, do some study - “Playing Optimal Poker” by Andrew Brokos is a good recent title to look up.
Then with all this said, it’s important to understand variance and the compounding effect individual decision-making has on a hand.

Example: 6 players left in a tournament with 4 guaranteed a min cash and advancing to Day 2. I am UTG with :qd::qs: (2nd big stack) and open raise all-in (mistake #1). UTG +1 is big stack by a relatively small margin.

He looks down at :js::5s: with an open-raise from 2nd big stack and 4 players left to act. He decides to call (Mistake #2).

Dealer goes all-in with ~40% of my total stack with :ad::ks:.

I made the mistake of opening all-in because I wanted to try and steal the hefty blinds from 2 relatively low stacked players while still having a premium hand just in case. The only player who could bust me was to my left and 4 others were acting after him, so I wrongly assumed he would simply fold and watch the show.

That mistake was compounded when top stack called with a hand that had horrible odds (16% chance) of beating me.

I would’ve been a slight favorite against AK and all things considered, I would do that again.

Moral of the story: I’m just a salty son of a bitch and haven’t played since. I’d wish my opponent knew more about ranges than me.

868D4D71-53BB-4F99-831C-61ADD524A35B.jpeg
 

Eriks

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Then with all this said, it’s important to understand variance and the compounding effect individual decision-making has on a hand.

Example: 6 players left in a tournament with 4 guaranteed a min cash and advancing to Day 2. I am UTG with :qd::qs: (2nd big stack) and open raise all-in (mistake #1). UTG +1 is big stack by a relatively small margin.

He looks down at :js::5s: with an open-raise from 2nd big stack and 4 players left to act. He decides to call (Mistake #2).

Dealer goes all-in with ~40% of my total stack with :ad::ks:.

I made the mistake of opening all-in because I wanted to try and steal the hefty blinds from 2 relatively low stacked players while still having a premium hand just in case. The only player who could bust me was to my left and 4 others were acting after him, so I wrongly assumed he would simply fold and watch the show.

That mistake was compounded when top stack called with a hand that had horrible odds (16% chance) of beating me.

I would’ve been a slight favorite against AK and all things considered, I would do that again.

Moral of the story: I’m just a salty son of a bitch and haven’t played since. I’d wish my opponent knew more about ranges than me.

View attachment 888564
Obvious outcome, of course lady luck rewards such expert gambling :D
 

ChipFinderSK

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One of my local players wrote a book that is referenced at least once every game. It has 2 chapters,

Chapter 1: Put them on AK.

Chapter 2: Act accordingly


I think there should be a third chapter: Rake in all the money.
I like to go with: if anyone calls my bet on the flop, I’m automatically putting them on a flush draw.
 

TheDogg

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It's actually not an that common you can put a player on a specific hand. More often you can put them in a range of hands, and that range can get pretty narrow. However, against weaker competition, it can become easier to make that range down so much, that there may only be 1-3 hands they can have.

After every street, you should be thinking about what hands they could have given all the action that has taken place.

Some simple examples:

In a tournament, you have a stack of 50bb and raise preflop to 2.5bb from the button. The BB who has 60bb calls. In this scenario, the BB's range should be very wide. They should be defending their BB for the extra 1.5bb with a very large amount of hands to an open raise from a fairly deep stacked player raising a presumably wide range from the button. So it will be hard to narrow down the hands without looking at future action.

In a 9 handed cash game, you are UTG and raise to 3bb on a stack of 200bb with pocket 9s. UTG+1 3 bets to 10bb and it folds back to you. In this scenario, both your ranges will be pretty tight as you both raised knowing there was still the entire table left to act. You can probably narrow down the UTG+1 range to TT+ and AK, MAYBE AQs.

Now there are some super tight players that only 3 bet preflop with QQ+ and AK. And sometimes you can narrow down that a person made a backdoor flush by looking at the distribution of suits on the flop and figuring out that they must have called on the flop with a pair and went runner runner for the flush.

It just takes repetition and practice.
This is really good summary.

Also good players aren’t right a lot of the time. If you’re right 1/5 of the time, people will remember that 1/5.

Two more factors I want to add are reads and removal.

For reads, say you see a player really likes to play Kx hands at a ratio they absolutely should not have them. It’s going to be a lot easier to put them on a king in a hand later with them, especially if they take a line where a King is appropriate. Example is on an A - K - something board you can bet for thinner value with your weak Aces. Once you get into cold calling ranges and stuff as well you can start building fairly tight ranges for players in certain positions. An example might be if some one cold calls a raise or limps, a lot of the time they have a pair 8 or lower or suited connectors, which is fairly tight.

For removal, you know your opponent cannot have the cards in your hand. Lets say you have As Kc on a Ks Js 8c board against our friend who really likes Q8, Q9, J8, J9, J7, suited gapper type hands, and only raises with premium draws and two pair and better. You bet, and he raises. You know they are less likely to have a King because you have one in your hand, and you know they are a lot less likely to be bluffing with a flush draw because your Ace of Spades removes many of the flush draws, and especially the best ones. You then fold and call out that your friend has a dumb J8s he called from the button for some dumb reason, even though they could have JJ, 88, T9s, Qs8s, etc. as well, you will be right 1/5 of the time and people will be impressed.
 

TheDogg

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This is really good summary.

Also good players aren’t right a lot of the time. If you’re right 1/5 of the time, people will remember that 1/5.

Two more factors I want to add are reads and removal.

For reads, say you see a player really likes to play Kx hands at a ratio they absolutely should not have them. It’s going to be a lot easier to put them on a king in a hand later with them, especially if they take a line where a King is appropriate. Example is on an A - K - something board you can bet for thinner value with your weak Aces. Once you get into cold calling ranges and stuff as well you can start building fairly tight ranges for players in certain positions. An example might be if some one cold calls a raise or limps, a lot of the time they have a pair 8 or lower or suited connectors, which is fairly tight.

For removal, you know your opponent cannot have the cards in your hand. Lets say you have As Kc on a Ks Js 8c board against our friend who really likes Q8, Q9, J8, J9, J7, suited gapper type hands, and only raises with premium draws and two pair and better. You bet, and he raises. You know they are less likely to have a King because you have one in your hand, and you know they are a lot less likely to be bluffing with a flush draw because your Ace of Spades removes many of the flush draws, and especially the best ones. You then fold and call out that your friend has a dumb J8s he called from the button for some dumb reason, even though they could have JJ, 88, T9s, Qs8s, etc. as well, you will be right 1/5 of the time and people will be impressed. How did you know that he likely doesn’t have a flush draw? The people at the table think you have a really good read, but really you just know that you have the best flush drawing card in your hand already.
 
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