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Poker Decoded: Understanding Betting Patterns

Poker, as you know, is a game of strategy and observation. Whether live or online, the card game always has some common poker tells and betting strategies. Now, I’m not saying they’re always foolproof, but you can always have a handy guide after reading this blog.

Following are a few shortcut ways to some common betting patterns for a beginner to intermediate poker player, especially in Texas Hold’Em.

It can be a task at poker tables to observe players all the time, and that too, at the same time. This will be a skill that you will develop over time. First and foremost, look for the players closest to you:

  • The two players to the left: which act after you
  • The player to the right of you- who acts before you.
  • Then spread your observation skills to other players.

Betting patterns in poker lingo are the common patterns we observe in our opponent’s actions which helps us identify their betting system and individual patterns.

So you should be watching out for:

  • What kind of hands are they raising?
  • How often are they slow playing hands?
  • How frequently are they bluffing?
  • What type of bet sizing do the players have?
  • What kind of hands do they play?- marginal hands, a weak hand, a strong hand, or a big hand?
limpers in online poker
Limping in Online Poker

Common Betting Patterns

Next time at a poker table, look out for these signs:

The number of hands they play

By noting the number of hands will give you a fair idea about the kind of starting hands, they want to play. Someone who has a lot of hands cannot have premium hands each time, which shows the opponents wish to enter a pot with marginal hands. You can also notice that a player who plays a few hands will be waiting for big hands if you’re paying attention.

What hands do they show?

Try to remember whether your opponents played with a strong hand, or played aggressive with a weak hand, or did they slow play with a monster hand? If you have the chance to see their hands in the showdown, you will definitely have a lot of information in the overall game.

Check Raising

One of the most common betting patterns in poker games is check-raising. If players check-raises on the turn, then bet on the river; this indicates that they have a pretty good hand. These players quietly call the flop, sneak in a check-raise on the turn, then they bet again, and anyone who’s been foolish enough to call experiences the opposite outcome.

When you see the check-raise at the turn, fold unless:

  • A premium (monster) hand
  • A draw to a better hand than the other player has been holding

Aggressive before and after the flop

This is a considerable betting pattern once you can observe and identify precisely what sort of hand the opponent has. Some players are aggressive before the flop and will be aggressive again after the flop with a continuation bet, but then if they get called, they will fade off and not bet on the turn.

Your opponent has a good hand if he plays aggressively and then bets on the turn. If the aggressive player does not bet, take that pot for the win.

Same bet size on the turn as the flop

Players often show a sign of weakness when they do not increase the bet size. They feel like they should have small value bets but are afraid to do so. The thought process is that the hand is a middle pair or top pair with a weak kicker. Without a second thought, raise this bet, and take the money!

Min bet, min bet, big river bet

Not seen in online poker as much as seen live. This is a common betting pattern of someone with a hand the players don’t want to see the flop. This is most common with premium hands like JJ or AK or can also be in the range of TT, QQ, AQ, and AA.

Betting Patterns
Betting Patterns

Pre-flop raise of an opponent who usually limps or raises less

This betting pattern often happens in limped pots when a draw on board doesn’t hit. Players will bet the minimum as a semi-bluff on two streets, and then when they miss their draw, they decide to bet big to get their opponents to fold.

Always checking the river

A prevalent betting line in Texas Hold’Em is constantly checking the river. Players have called the flop, found a pretty good hand, so they bet the flop and the turn. If the river didn’t bring anything outstanding, he would wait, and check if someone else had something better.

When you have an opponent do this, take this chance of bluffing them!

Folding on the flop

If you see players bet or raise before the flop, only to fold when they see the cards, you can tell they’re cautious players. This is the kind of person who gets starting cards worth betting on, like a pair of jacks or an ace-king but steps back if the flop threatens it in some way. Next time you notice a player sees a flop and bets, you can assume they have a hand. Decide whether yours is strong enough to go up against it. Try putting in a small bet. Your opponent will have missed the flop most of the time, so they’ll usually fold.

In Conclusion

These are the common betting patterns that you can observe while playing poker. Every poker game brings new experiences and new betting patterns to learn, be it online or live. To understand the world of poker, try out MPL Poker.

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