Common Mistakes Poker Players Make When Studying Their Opponents

How To Avoid Making The Wrong Judgements

In a poker game, the senses of good poker players are heightened and their minds start racing to attempt to get any information out of the body language of their opponents. The details that can be obtained out of pure observation can range from their playstyle or even the type of cards they have. While players won’t be able to get all the information they are looking for, incomplete information is also good enough for you to conduct an assessment. If you are playing online, new ACR players should use this promo code.

In a game of poker, you have to try to gain an edge on the table. Yet, there will be scenarios where you just have to go with your gut feeling and hope you’re right. Being aware of the potential pitfalls in a poker game, however, reduces your chances of losing in a poker game.

  1. Trusting The Opinion of Others

If you have played in a cash game of poker, you’ve probably asked your peers for information on your opponent such as their play style. You should be doing this as it’s an amazing way to give yourself an advantage even before you draw your first hand. However, you need to be careful of who you’re talking to and seeking information from and their specific tendencies.

Mediocre players might have different opinions from experienced ones, which might lead to a different set of analyses. Amateur players might immediately label players as ‘fish’ when they don’t understand their play style or personally disagree with their game moves. Without saying, emotional players will also have different analyses that can be detrimental if you choose to trust them. If an emotional player feeds you information that your opponent tends to lie quite often because he or she got bluffed that one round, you’re going to be losing a lot of unnecessary money from the encouragement of making way too light of calls and raises.

Fundamentally, you want to make sure that the person you’re getting your private information from is a good player that draws the correct conclusions from managing his or her emotions and having a high understanding of poker concepts.

  1. Overvaluing Their Appearances

Many of us fall prey to the seemingly innocent stereotypes of players. Not all young European kids are aggressive players and similarly, not all older ladies with the attire that resembles a tourist are tight and recreational. While it’s not exactly wrong to judge someone based on their appearance, there’s a very strong possibility of finding yourself with incorrect information. When you have absolutely no other information to help you, this may be beneficial. But ultimately, generalizations shouldn’t hold too much weight in your analysis of your opponent.

  1. Analyzing Too Small of a Sample Size

One of the most common pitfalls players encounter is making conclusions from just one or two games. Imagine sitting down at a table and seeing your opponent bluffing his first hand. For the rest of the time there, he never bluffs again, but everyone labels him as a “bluffing maniac.” Drawing solid conclusions from too few games is a cardinal sin in the world of poker. If that same player does bluff quite often for an hour, then it should be okay to draw conclusions about his playstyle.

Yet, in a tough decision and limited information you might be pressured to use these few observations to help you play. However, it should be avoided as much as possible as one-off games won’t be able to help you predict much and might even land you in danger. Start looking out for trends and always keep a lookout for hands that approve or disprove your hypothesis of their gameplay style. You don’t want to suffer from confirmation biases of a small sample size.

  1. Analyzing Too Few Tournament Results

Similarly, it’s also a bad idea to analyze too few tournament results. There are many online poker websites that do track tournament results today. However, these websites often only track a player’s wins and not really their losses. This can contribute to you fixating on an inaccurate representation of how good a player is. They might have a huge chunk of winnings but a bigger chunk is contributed back to other players in tournaments.

Another way of seeing things is seeing things from a time perspective. They might have had a hot run of having big winnings for a short time period but suddenly start losing terribly. After a while, a player’s true skill level will be shown. Always take a look at the big picture and ensuring the information and analysis you have is of a large enough sample size. Having a few wins doesn’t automatically make someone an amazing player. They could actually just be an amateur player who had a stroke of good luck with some great cards. 

One great tip you can follow is watching their actual gameplay or listening to the analysis of reliable friends before making your conclusions. Short-term results aren’t completely worthless but require careful examinations with a lot more reservations towards drawing conclusions.

  1. Overvaluing What They Say

Lastly, the media tend to over-exaggerate the results of players. Some players are big on bragging about their achievements, but making sure that what they say is accurate is more important. You don’t want to lose out on a game just because new players are overselling themselves but actually don’t have any idea of what they are saying. Some players often undersell themselves as well by responding to criticisms with “I don’t really know why I did that” to brand themselves as unskilled. But at the same time, it’s a good cover-up as they break away from oversharing or teaching them to be better and masking their competencies in the game. After that, these cunning players are then able to teach their opponents a different lesson for underestimating them.


When you’re faced with tough games and have limited information, utilize your observations and the information you are given. However, try to ensure your decisions and analysis are really based on trends and not just an observation of a specific game. Train your mind to look out for what’s essential and you’ll be on the right track to be a winning player in the game.

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