It is usually very difficult for players to start playing online poker, as they feel uncomfortable with the idea that all their opponents are anonymous. It is hard to perceive the nicknames with chips on the screen as live people with their own strategy. You may think how you should know the way how to play with the players you have never played with before.
Anonymity of opponents appears to be a great problem for many players, as it impedes them to build their play tactics basing on playing styles of the other players. As a result it is almost impossible to win without being able to play the opponent.
Do not think there is no way out of this situation. Actually, there is. To begin with, take a pen and a piece of paper. Draw a table with the players’ names around it. Then, as the game is developing, make notes on how your opponents are playing.
Pay special attention to the way how your opponents take their pre-flop decisions, which are often the distinguishing feature of a player’s particular style. Note how many times they call and raise; whether they flat-call raises or commonly re-raise when they enter a pot after a pre-flop raiser; what their attitude to the position they’re in.
Such a step in discovering other players’ techniques will help you to find out about the number of hands your opponent plays and the way (aggressive or passive) he handles these hands.
If you want to play winning poker as online player you should be able to recognize certain types of players and adjust your strategy accordingly.
Playing Weak and Strong Players
First of all, take into account the level of a player in poker. For instance, it is pointless to bluff a person who does not understand what you are doing. Unfortunately, there are many skilful players who invent complex tactic moves without any success against substandard players.
The best way to play against weak opponents is to play straightforward and avoid making subtle moves. As weak players like to call, you may use this to your advantage.
You should bet and raise with strong hands and fold if you’re behind. If you want to mix up your play in order to be unpredictable, this just won’t work with weak players. They may even ignore your play, as they need to think of their own hands and the way to handle them.
Of course this advice does not refer to the play against strong players, where you have to mix up your game. These players understand your complex moves pretty well. If you want to do the obvious play, you’d better also use such instruments like bluff, semibluff, slow-play, overbet, etc. so that it did not look like that.
You may risk playing with a player who also has the bluff in his own arsenal, as he may suspect you bluffing. But there is always a possibility that you really have a hand and he’ll believe that.
All your false stories must always sound convincing against a strong opponent.
Playing Calling Stations
It’s just a great joy to play against loose/passive players. They play many starting hands, draws when the odds are against them and choose calling as opposed to betting and raising.
It is important to use a corresponding strategy when you are playing against this type of players. Similar to the story with weak players, some the so-called good players try to outplay them by exercising extraordinary moves and often find themselves with nothing. What’s the point to show off in front of the calling stations if they just don’t understand your message?
A calling station speaks the truth in the most cases. He will call you if he has something like a draw or a kind of hand. Moreover he will be likely to call you whatever you do, which means that you must always be ready and have a hand which would win in a showdown. If you don’t have it, it is better to get out.
However, if your opponent checks on the flop and the turn, bet no matter what you hold.
On occasion you may have a feeling that you know about the holdings of your opponent, e.g. top pair or weak kicker. In this case if a player is good enough, you suppose him to fold if you made a large bet or raise. Even if everything seems obvious, you’d better refrain from making a move. Never overestimate your opponent.
If your opponent appears weaker than you think he is likely to call. That is not a pleasant feeling to understand that you have been outplayed by a fish player.
As you can see, it is crucial to learn how to get a read on your online opponents. The time you spend taking notes with pencil and paper will result in turning into invaluable skills which are characteristic to a winning poker player.