How to Read Your Opponents in Poker

Poker is a card game in which players place chips into the pot in order to win. Players make their bets based on expected value, psychology, and game theory. While luck plays a large part in the outcome of each hand, the decisions made by the players can have a significant impact on their long-term profits.

A player who says “call” means that they want to call the amount of money that the person in front of them has put into the pot. If a player wants to raise the bet they say “raise.” They can also choose to “drop” (“fold”) their cards and leave the pot without placing any chips in it at all.

Top players will often fast-play their strong hands in an effort to build the pot and chase off other players who may be waiting for a draw to beat them. This is a strategy that beginners need to learn to implement as well.

Being able to read your opponents is a crucial skill in poker. While there are plenty of books out there that teach people how to read body language and other tells, the ability to read an opponent in a poker game is more specific. In poker, reading your opponent involves observing their mood shifts and the way they handle their cards and chips. It is also important to note how quickly they make their decisions. This information can help you identify any bluffs that your opponent may be trying to run.