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Reading opponents and taking notes



The beauty of five card draw is in the multiple ways you can get a read on your opponents. Unlike Texas hold’em that only affords you a read on your opponents tells and how they bet, five card draw offers you all this plus the added benefit of watching your opponents draw! Here we will discuss some strategies and techniques you can use to get a better read on your opponents.

Study your opponents and keep notes

Before you can make solid conclusions about your opponents you will need to gather some information on them. Use the notes function at your online poker software to build a base of information about your opponents. Here are some initial things to look for, concerning weak opponents:

  • Look for opponents who draw one card and fold, these are usually poor players on the come.
  • Watch for opponents who showdown with a weak two pair, a good indicator of a weak player.
  • Watch for opponents who play or showdown low pairs, these will probably be the weakest opponents.
  • A time honored tell is to look for players low on money, most likely they are poor players and are running on hard times.

It is important to realize that although you will make your money from bad players in five card draw, there are some good players out there. Use these tips to help identify strong players:

  • A player who consistently turns over high pairs could be a skilled player. Use caution when they are in the pot
  • Players who raise a lot. Although these could be maniacs, they make the game harder to manage. Watch their play like a hawk to find out if they are truly skilled or just in it for the rush.
  • Players who raise and discard three cards are playing fundamental five card draw. They are most likely raising with premium pairs. Use this information and make your play accordingly.

Putting your opponent on a hand

Using your knowledge of the player’s habits, and their draw, it’s not too hard to get a pretty fair picture of what they hold. Usually weak players will make straightforward moves. If a fish draws one card and comes out raising, they probably made their hand, leave it alone and wait until they play poorly again. Weak opponents will also generally be weak when they don’t make their hand, or don’t improve their weak hand. Use this opportunity to steal the pot or punish them for their poor play.

A strong player is much trickier to play against and is the topic for a whole separate article, there are however a few things that will help you out:

  • A strong player who discards two could have a very strong three of a kind, be wary.
  • A strong player will usually play excellent two pair hands, make sure yours are just as excellent or better!
  • A strong player entering the pot could indicate a lower number of premium cards available to draw. This is why it is so important to enter the draw with an already strong hand.

By paying attention to your opponent’s showdown cards and by keeping notes, you can develop a wealth of knowledge on your opponents. This is critically important in five card draw and it will help you be a successful player. If you elect not to keep notes you are doing yourself a huge disservice and are leaving profit behind, it might even be the difference between winning and losing.

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