Explain The Term Soul Read In Poker
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Poker, a game of strategy, not only requires the skills and knowledge about the game, but also the capability to judge the action of the opponents and take decisions on them. This is because the actions of your opponents can turn a winning pot into a losing one. All of your strong strategies can be double crossed by just one bluff of your opponent.
Most of the professional players take their decisions according to their opponents’ decisions. There are many techniques by which players judge their opponents’ actions and “soul read” is one of them.
The meaning of soul read in poker is a decision (mostly an unexpected call) which is supposedly made because of a read that a player has on his opponent. It is a shocking play made by a player using their sixth sense or hunch rather than using any known logical poker strategy. Soul reads are completely non-mathematical decisions because they are made by looking into the opponent’s soul to get a read on what they are holding.
Most of the time, this term “soul read” is used when players lose a pot. The players use this term to cover their disappointment of losing when they make a big bluff and someone calls on them. However, 98% of the time, the soul read is a bad player making a bad call which happens to be right.
These hands are deeply alluring and very popular in some poker strategies. Players might get addicted to the high of making a soul read than taking the reward of the pot they win. Many players are so addicted to soul reads as they get great reads and make hero calls based on those reads.
Soul reading is not some mystical power acquired only by skilled players rather it is a mixture of simple poker strategies, some intuition and not more often, some dose of luck. Therefore, there are some healthy tips to enhance your soul reading abilities.
❏ Be Attentive: There is no better edge to be had at the poker table than attention. You must pay attention to every hand you are involved in to establish your opponent’s baseline. Being attentive is more important in live poker than online poker because there is no hand-history and you have to be the hand history.
❏ Time Management: You should learn to use your time wisely as it is different for live and online poker. In online poker, you have a very specific time for each hand and you are supposed to make your decision in that time only. So, if you do not fail to utilise that time, you lose that hand.
However, live poker has an advantage, as you are given abundant time to play a particular hand, and there is no real time limit. Therefore, you must try to squeeze as much value as you can out of that time.
❏ Evaluation: Here the progress for soul read actually begins. You are now supposed to observe what your opponent is trying to tell you and then, compare this observation to his actions. If it makes some sense, you are ready for a soul read. However, if the actions of your opponent are opposite of what you observed, he is trying to bluff and soul read would be a bad decision in that case.
❏ Analyse Your Intuition Too: Although players might have collected data points, strategies etc, the only thing which can take you towards success in a pressure-filled situation is your “intuition”. You have to examine your intuition first, before taking any decision in any kind of situation.
However, there are some factors which might lead you towards better soul reading, as not every soul reading can feed you what you wished to have. Unlike the mathematical strategies in poker, soul reading is just an intuitive method to make decisions.
Therefore, it is advised not to take vague decisions to re-examine any situation before trying to soul read and depending solely over it.
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