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How many hands before you have a 'decent' read?

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  • How many hands before you have a 'decent' read?

    Hey guys. I was wondering how many hands roughly should you have on a villain before you would stop considering him 'unknown' and start understanding his style of play? I use Poker Co-Pilot and the numbers change from grey to red/yellow/green after about 20 hands but I'm guessing this wouldn't be a large enough sample to have a real read?

    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    As with most questions relating to poker this is one of those 'it depends' answers. Some players have very strange or ever changing styles and some players play practically face up. There are PSO members who I've played thousands of hands with and they still surprise me but there have been players who I've had a solid read on after the first flop I see them play.

    But I guess you're looking for a general average. I'd say maybe a few dozen hands which they are actually involved in usually enough to be fairly confident how someone plays. Preferably over more than just one session also helps.

    Tournament of Champions Winner 2013

    Bracelet Winner


    • #3
      Like Fadyen says - it depends.

      I think that if someone has a 80% VPIP and 0% PFR over 20 hands then that is enough to know that they are a loose passive player at that moment in time. At least until they show us something different on a few occasions.

      Where people have more legitimate (In my mind) stats ie. 23/17 over 20 hands I dont think this is enough to decide what style of player they are or how aggressive they are. It feasibly could just be that they have had good enough hands over those 20 hands to have those stats. Similarly for very low figures. If someone has nittish numbers then they really could have just been card dead over that short amount of hands.


      • #4
        For some players I can get useful reads from one hand. Just seeing someone limp UTG w 76s, and check-calling 3 streets with a gutshot that makes 3rd pair on the river is enough to add them to my fish list.

        In terms of stats, I've usually got an idea of the loose players and the tight players after 1 orbit of full ring (9-handed), but certainly after 2. While it's possible that a 15/12 TAG is only 5/5 after 20 or 30 hands, someone that has a VPIP of less than 15% after 20 hands is clearly not a loose passive station. Conversely, someone that has open-limped twice and called pre-flop raises twice in one orbit, clearly is a weak player whose numbers will never fit the TAG/nit stereotype.
        If I haven't colour-coded someone after 30 hands, then I'm not paying attention.
        Bracelet Winner


        • #5
          I agree.... it depends.

          Some players I'll have tagged in an orbit or less, some it takes longer. It depends on how often they showdown cards, how many hands they're involved in and what their bets are.

          This is one aspect, that I think is easier live than online too. When I'm playing live, I've normally got a decent read on everyone in about an orbit.

          John (JWK24)

          6 Time Bracelet Winner


          • #6
            Thanks a lot guys. I have started to pay more attention to what people are actually doing and tagging them in their first few rotations at the table then use stats when i have more hands on them.

            Thanks again.



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