How Can Watching Other People Play Improve Your Poker Skills

This has been a recurring question since the dawn of poker. There is no shortage of books and articles on the topic, and some of them make for fascinating reading, but they rarely point out the best way to improve the game. By observing other players, you will get a unique insight into different psychologies and strategies that they have honed over the years. By the end of this post, you will understand why it is so vital to take the time to watch other poker players improve your own abilities.

See How The Professionals Act

Whether you are playing tournament poker or just playing with friends, there is an unwritten rule that players should act in a manner that becomes the game. This is often enforced in tournament games, but it’s possible to realize how serious they can become, even if the stakes are no more than a few dollars when playing with friends. This is because poker is considered a game of skill and ability and should be treated with the respect it deserves. Therefore, by observing the pros at work, you will learn a little about how to act. The easiest way is to catch the highlights of the WSOP and see how the players hold themselves, how they bet and how they smack talk etc. You will rapidly discover a particular way of doing things that will help you to ultimately become a better player (regarding attitude rather than skill). While you might find some players acting in an unsavory manner, most will respect the game and act accordingly.

Learn Strategies

This is the most apparent benefit of watching the greats as they ply their trade! Strategy is a vital aspect of poker, and while the cards you receive are determined by lady luck, winning is most definitely not. To that end, you can choose to follow a few well-regarded players and watch how their strategies develop over time and see what they are doing to stay at the table. You will learn an extraordinary amount of strategies this way, and by combining what you have learned with online resources, you will eventually come up with your own style of play, built upon the shoulders of giants, as they say.

Understand Physiologies Of Different Types Of Players

Poker is as much a game of luck and skill as it is reading other people. There is a reason why some players go to extreme lengths to hide their eyes and faces, which is to stop other, more experienced players from attempting to read them. By watching how they analyze other players, you can gain a unique insight into reading tells, giveaways, etc. By becoming an accomplished reader of people, you will find yourself on the winning end of many hands.

You Will Learn When To Fold (An important Skill)

Folding is a crucial part of the play and can even act as a method to fool other players. Despite what you see on the surface, there are often significant reasons for folding (unless you genuinely have a terrible hand). Nevertheless, there are times when folding can keep you in the game, even if you have to lose your ante or be blind. You will see this by watching real games, and you will get a good understanding of which hands they are folding, and you can have some fun connecting the dots as to why they took this action.

Learn To Mimic Bluffing Actions

The act of bluffing is an essential part of every player’s repertoire. If you are unable to bluff effectively, you will never win against more experienced opponents. Nonetheless, it is actually a very challenging thing to learn how to do it correctly. You will give yourself away by being too eager but too discrete, and nobody will take the bait. If you watch the pros, you will develop a newfound respect for how bluffing is done correctly. Some players will use bluffing prodigiously, while others sparingly, but one thing you will come to realize is that everyone bluffs at one point or another.

It’s How Children Learn

Even if you discount the other points in this post, you will have to admit that this is how children learn. Children learn by watching what adults around them do. They learn to speak, copy how they see people act, imitate others’ behavior, and react to their surroundings by observing nuances. There is no doubt that learning by observation is one of the best ways to learn a new skill effectively.


By observing players as they play, you will gain a new understanding of the principles of the game, as well as greater respect for those who participate.