There is an age-old adage that says everything you need to know about a person can be found in their eyes. For the most part, it’s not really true. But in the world of live poker, it really is all about the eyes.
I discovered long ago that just watching the eyes of your opponent, especially on the flop, you can learn a lot of information.
Eye Before the Flop
When an opponent first looks at their hole cards, you may see the eyes widen, or the eyebrows raise, ever so slightly. This translates to the player being rather thrilled with his or her holdings. Pocket Aces, A-K suited or A-K off-suit are likely.
Eyes On the Flop
Always watch their eyes when the first three cards hit the board. Some players have actually been known to roll their eyes when the flop comes down with an Ace. It’s a very clear sign that the player’s Kings, or some other high pocket pair, were just potentially beaten by whoever may have paired the Ace.
You might even notice some players becoming downright gleeful after the Flop. It only lasts for a very brief moment as they suddenly remember where they are! But it is easily detected by anyone paying just a little attention to a players eyes. Take note of what just flopped and see if you can figure out how it improved their hand. Just assume they have the nuts at this point and you’ll be pretty close, if not dead on.
Take note of any player who takes a second look at his hole cards. It is the sign of a very weak poker player who cannot remember what he was dealt, but it does happen. If the Flop was 3-card suited, his hand is off-suit and he’s looking to see if he has one of the Flopped suit. If there are two suited cards on the board, his hole cards are suited and he’s double-checking to see if he’s hit a Flush Draw.
Eyeing the Pros
Watching a player’s eyes may not be quite as effective against professional or highly experienced poker players, as they’ve trained themselves to be brick walls that do not react visibly to any situation in a poker game. That should tell you something very important right there. What’s the lesson here, boys and girls? Mirror the pros and never let yourself react to any situation in an observable manner.
On a final note, there’s one rather neat experience you may come across when playing a veteran. This occurs when you attempt to read a player’s eyes and find your opponent looking back into your own eyes. This momentary meeting of the eyes causes two things to happen. First, you realize just how attentive this opponent is, so you can assume he’s playing a better game than some complete noob. Second, he gains a much higher respect for you, probably giving you more credit than you really deserve. The benefit here is that he’ll almost always fold when you raise.