This free information is a valuable asset for the observant player. I’m not a huge fan of shades at the poker table, but they are not without their uses. The big international tournaments can play 12-hour days for up to a week and I’ve yet to meet a player who can relentlessly focus for 100 per cent of that time. Sunglasses and iPods afford you the opportunity to sit back a little and tune everybody out.



Both of these extremes can be exploited, you just need to be aware of how you look to your opponents. It always pays to keep a close eye on your opponents: have they been losing or winning; are they here to gamble it up and have a good time, or are they frozen like a rabbit in the headlights? All this information is out there and by piecing it together you can start to get an indication as to everybody’s mindset.



Being aware of how you are perceived at the table should be central to your game plan. After all, if you’ve sat there, granite-like, for the past two hours, you may find that you struggle to get any action when you do eventually wake up with a hand. The flip side is that if you’ve been playing a very open and imaginative game you may find it harder to get a bluff through, as players are more likely to look you up.