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Knowing how the 4 levels of thinking in poker works may not help us play better, however, there is an advantage to be found in the attempt to simplify how we categorize our opponents’ thought processes. This way, we might be able to maximize our profit against them. Our main goal in poker should be to increase our earnings on every hand. The aim is to create lucrative circumstances while avoiding unprofitable ones. Any knowledge we obtain can help us understand our opponents better and so enhance our judgments against them. With practice and research, you will discover patterns in the hints that may be utilized to categorize opponents. The common notion of levels of thinking in poker is as follows.


Level 0: No strategy.

These are newbies. They don’t know what they’re doing, let alone what others are doing. In other words, they are playing this game in a fully self-engrossed manner. Players with this level of thinking only grasp hand rankings and basic strategy. They are aware that other players have cards but have no idea what they are. If a level 1 player hits the board, they will wager or call; if they miss, they will fold unless they have a poor draw or something. If you think huge partnerships should never lose, this is the player for you.

Level 1: Observe and report

A level one player considers an opponent’s cards and possible moves based on pre-flop actions and board textures. At the micros, the great majority of frequent players fall into this category. This is also the lowest level where you may earn money in the game. However, without some significant table selection, this technique will certainly lose money over a lifetime.

Level 2: Evaluation of cards

A lot of gamers on this level are pretentious and take themselves too seriously. Their scorn for the “common player” is often visible. To be fair, most good gamers play on level three. They evaluate their opponents’ ranges as well as our own. They utilize lines to indicate ranges to bluff weak hands and gain value from strong ones.

Level 3: Strategic thinking

Making meaningful use of the data obtained from observation and evaluation helps to establish how a player on an acceptable level thinks about the game. Level 3 players will ask themselves:  ‘What cards does my opponent believe I have?’ and ‘Can my opponent guess my cards?’ For the most part, level 3 is all someone needs to outsmart the rest of the world.

Level 4: Enlightenment

If you’ve reached this level, you’re in the big leagues now. It is easier said than done when players try to identify the opponent’s thought processes at this level, this is due to the fact that level 4 players are enlightened to the concept of protecting their image. In a poker game, the image might be the key in portraying what you want your opponents to think of you. It’s not only about what their opponents believe they’re doing. This level’s players nearly never have enough knowledge. Level 4 players operate at a large amount of experience in the game. Today’s winners all play at this level.


Before learning how to abuse certain individuals, it is helpful to recognize that there are many levels of thinking about the game. It all boils down to a player’s thoughts throughout a hand. The greater a player’s mental process and awareness of what others are doing, the higher their thinking level. After learning the fundamentals of poker, the goal is to make money. Your strategy must exploit the other player’s flaws, only then you will reach Level 4 in poker.

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Fred Bennett