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Getting the Better of your Online Opponent

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Whatever your game, playing online takes practice and perseverance to get the better of the other players. Youngsters will more often than not learn the physical moves a bit quicker, but there is no reason that older players can’t work it out and be just as effective in competition. Being competitive is what playing these games is all about and if you don’t know how to improve your play, then the games will lose your interest very quickly. It doesn’t matter whether you want to play at the highest level or just against your mates, winning is why we play games.

However, whether it be the first-person shooter (FPS) games like Halo or online poker, without any help, it can take a long time to master the tricks of the trade. But, there are tips which can help you speed up your improvement. Below we’ve outlined a short list of hints and tricks that should help anyone wanting to get better at winning.

Starting the Game

If you’re a complete newbie to online FPS game-playing then, first of all, familiarise yourself with the controls. Only a few years ago, controls were easy to master…there were only one or two buttons. Today’s controllers have a multitude of buttons (up to ten!), and some of them are multifunctional in some games. So, firstly work out what they all do and learn the mix combinations. It’s worth remembering that there are quite a few variations on a game controller as well – the Sony’s PlayStation Dualshock 4, the Microsoft Xbox One Controller, the Razer Sabretooth, the Logitech. They might all look similar but they all their devotees who revel in the minor differences. Whatever your tool, learn to use it like it was part of you. Only practice will do.

Learn the Easy Way

Whatever game you want to play competitively, always start on the easiest difficulty. With first-person shooter games, this will mean that everything will be slower and you’ll get to see and learn the mechanics of the game. Practice hard until you’re comfortable before moving to the intermediate and then harder difficulties. There is no rush and if you haven’t mastered one element, then keep practising it before you move on. Many youtubers share short clips of their gameplay on TikTok nowadays as a marketing strategy for their brand to help their community and attract new followers for all their latest gaming activity.

If online poker is your chosen game, then it is important that you start at the low-stakes tables. There are two very good reasons; firstly, you’re not going to be taken for lots of money by the more experienced players on a high stakes table, and secondly, you’re more likely to be playing with other relative newbies who are learning the game like you. You’re all going to make mistakes, but at least the losses won’t be so high. Sites like 888poker have plenty of options for low-stakes entry to the game and will also give you tips on how to read the other players at the table when you can’t see them. There are more than you’d think and their guide is a particularly useful read.


The younger you are then it is likely that you’ll possess less of this valuable asset. As they say, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’. No one became an online sharpshooter overnight, and no one won the World Series of Poker without having spent many hours learning the game and exercising lots of patience. With FPS games, there is a lot to learn – work out the geography of the game, understand your weapons (rate of fire, distance etc.). With games like Battlefield and Call of Duty, knowing the lay of the land is vital if you’re ever going to be good at them. With poker, you’ll need to understand the timing of opponents moves and what they mean considering the state of play and how that opponent might have played before. Learn to recognise when an opponent is using the pre-action check or fold button. Learn how an opponents avatar name can give away his style of play or his age – which again can dictate the way he or she will play.

Learn Your Style

As with other sports, we’re all suited to a different style of play. Be it a flamboyant ‘out there’ style, or a cagey, ‘get the job done’ sort of character. Work out what suits you and what is the most successful way to win is. Once you’ve settled on it, stay with it. Jack of all trades rarely succeed, whereas masters of one, do. This doesn’t mean to say that you can’t alter your style depending on the opponent, but your strategy should remain the same.

Whatever, your style of play, learn top remain calm. Opponents will sense when you’re rattled because you’ll make uncharacteristic errors. A good player always knows how to exploit the opponent that has ‘lost it’!

Play the Game with your Opponent in the room

It sounds obvious but play your online games against as many of your friends as possible with them in the room. You’ll see how other players react to losing and you’ll learn to know what the signs are that they meet with stressful situations. If you’re only watching and not even playing, then you can learn even more. See if they have different tactics to you and whether you might learn from them

Likewise, with poker, you’ll see your opponents thinking out loud. Online players are used to venting their frustrations in private, but if you’re in the room with them, they might not be able to hide them. Again, if you see that their plays change when they have lost a few hands, then you can exploit them.

Online opponents that you can’t see are no different from real-life opponents in the same room. The only differences are that you can’t actually see them and they could, in fact, be more experienced than you without you knowing. But, you won’t know this until the end. But forewarned is forearmed! There is no excuse for being underprepared for any opponent. The better player should win, but, with the help of a couple of the tips above you could just know enough to tip the balance. Do your homework, stay calm and learn to read your opponents. Good luck!

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