You do not need to be involved in the pot to observe what’s happening around the table. Follow closely how players decide on what to do with their cards and after a while you will be able to handle them better and gain a deeper understanding of what kinds of cards win in certain scenarios.
What makes a top poker player you ask. Is it their patience to wait for the best cards? Is it their ability to carry out an excellent bluff? The skills are a lot and may vary but among the best skills of the poker greats is how they can read hands. The skill of knowing what your opponent holds is a skill that has been learned and not just a gift from the heavens. Make most of the time while out of hand and observe your opponents:
Take note which hands they bet or raise. Some players will raise when they form a flush while some will just be happy to call. Will they bet after the flop when they have an Ace high or will they wait for a pair? Try to observe if they bluff a lot. Are they more aggressive when they play from the late position?
Position and starting hand
A lot of players play only the best of cards when they are early to act. Some players do not really care about their position and play any card. See how your opponents vary their play depending on position.
See who among your opponents love to bluff and see who does not use the art of bluffing.
See who are the calling stations as you can make most of certain situations to win some chips.
Notice who raises from the blinds and force to defend their blinds. See who among your opponents are more discrete playing from the blinds since they will only be playing their good cards.