Poker is not a single-player game. To be successful, you can’t think only about yourself and what you are doing.
Reading your opponents is a vital part of winning the pot. What is their body language?
Are they just getting through the hand to get to the next deal? Do they have any poker tells?
What Is A Poker Tell?
In the context of poker, a “tell” refers to any unconscious or subconscious behaviour or action displayed by a player that may give away information about the strength or weakness of their hand.
It can be a physical, verbal, or psychological cue that provides insights into a player’s thought process, intentions, or emotions.
That sounds pretty heavy because a tell is basically a clue your opponent gives you.
For example, a player might blink more often when they have a strong hand or appear nervous when they’re bluffing.
Poker tells can vary greatly from player to player, as everyone has their own unique tendencies and behaviours.
But what if you cannot see your opponent?
So many of us now play poker online, and reading your opponent is far more difficult. But that does not mean their online poker tells are not still there!
If you want to improve your online poker game, you need to learn a few things.
Online Poker Tells
When playing online poker, the absence of physical presence makes it challenging to see traditional physical tells.
However, there are still some indicators or online poker tells that players can look for.
Casinos are open 24/7 for poker action and many online poker platforms have automated features where players can pre-select their actions.
Pay attention to any deviation from a player’s usual auto-action choices.
It may signal a decision that requires more thought, such as a strong hand.
Pay attention to the size of bets. A sudden increase in bet size can indicate strength, while small, quick bets might suggest weakness. Or they are trying to get to the showdown cheaply.
It could actually be the case that they are looking to complete their hand.
And they want a cheap or free card to see if they can make a decent hand to continue the game.
Timing of Actions
The speed at which a player makes decisions can be telling. A quick check or call may imply a weak hand, while a longer delay followed by a raise might indicate a strong hand.
However, if a bet follows a long pause, then you should be wary. With money at stake they are probably trying to psych you out.
In many cases, you will find that they have a pretty decent hand and are trying to sow the seeds of scepticism in your mind.
When the river comes, and your opponent quickly raises, they probably do have a good hand.
It is unlikely that they will bet mindlessly when they are bluffing so be aware of the strength of your own cards.
So the timing of how your opponents react at the table can tell a lot.
Chat Box Behaviour
Some online poker rooms provide a chat feature. While it’s not recommended to let yourself get distracted, plenty of players do use the chat box.
If a chatty Cathy suddenly becomes more talkative or goes silent, it could be a sign of excitement or disappointment related to their hand.
When a player consistently lets their allotted time for making decisions expire, it may suggest they are facing a tough decision or trying to appear indecisive intentionally.
It could also mean that they are not paying attention to the game and frequently away from their computer or screen.
IF that happens, it’s easy to bluff as they haven’t been watching the other players as closely as they should.
Quick Calls or Raises
If a player rapidly calls or raises, it could indicate a strong hand. It’s possible they have been waiting for a specific situation and are ready to pounce.
Online players often play on multiple tables simultaneously.
If a player suddenly slows down or becomes less active on certain tables, it might imply they have a strong hand on another table and are focusing on that one.
Take note of the size of bets made. Consistent bet sizes, especially when they deviate from the norm, can provide insights into a player’s hand strength.
If players bet strange amounts, this can often be to distract the others.
For example, betting £5.63 can confuse players. While they are thinking about the odd amount, the bettor has disguised a potentially good hand.
Likewise with over-bets. This is where somebody bets a ridiculously large amount compared to other hands.
They either have the best hand ever or complete garbage.
If you’ve seen them try this play before, you’ll have a better idea if they are bluffing.
Little bets on the turn are also a good indication of the hand your opponent is holding. They usually indicate a weak pair or draw.
They are basically tentatively staying in the game to see if they can make a better hand. Continue to raise, and you could force them out of the hand and win the pot.
Use of Time Bank
Online poker rooms often have a time bank feature, allowing players extra time for critical decisions.
If a player frequently exhausts their time bank, it may indicate they are facing a tough choice.
How Accurate Are Poker Tells?
Online poker tells are not foolproof, and players can deliberately use strategies to mislead opponents.
It’s essential to consider these tells alongside other factors, such as a player’s overall style of play, previous actions, and the specific dynamics of the game.
These are all subjective online poker tells that you should keep in mind while you are playing, not necessarily a strict guidelines.
There will always be varying factors, but if you keep them in mind, you won’t go far wrong.