Picking up tells when playing online poker is more difficult than if you are playing in a casino. Mainly because you cannot physically see your opponent. However, that is not to say it is impossible to pick on on some tells that are there for all to see.
Poker Screen Names
Each and every player online has to select a screen name to represent them at tables. Most people will only notice bizarre or funny names being displayed. But take a few minutes to read each name when you sit down to play your session.
One of the oldest tricks in the book is to pretend to be female when the player is actually male. In today’s climate, there are some fantastic female players, so this is becoming less common with each passing month. The thinking behind pretending to be the opposite sex is that women are perceived to be less aggressive than men. As a result, they are hoping to be given extra credit when they raise or bet.
Watch out for numbers at the end of names, as this can give an indication of a player’s age. Someone with the name Bob81 is likely to have been born in 1981, whereas a name such as ProPlayer07 would suggest they have been playing since 2007.
Generally, the older a player, the less likely they are to be loose and aggressive and vice versa. You should be less likely to bluff or make complex moves on an inexperienced player such as Tony10 than you would the aforementioned ProPlayer07.
Eagerness to call or bet fast is another solid online poker tells. If a player immediately calls, it means they have ruled out a raise. Players with strong hands want to make sure the pot is as big as possible.
Unless somebody is trying to trap you, players who call quickly are likely to be playing with poor or mediocre hands and don’t want to invest any more money in the hand.
Players who bluff tend to bet faster than those with good hands. If you have a half-decent hand, you tend to take longer to weigh up your betting options. With a really good hand, you spend time trying to figure out how to maximise the pot.
If a player spends little or no time considering their play, it’s because they are bluffing with a weak hand. As a result, they bet quickly.
Most online poker rooms have a chat box facility. Players who are constantly mouthing off are trying to distract their opponents. Likewise, if they are trying to get you to call or bet, it’s a sign they are holding nothing. So keep the chat box on when you play but don’t engage. Just use it to see what others are saying, as they may inadvertently give away something about their own hand.
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Tells To Look For…
Betting patterns: Observing a player’s betting patterns can give you an indication of their hand strength. For example, if a player consistently bets large amounts on strong hands and small amounts on weaker hands, you can use this information to make more informed decisions.
Speed of play: The speed at which a player acts can also be a tell. For example, if a player quickly checks or calls, they may be trying to hide their excitement about having a strong hand. Conversely, if players take a long time to act, they may try to bluff or disguise their hand strength.
Chat behaviour: Listen to what a player says in the chat box. If they are chatty and friendly, they may be trying to distract you from their gameplay. Conversely, if they are quiet and reserved, they may be focusing on the game and trying to hide their true intentions.
Table image: A player’s table image can also be a tell. If a player is known for being tight and conservative, for example, a sudden change in their behaviour may indicate a strong hand.
Tilt: If a player is on tilt, they may make impulsive or emotional decisions, which can be exploited by observant opponents.
Multi-tabling: If a player is multi-tabling, they may not be paying as close attention to each individual hand, which can lead to mistakes.
Chip count: Observing a player’s chip count can give you an idea of their overall play style. For example, if a player has a lot of chips, they may be more aggressive, while a player with fewer chips may be more conservative.
Remember that online poker is a fast-paced and dynamic game; these tells are not always reliable indicators of a player’s hand strength. It’s important always to pay attention to multiple factors and to use your best judgment when making decisions at the virtual poker table.
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