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Online Poker Tells

Tips For Online Poker

Online Poker Advice:

The most obvious difference between the physical and the online world is that you don’t have another player glaring at you from across the table. The lack of player presence directs your focus to the game, whereas before you may have split your time between looking at your opponent and the cards in play.
But being alone doesn’t mean that you play in a world devoid of tells & clues about another players bluff (or worse, when he tries to sucker you in with a killer hand). It just means that the clues you want to keep track of and watch for are different.

A delay followed by a check often indicates weakness
Most opponents who wait a longer time than normal and then check, are trying to indicate strength by “thinking” about betting; however, they generally want you to check so that they can get a free card. If your opponent was going to check-raise, he would generally check at a normal speed and then raise.

A delay followed by a bet often indicates strength
An opponent who waits a longer time than normal and then bets usually has a strong hand. In this case, he is trying to indicate weakness by “thinking” a long time to lure you into calling.

An instantaneous bet or raise on the turn or river usually indicates strength
Most players who bet or raise instantaneously using the “act in turn” buttons on the turn or river generally have strong hands. I believe these types of plays are meant to bully you into calling, so he dares you to call with his instantaneous raise. Don’t let this bullying strategy work against you. Generally an instantaneous action on the turn or river indicates a very strong hand.

This tell has varying degrees of reliability depending on the street. On the river, an instantaneous raise almost always means the nuts or a hand close to it. On the turn, it generally indicates a very strong hand, although some players will occasionally raise instantaneously with the intention of checking the river. An instantaneous raise preflop also generally indicates a strong hand, especially from early to middle position; however, if they are in late position and are raising a late position player, it is difficult to make generalizations since they might just be bullying their opponent.

I have found it difficult to generalize about players who bet or raise instantaneously on the flop. Some players raise with good hands, while others raise with weak hands trying to buy a free card. This is especially true with preflop raisers who try to buy a free card with overcards.

An instantaneous check usually indicates weakness
Many players use the check/fold button when they plan on folding their hand to any bet. This is especially true with players who are playing two tables. There are two situations where you can use this information to your advantage. Let’s say you are in last position. The first player checks and the next two players instantaneously check. Since the two middle players probably don’t have anything, a bluff might be successful against the lone opponent who checked early.

Another situation occurs when you are the player who checks early. If your opponents instantaneously check behind you, you might have a bluffing opportunity on the next card. These tells work best at the larger sites such as and where use of this button is common. Many players at these sites play two games at once and use the check/fold button to quickly move back and forth between hands.

Two notes of caution related to this online poker tell. Although not very common, be careful against some tricky players who might use the check/call button to slowplay their hands. Second, there is a fine line between instantaneous checking and checking quickly. Using the auto check/fold button before another player has acted means that they would have folded if their opponent had bet. This is very different than someone who checks very quickly once it is his turn to act. This leads us into our next online poker tell.

A quick check usually indicates weakness, but beware if the player check-raises
A quick check can indicate weakness also, especially when there are several players playing the hand; however, if a player checks quickly and then raises, be very careful! When a player check-raises, the quick check was probably an attempt to indicate weakness so that you would bet into his strong hand.

Remember that all of these online poker tells are generalizations. They work best against unknown opponents since you don’t have any other information to go by. Once you have played with a player for a while, observe their betting patterns and then record what happens when they don’t follow their usual pattern.

As a final note, try not to give online poker tells about your own play to your opponents. There are two ways to do this. One way is to simply bet at the same speed throughout every hand. Another way is to randomly change the speed of your betting. For example, if the last card shown is a red card, you act after two seconds, and if it is a black card, you act after four seconds. This strategy will confuse your more observant opponents who are looking for tells and can’t find any.

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