Reading tells in online poker

Posted by Dan in Poker Strategy on June 24, 2009

playing-cardsReading poker tells has always been a huge part of the game. As the popularity of the online game increases, more and more people are staying at home. This means that the ability to start the player in the face and see their reaction is no longer a possibility. However, this does not mean that they do not have tells. You are going to have to pay attention, but they are there.

One of the most common tells in poker is the amount of time that it takes people to react to making their play. This is especially true for beginner players. Taking too long and acting quickly are the most common tells, but it is easy to get confused if you are not careful.

Check raising is something that you will see quite often, especially if you are in isolation against a player. In order to make the right call when it comes time to make your play, you really need to watch at how the player reacted to each bet that was made.

Assume you are on the button and it has folded around to you. You place a 4x the blind raise and the sb folds, but the bb stays in the pot with you. First take notice if he does a snap call or takes some time to think about it. If he is taking his time, he could be on suited connectors or small pocket pair. Any big hand here would have him throwing his chips in quickly. If he is taking his time, he is more than likely trying to decide if the investment is worth it.

A flop comes and the board hits you with a pair, but also has two suited cards. Now you are sitting on trips and have a huge opportunity to make some money depending upon what your opponent is holding. More than likely, he will check the action over to you, but once again, see how long it takes for this to happen. He checks and then you fire again. His check happened immediately and how he is taking his time to decide what to do. After taking the max time, he comers right back over the top of you.

This gives you a ton of information when you put everything together. His quick check followed by the long decision tells you that he has probably not hit the board, but has the possibility of a huge hand. He may have an over pair to the board or may be sitting on a flush draw. You are now going to be faced with the decision of calling him down or putting him in for all of his chips.

The best play for you in this case is to get them in and make him decide. The thinking here is that he has suited connectors and is pushing on a flush draw. This is a common move and gives the player a lot of outs. In many cases, their opponent will fold the hand to the check raise, but by coming over the top, you now have him on decision to risk his stack or tournament life on a draw. In a cash game, you will probably get called because they can rebuy. In a tournament, you can count on taking this pot down right here with an experienced player. While the odds are in their favor, most players will not risk calling off their stack to a draw.

There are a lot more tells to look for when playing online poker. Remember, just because you are not in the same room with the person does not mean that they are not giving off information.

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  1. Comments: 2

  2. Richard ( GB ) - Jul 16, 2009


    Thanks for the comments, but I for example always take my time when I am holding a pair ( Pre-flop ) or if I have hit the boat or flush on the flop to leave exactly that impression to other players” Weakness” I think this is common play amongst players who have knowledge of the game . So considering this tactic, I do not really believe they are anything to go by when playing online. I would be grateful for your comments on my remarks.

  3. Taff Fuller - Jul 20, 2010


    As a gamer i myself see it on how you describe those who just a beginner of the game. But whether you give information in contrary it still has a benefit that we could have on. Also playing online or not is the choice you of the gamer on which he found himself more relax and preferred.