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Whilst it’s true that you have less information to go on when playing poker online, it’s definitely there if you know where to look for it. One goldmine of information is timing tells, here’s five of the biggest free gifts going…

1) The instant call – Your opponent most likely has one of two hands, a draw or a weak made hand that she is simply trying to get to showdown. The quick call or check/call occurs because she knows that calling is the only option so there is nothing to think about

2) The instant check – Another post-flop timing tell which is most reliable on the turn and river if your opponent is out of position and has called pre-flop and on the flop. An instant check usually indicates that they’ve gone into check/call mode and aren’t considering any other option. So if you have a draw or a marginal hand it can pay to take a free card, if you have a strong hand charge them a big price to continue.

3) The instant check-raise – This one, especially if it’s a check min-raise, is usually a massive sign of strength. The instant nature of the action indicates that your opponent has got so excited about the strength of their hand that they just couldn’t wait to mash the raise button. A word of warning, if the min-raise occurs in position, especially on a draw heavy board then your opponent is likely trying to buy a free card on a future street as cheaply as possible.

4) The pause, then raise all-in – By pausing your opponent is trying to make you think they have a real decision to make, perhaps a borderline one, when really they’ve got a very strong hand. Don’t fall for it. A caveat is that the pause could, occasionally be down to the player playing on many tables at once so make use of the search function.

5) The pause, then check or min-bet – Both of these are signs of weakness, the pause is once again made to make you think that your opponent is mulling over whether to check or bet, in the hope that when they check you won’t bet, which you should. The modern variation on the check is the min-bet, which is often miniscule in comparison to the pot, this is designed to get you to just call with good but not great hands, like top pair top kicker. Although you miss out on value I often like to min-raise this bet back just to play them at their own game!

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