One of the key perceived differences between live poker and the online poker game is the suppose ‘lack of tells’. But while you may not be able to stare down your opponent until they fold the winning hand, there are a number of crucial tells that plenty of your online opponents give away every time they sit down at the virtual felt. We sort the misclicks from the poker bosses.

Online Poker Tells: What’s Their Stack Size?

One of the most obvious tells that a cash game player can give off in terms of their experience is the stack that they sit down with. If they’re a regular and profitable player, then they’re highly likely to sit down at a cash table with the maximum chips available, in order to speculate and accumulate the most they can. A lack of experience can often be evident by a player who buys in for much less than the limit and doesn’t rebuy or ‘top up’ if they take a hit early on. They may not have the confidence that they’ll win it back.

Online Poker Tells: What Time Is It?

One of the most frequent problems when players describe an online beat or share the ‘details’ with you, their sympathetic friend, is timing. The timing of any action at the poker table is crucial, just as it is if a live player always tanks for a minute before rubbing their nose and moving all-in while looking absently around the cardroom (hint – fold). Tells due to timing include the most important – noticing that a regular takes the same amount of time with each decision they make.

Tells that apply to less experienced players include players making decisions that give away the strength of their hand by being either too quick or too slow. If someone instantly calls the flop and turn, they will often have an unfulfilled draw or a pair that isn’t top pair. They haven’t considered folding but they also never gave thought to a raise. On the other hand, if they bet really quickly on the river, it can often mean a bluff that hasn’t been given due consideration.

Online Poker Tells: Who Are They?

Everyone has a digital footprint, but no-one wears Size 12 Godzilla boots like poker players. When you’re sat down in a poker game with an opponent, why not do some digging when you’re not involved in a hand to find out exactly how they’re playing at the moment. Use of of dozens of player statistic websites to obtain information on their average buy-in, profit/loss column and preferred game choice to name just a few facets of their game.

You can also click on similar partypoker tournaments, then enter their name in the Player Finder box above the leaderboard. If they’re involved in the tournament, then you’ll be able to see how they’re getting on and even open up their table. Perfect for getting a move through if they’re involved in a few tricky hands.

Online Poker Tells: Are They the Blind Leading the Blinds?

A big online tell is how any player posts their blinds and how they behave in them. Recreational players in cash games will just highlight ‘auto-post blinds’, while regulars will do so manually. While anyone wants to get involved in the action, regs will keep things tight and wait until it’s their turn.

If players treat the blind position like they treat the cut-off or the button, and their betting patterns are exactly the same, they’re likely to be an amateur.

Online Poker Tells: What Did They Say?

If a player uses the chat box to engage with other players, it can often mean that they’re a
novice. They could be on tilt because of previous losses or simply frustrated at losing in general. If someone is winning, they’re often more disposed to keep silent and keep winning. How often has your poker buddy called you over to tell you about a bad beat, and how many times have they interrupted their game to inform you about winning a pot?

Online Poker Tells: What’s Their Size?

One of the biggest tells is in post-flop betting, with the less-experienced player often betting much less than half the pot. Regulars or professionals will try to put pressure on opponents by getting a bit more aggressive and win pots more frequently.

Size is not always all-important, but especially post-flop, weaker players appear weaker and are less likely to have strong holdings if there are timid with their bet-sizing on the flop.

Online Poker Tells: How Do They Play?

If your opponent often calls preflop (anything over 30% of hands should be sending up a red flag) but then fold more often post-flop, then they are likely to have less than your hands in the bank. If you’re constantly getting aggressively three-bet or four-bet by an opponent, as well as sticking around post-flop, then your enemy could well be a bit of a shark. You might want to tread that water carefully.

Online tells are like live tells – they match-up to different player types and should be factored into this way of thinking, identifying a type of opponent who is likely to perform in a certain manner as opposed to another. They’re reliable but never 100%, so tweak them to your own intuitions and strategies and they can help you feel more in control online – a vital enough tool as it is!

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