5 Online Poker Tells You Do Not Know You Are Doing
Nose twitch, eye contact, or betting patterns—all these simple acts mean business in the language of poker tells.
Poker tells are the changes in behavior, demeanor, or gaming pattern of a certain player that may contain subliminal clues you can use to gauge the strength or weakness of a player’s card. For instance, if a player who continuously bets on small-stake pattern abruptly bets higher stakes, he might have a strong hand. Meanwhile, if a player’s hand is shaking or if he keeps jittering, he might be showing indications of a weak hand.
Observing poker tells on a brick-and-mortar backdrop is easy, but doing so in the online poker space is tricky because you do not play with your opponents face to face. One of the most common metrics is your bet-timing. Timing plays an important role in assessing online poker tells. New poker players or gamers who do not play the game often tend to give away tells by how long they take to check, call, or bet. Here are the common poker tells that you must spot and avoid:
1| Taking a Long Pause Before Checking or Betting Small
Both opting for checks and betting small after a long pause are typical indications of a weak hand. If you have a strong hand, you would want to maximize your winning potential by betting big. On the contrary, you would limit your stakes to the minimum, or as small as possible, if you were not confident that you would win. This is common player logic, but novice players may use this tell for bluffing.
To distinguish whether this particular tell is a bluff or not, observe your opponent’s betting pattern first. If he abruptly bets smaller than the standard wager (typically 2/3 or 3/4 of the pot), watch out if his hand turns out to be weak. If it does, and the player tends to repeat the same betting pattern, you can assume that he lowers his stakes whenever he has a low-value hand.
2| Taking a Long Pause Before Raising or Going All-In
A raise prior to a long lull or hesitation is often a sign of a very strong hand, like a flush or a straight. Suppose all the players call in the pre-flop round, indicating that they have at least decent hole cards. The three community cards are then dealt and most players bet and raise accordingly, except for one who is taking his time to decide. When the limit is almost over, he bets to raise or goes all-in. Chances are, he has a strong hand.
If he wants to bluff or cover his weak hands by pretending he has some strong cards, he should have raised or go all-in earlier in the game to avoid suspicions. The common outcome of this situation is your opponent might be trying to portray weakness by pretending to be in a tough decision-making. If you find yourself entangled in this kind of scenario, the best thing to do is to fold.
| Related: Play and Have the Wonders of Bitcoin Poker!
3| Raising and Checking Instantaneously
Generally, checking connotes a weak hand. But checking can be a sign of strong cards if your opponent goes for instant check-raise. Check-raise is a common form of deceptive play in online poker in which a player goes for a check during the early part of a betting round then suddenly raises in the same round when somebody opens the bets. The logic behind this tell is the player wants to imply that he has a weak hand at first, making the other players raise. So when someone took the bait, he becomes so thrilled and suddenly counterattacks with a raise. If you encounter this type of play, consider taking the hasty raise as a sign of strength and fold.
4| Losing One’s Cool in the Game’s Chat Box
There can be only one word to describe this situation—tilt! If a player starts to curse, insult, or rant opponents on a group chat because of a bad beat, a losing streak, or because of disruptive co-players, he is experiencing tilt or lack of emotional control. Typically, the best move to make when you play with this type of players is to check if you have a strong hand. The main goal of a player experiencing tilt is to take revenge or to win. Chances are, he will become over-aggressive and continue to check regardless of the strength of his cards. But of course, take the time to observe the player first as seasoned poker players may use tilting as a form of bluffing.
5| Reverse Tells
Most novice players make fake common poker tells to confuse their opponents. For instance, they take a long pause then check on the last minute even if they actually have a monster hand. Bluffing in poker takes time to master. Make sure not to fall for poker blunders by being observant. As most players would say, if you cannot bluff, then spot the bluffer. Start by knowing how to spot and avoid the mentioned tells.
You can use reverse tells as a strategy to ace the game as well. For instance, try to be consistent with your betting time regardless of your next move. Then, you should also play some rounds using irregular betting time intervals. Say, take a long pause then go for a raise if your hands are strong. Then do the same from time to time if you have weak cards. This way, your move will not be predictable.
Are you guilty to any of these poker flubs? Although playing poker online does not require physical player interaction, the game still revolves around intense mind play and observation. Always be mindful of the ways you might be giving off tells to your opponents.
Lastly, remember that using poker tells to assess your opponent’s hand can be a hit or a miss. They can be reliable, but they are not 100% accurate. Even so, knowing how to tweak these tells using your own strategies and gut feel helps you make smart moves and have more control over the game.