Poker: How to Deal With ‘Tells’ When You’re Playing Online

online poker

When you’re sitting at a poker table in the physical or “brick and mortar” setting. You have a real opportunity to zero in on “tells” the other players are throwing off whether it’s subconscious motions or movements that “tell” you what kind of position your opponent is in.

Maybe there’s one guy sitting to your right who scratches his nose when he’s got a live hand, pondering a decision about moving all his chips in. Or someone over to your left tends to look away, rather than at the other players, when he has a pocket pair. Then there’s someone sitting across from you who makes his decision on raising rather quickly when he has a good hand but hesitates a little bit when he’s unsure of his hand’s value. When everyone’s within view, you at least get a chance to look into someone’s eyes, to observe the state of nervousness, to detect the false confidence.

But now, let’s shift the scene a little. We’ll say, for the sake of argument, that you are in an online poker room – preferably The DragonRoom at VietBet. In this atmosphere, things are quite a bit different, aren’t they? There’s certainly no opportunity to see your opponent or catch those subconscious idiosyncrasies you’re able to observe in person.

Will that wind up taking something away from your game? The answer is – yes and no. Probably more “yes” than “no,” simply because in person you can capture more of the idiosyncrasies as they are happening at once. And there are things that will come through even as you’re playing online. In fact, some things are inescapable. The nature of online poker players is that sooner or later, you’re going to see something if you’re astute enough.

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Online Poker Tells

Aggressive Play

For example, let’s stay someone demonstrates a strong tendency to fold his hands most of the time, then gets involved very aggressively in a pot all of a sudden – and with impunity. This would seem a big indicator that he has a good hand. Of course, you’re going to see the result if he stays in. He is, of course, telegraphing himself. You don’t have to worry yourself sick about staying in that hand because there will always be another one to play.

The Flop Hangers

For the guy who chooses to fold his cards extremely often; however, the chances will be few and far between. If his strategy isn’t successful at drawing more money into the pot, he’ll wind up eventually getting into more pots with lesser hands and even lesser confidence. That’s one end of the spectrum. But you’ve also got those players who are so desperate for action all the time that they always seem to hang in for the flop. You’ve seen that kind of thing, haven’t you? It won’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out.

Players like this are going to waste an awful lot of bankroll, because they’ll fold somewhere between the initial three-card flop and the river, throwing lots of needless money into the fray. It’s your obligation, as a competitor, to be there to take some of that money. Since staying in the game is not necessarily a barometer for the quality of his hand, you can chase this player here and there – or more accurately, get him to chase you – by raising when you have something that is relatively strong. You really want to get these people into heads-up situations, because if someone exhibits this pattern, it is generally difficult for them to resist.

Raising On Check

Look out for players who, right from the beginning, raise when everyone checks. That’s because it could be one of those cases where they’re trying to “steamroll” everyone out of the hand, buying the pot for practically nothing. Sometimes they’ll have absolutely zero in their hand, and if you’ve got a weak player he’ll back down more often than not if someone throws in a re-raise, which now makes it a more expensive proposition for the so-called steamroller. Make sure you keep a mental record of it. If this player stays in and has a loser in the end, then you may have a real fish on your hands; someone you can take advantage of again and again.

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Chatty Online Poker Players

Those are tendencies that can be part of – but are not necessarily unique to – the online game. But the chat board is. You might be able to notice a pattern in what players post on the screen and whether it corresponds to certain levels of strength they consider themselves to be in. If they’re only “chatting” when they have a good hand or feigning confidence through their words when they have a bad one, these will offer some signs.

Online Poker Checking Out The Clock

It might also be useful to take a look at players and their relationship to the time clock. Since online poker rooms put a limit on this time, keep an eye out for players who wait until just before time is out and make what turns out to be a poor play. Particularly if they call or raise when they shouldn’t. In all likelihood, they are inexperienced and/or bad players, and like all weak players they can be exploited, if you’re in a pot with them and can do something on your part that can make them ponder it a little too much. All the time in the world wouldn’t be enough to help them make their decision correctly, so you can count on drawing a lot of mistakes out of them.

And it goes without saying that anyone who “times out” more than once is someone you should jump on. This is a player who has a problem deciding on what to do or is playing several different tournaments at the same time. Either way, those people may not be paying enough attention. Make sure YOU are.

And let’s expand that as well. It makes sense to do some self-analyzation. After all, YOU could be showing some tells yourself. So maybe, as you read this story again (and that is advisable), you can figure that out and correct your own mistakes.

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