Compared to live poker, online games have far fewer tells for a player to pick up on and figure out if their opponent actually has the cards they’re presenting. This is, of course, because you can’t actually see the other person. This is, however, not the end of the world because it allows you to focus on the mathematical and tactical side of the game and improve your core skills. Thankfully, there are still a number of online poker tells that you can look out for that can clue you in on what your opponent’s holding.
Mind you, online poker tells are never going to be as solid as those in live games, but they can be handy from time to time. I wouldn’t recommend relying on them to make big decisions, but definitely keep them in mind when you’re learning about your opponents at the table.
Online Poker Tells: Long Wait And Check
This generally shows that your opponent is weak, because he’s attempting to make you think that he’s considering a move with his (likely mediocre) hand. If you’ve got position, raise against him, even if you don’t have much of a hand yourself.
Online Poker Tells: Long Wait And Raise
This is the exact opposite of the “long wait and check.” This hand shows real strength and your opponent is trying to convince you that they’re deliberating a cheek because they have a weak hand. Think about it: if you’re holding a monster you will not want to bet aggressively and tip off your opponents. You’ll want to get as much money as possible in the pot, and that’s exactly what they’re doing. Get ready to fold ad event hand in this situation.
Online Poker Tells: Check/Call On The Flop, Bet Small On The Turn
Your opponent checks the flop and you bet from position. They call your bet and then they bet a relatively small amount when the turn comes. When this occurs, you should remember that you should never give too much respect to small bets. A weak bet is a weak bet is a weak bet and your opponent is trying to stop you from making a large bet. Weak blocking bets should get a re-raise from you and that’s it.
Online Poker Tell: Instant Checks/Bets
Every online poker site allows you to make decisions ahead of your turn. These buttons are nice, but instantly give away your holdings to the other players. If you instantly cheek, you’re showing that you’re disinterested with the hand and if you bet, you’re showing that you’re willing to throw money in the pot before you even see what the other players do.
This is by no means a definitive list, but these are the most common tells that a new player is going to come across, especially at the lower-stakes tables. The more you play the more you will understand the logistics of the game and be able to read people by their betting patterns. This is by far the best way to pick up on the strength of your opponent’s hand.