Many live players will tell you that online poker is not the same because there are no tells. They feel that since you can’t read a player or pick up on tells you can’t play the game as it is live. Yes, poker tells are an important part of poker and can be very handy and win you a lot of money. But, when someone says that there are no tells in online poker, they are wrong.
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Lets first discuss what a “tell” is and how it applies to poker. A tell is a mannerism or pattern that person may have when playing the game. This can be a subtle as a twitching vein in their neck or as big as shaking hands when they have a monster. Regardless of the tell, they can give clues and information that can determine your decision on what to do. There are more tells in live poker because you can see someone and observe their actions and tics. But there are plenty of tell in online poker that can be just as informative and valuable.
One of the biggest tells would be timing tells. When playing online you are given buttons to click that make you bet, call, fold or raise. You will likely have automatic tabs that will instantly perform the action you prefer when it is your turn. Some players will click the tab to check when it is their turn to act if they are uninterested in their hand. When it gets to them, they will automatically check within milliseconds.
Most players will usually take at least a second or two to click the check button so seeing this instant check will be pretty easy to spot. If you happen to see this at the table and you are in the pot, there’s a good chance you can take the pot down with a small bet. Regardless of what you have, making this small bet will win most of the time. On the flip side, if you have a huge hand, you may elect to check yourself, since it’s likely your opponent will fold since they have shown no interest in this hand.
Other timing tells that can be very profitable are when someone instantly bets. This is usually combined with a pot bet and made on the river. When someone is drawing to a hand and miss on the river, they will often instantly bet pot in hopes of showing great strength. There’s an old poker adage that says; weak means string and strong means weak. This means when someone is acting very strong as if they have a big hand, its likely that they are weak. This is the same with the instant pot bet tell in online poker.
There are numerous other tells in online poker, but these have been proven to be the most profitable. If you spot a tell, make a note of it and take advantage of it right away.