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Common Online Poker Tells

Online there are no eyes to read and no body language to observe. You can't stare down a player or try to talk some information out of them. That doesn't mean you can't read a player though.

Off-line, habitual betting patterns are often the most useful read a player provides. Online, betting patterns are even more pronounced. Due to the fast paced and anonymous nature of the game, it is really easy for players to quickly develop betting patterns. Furthermore, most regular players multi-table, making their actions more robotic and less dependent on the players they are up against.

Nearly all online players will play the same type of hands the same way nearly every time they get them, but the way different players play the same hand varies. Carefully watching your opponents' play will quickly reveal which patterns they use. For instance, for most players an over sized bet is usually a bluff, but for a few it always indicates a big hand.

There are also a few general tells to be aware of. Once upon a time, the most common and obvious tell was "the stall." Weak players would pretend to be thinking about their hand really hard and then would bet or raise big. Invariably this stalling indicated they had a big hand. Today, you will still find some stallers of this type, but most "stalls" don't mean anything. A slow play is just as likely to indicate that the player is busy on another table as it is that they are trying to be deceptive. However, if a player is always plays quickly and then stalls on a crucial hand, they may be attempting to "fool" you into thinking they don't have a hand. On the other hand, if a good player stalls they may actually have nothing and are trying to use this classic tell to their advantage.

Spotting a player on tilt can provide your biggest pay days. Fortunately, many tilting players advertise their frustration in the chat window. An opponent that starts ranting and raving after an unlucky hand is likely tilting or about to do so. For those so inclined, chatting back at such players can really push them over the edge. The one thing you definitely don't want to do against a tilted player is play a weak hand and help them calm down with a big win. Letting them win a tiny pot with their big hand will usually just increase their frustration.

The most humorous online tell is when a player feels the need to lecture the room about how to play, but gives terrible advice. This is almost always a sign of a very novice player who won't last long, so be sure to take advantage of them while you can.

The most important thing to remember about online tells is that every action a player makes tells you "something," but that something varies from player to player. It is your job to figure out what that something might be and act accordingly.

JackRag


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