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10 Common Online Poker Tells And How To Read What They Mean

Online Poker Tells exist and they can be very useful for players who understand how to read them and what they mean.

Understanding poker tells is a key aspect of the game, especially when you play in the real world.

We all know of someone who we believe is easy to read at the poker table, but can you really use poker tells when playing online?

The idea seems unfeasible at first, but it is possible. In this guide, we’ll show you ten of the most common online poker tells and what they tend to mean.

It is then up to you to use this information as you see fit in your next online game, perhaps at bet365 Poker!

But before we start our list, let’s explain the information that is available to us when we play in an online poker game.

Online Poker Tells

Online Poker – What Information Can I Use to My Advantage?

In the real world, a person’s facial expressions and movements, mood, body movements (either voluntary or involuntary) and can give a lot away.

Even how a player organises their cards can be a tell (people tend to arrange cards in value order. so when a player doesn’t do that with a hand when they usually do, that may mean a player has a pocket pair).

Then of course there’s the information that becomes available as the hand progresses and the betting starts.

Online with sites like bet365 Poker there seems to be much less of this information available for players. Especially the former.

But that doesn’t mean the online game is devoid of information.

Information available to you for each player is divided into statistical information (that which you can see on screen) and behavioural information (how the player plays out a hand, or interacts with others via chat etc).

Online Poker Tells Information

Statistical information includes the players name and chip amount.

Behavioural information includes items such as how long a player takes to bet in a hand. It can also mean refer to when they bet, the size of the bet that they make and the relationship between bet types as they play (betting patterns) and the strength of hand that they show when called at the end of a game.

It may seem that this isn’t a lot to go on. However, you’d be surprised how much information is available just through these two means.

Furthermore, this information can act as a poker tell if you know how to read the signs correctly. That includes sites like bet365 Poker.

And here’s ten of the most common poker tells you will find in an online game.

One thing to note, is that the tells listed here do tend to apply to No Limit Texas Hold’em, rather than other forms of the game.

Ten Common Online Poker Tells and What They Mean

1.Checking Instantly

Online Poker Tells bet365
  • Example – When the action moves to a player, the game reports that they have checked instantaneously.

Poker Tells Meaning – This means the player has clicked the Check/Fold option. When that happens, it means the player is saying that they will only play this hand, if it is not going to cost them any more chips to do so.

Ergo, you can assume that this player doesn’t have the strongest hand leading into the flop.

The only warning here is that very experienced players will try to slow play opponents using this method, representing a check/fold option, despite having a strong hand.

2.A player paying a Blind Calls Pre-Flop but then Leads into you post-flop

  • Example – The action in a hand has seen players either call or fold, and the player paying the big blind calls. The flop is then laid down and then the player who paid the big blind leads off with a mid-sized bet.

Poker Tells Meaning – This “Donk” bet is pretty common from beginners who hope to pick up a stronger hand from the flop, fail to do so, but then attempt to win the hand by representing that they have picked up that hand with a bet after they checked.

It is usually pretty safe to assume these bets are weak and that if you raise, the person will get cold feet and fold. Giving you an easy pot win, but with extra chips on the table thanks to your opponents poor play!

3.Checking then raising the minimum amount at the table.

  • Example – In the hand, the player initially checks, a subsequent player may then make a small bet and when the action returns to the player who checked, they make a small raise rather than the call.

Poker Tells Meaning – This is a poker tell, but what kind of tell it is depends on the opponent that does it. Inexperienced players could be more likely to play it safe with a big value hand checking to entice bets and then raising when there is money in the pot.

But clever pros will also do this as a bluff to try and put players on edge about the potential monster hand that they hold.

One thing to note here is if a player check-raises on the turn or river and then checks again in the subsequent round of betting. This indicates that they have likely missed hitting a flush or straight draw, or that their bluff has failed. In this situation, a small raise can be enough to get them to fold.

4.Telling everyone via chat how they played that hand so very well, despite losing, and that the winner was just lucky…

  • Example – One player is in the chat box doing their own mini-version of Phil Hellmuth, ranting over why their play was great and how they were only undone by bad luck, or that they have had a bad beat.

Poker Tells Meaning – I love it when your play at the table induces a fit of rage from another player. Getting them on Tilt is fabulous as it is then so easy to take advantage of their aggressive nature, especially when it is focused on you.

Bad players will Tilt a lot and will try to ‘right a wrong’ by targeting those that beat them. Often with hands not likely to win. So you can use this to your advantage, pick your moments when you hold a strong hand, and keep them fuming as their chips get added to your pile!

5.Sitting down at the table with an unusual amount of money for a buy in.

  • Example – Playing at a table where the min/max buy in is £50 and £500, a player sits down at the table with £243.61 and starts to play immediately, rather than waiting for the button to get to them.

Poker Tells Meaning – When a player sits down with an odd amount of money for the table, then this can indicate that they may have just lost a lot of money at a bigger stakes table.

Now they want to win some or all of that back by doubling up through the people at your table.

The fact that they start immediately suggests that they are keen to get going too and when this happens you tend to find that this player plays aggressively and loose, in order to try and win back their chips quickly.

Bide your time, wait for the moment you have a good hand, then strike when you do and it can be profitable for you.

6.Taking a huge amount of time to make a bet.

  • Example – The action moves onto a player who then proceeds to take the full amount of permitted time, and perhaps any additional ‘extra’ time permitted, to make their bet.

Poker Tells Meaning – When this happens, it usually means that a player is pretending to be considering whether to bet or not. It usually means, they have a strong hand, but are trying to appear as if they do not.

The person doing this is hoping his contrived deliberations will portray him as having a weak-ish hand, so people will take him on. Which is exactly what he wants them to do.

While you can take on delayed smaller bets, if the bet comes in and it is a sizeable one, unless you hold a very strong hand too, folding is your best option.

7.A player who limps in by calling on a lot of hands

  • Example – On several hands, one player always will call small or minimum raises to limp into the hand.

Poker Tells Meaning – This is a common behaviour from a less experienced poker player who is simply trying to play too many hands. They won’t have a range as such, and they’ll play any combination of cards, so long as the price isn’t too high.

A good player can use this to their advantage by taking them on with medium to high strength hands, or well-judged bluffs, meaning that they are losing their chips too quickly.

Passive play like limping in continually seldom works in poker. Avoid it.

8.A player who then checks followed by a usually large raise on the river.

hold'em raises
  • Example – We’re down to the river and the player has checked, other players either check or raise but the first player then makes a large raise after initially checking.

Poker Tells Meaning – The dreaded check-raise! If this happens to you after your opponent has checked, you have put some chips into the pot and then they re-raise, you are very likely to be in trouble.

The odds here is that your opponent has a strong hand. So unless you have a very strong hand, or better still, the nuts, it is time to fold the cards and start afresh in a new hand.

9.A player who goes all-in on the turn.

  • Example – Two or more players remain in the hand when the turn card is shown. Players check or make a small bet, but one player then goes all-in.

Poker Tells Meaning – This is a tricky one as it could mean two things and which one it is, depends very much on the player and their experience level, so you need to factor that in here to figure out what this is telling you.

An inexperienced player who goes all-in here is either short-stacked and bluffing and trying to pick up the pot, or they have hit a flush or a straight. Most likely the latter.

In my view, a more experienced player wouldn’t want to bluff in this situation and if they were going to, they wouldn’t risk all their chips doing so. So they’d more likely raise.

It would be an odd move for an experienced player to go all-in here, unless they were short-stacked, in which case you may be best folding, unless it will not cost you much to see their cards.

10.A player who goes all-in on the river.

  • Example – The hand has progressed down to the river and one or more players have made a bet, but then one player goes all-in.

Poker Tells Meaning – It’s time to quit the hand, unless you hold the nuts! This player has managed to suck other players along with him to the last possible moment and now they want paying off.

In this situation, the likelihood they are bluffing (unless they are very, very experienced) is minimal. So unless you have a very strong hand also, or better still hold the nuts, it is time to cut your losses and muck your cards.

It is possible that an experienced player could be bluffing, but it would be a huge risk to get so many players committed to a pot with nothing in your hand.

Ian John

Working my way though the UK's top online poker sites (and some of the ones near the bottom as well) to bring you a first-hand take on the absolute best choices for online poker players from the UK.

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