Working out your opponent’s poker tells at the table isn’t only for live poker play. When you play online poker, your opponent’s expressions and movements are not visible to you or the other players at the table; but your opponent will still give you valuable information. Use this information to work out what online poker tells to look for and make precise reads and decisions that will increase your poker bankroll and win rate.
“Timing tells” are the most common and useful online poker tells. Every time your opponent acts on his hand, he will take a certain amount of time to make a decision and act. The first timing tell to look out for is the “instant bet”, this is when it is your opponents turn to act and he instantly bets without thinking or pausing to assess his hand, the flop or his opponents hands. Instant bets are generally large bets and are very often the size of the pot (especially on online poker sites which dewapoker have buttons to allow automatic pot-sized bets).
If a player bets instantly it’s usually a good indication that he had every intention on betting before the action came around to him. This also means that it is extremely likely he has a very big hand (AA, QQ, KK, JJ) or a big draw. One important thing to note is that if the instant bettors poker style is to always continuation bet, the bet timing tell is less meaningful, however if five players see the flop and the third player bets instantly, he almost certainly has the best hand. You will need to play a few hands with your opponents to get a better understanding of their style of play.
The instant bet tell is even more reliable when a player faces a bet and almost immediately makes a pot sized raise. This poker tell is so obvious because the raiser doesn’t even have time to analyze the action, interpret the bet, work out the stack size of his opponents and work out how much he can potentially win or lose in the hand. He will typically have an over pair or a straight draw/flush draw that if it holds up beats all other hands in the pot.
If you do notice this tell, only play your best hands (fold the rest). Do keep in mind though, that some players are addicted to action and will just instinctively bet fast. Ensure the instant bettor isn’t one of these players; you may need to play a few hands against him to determine whether he is an instant bettor or just an action junkie (likes to play poker hands fast).
Also, ensure you pay special attention if your opponent takes no time to call a bet. You will often see these “instant calls” from players who have checked the flop. He will often hold good, but not great hands (flush draw, second pair, or top pair with a weak kicker) will check the flop, see a bet, and then will instantly call a bet without taking the time to consider his pot odds or outs. This type of poker will not even consider folding and raising his hand; he just wants to call any size bet.
Most poker players who like to slow-play big hands like over pairs and sets will usually take some time to think about their hand first before they call a bet. With second pair, however, most amateur or new players to poker will simply call the bet in an instant without calculating their pot odds or outs.
You can combat instant calls by applying pressure on the turn. Value-bet any top-pair and bluff with a very wide range of hands. It might take three shots, but you typically can force instant calling players to fold.
Another tell to lookout for is the buy-in tell. Players who buy in for anything other than the table maximum or minimum are usually weak poker players. A stack size in between the minimum and maximum buy in usually indicates, at the very least, an inexperienced online poker player. Use this to your advantage to play pot odds and take down big pots from these types of players.