What is a poker tell?
In live poker at a casino, a poker tell is when a player betrays the strength of his hand by his physical demeanor. Normally people tend to look scared when they are bluffing and overconfident when they have a monster.
Obviously regular players attempt with more or less success to disguise the value of their hands by doing an act, pretending to be strong when they are weak and weak when they are strong. But the poker pros can see thought most of it, and this is how they make a living.
Online poker is rather different, as you cannot see your adversaries. There are nevertheless a number of online poker tells that, if recognized properly, can lead to an increase in your win rate.
Very few things could fall into the category of tells: speed of acting is one, chatting is another. Additionally, varying bet size is also a great indicator in poker.
The natural behavior for most online poker players is to play their strong hands fast, and to hesitate in case of a difficult decision, such as calculating their odds (if they are drawing) or deciding to go for a big bluff.
So at the low or mid stakes levels in NLHE ring games, a very fast (people use the prefix "insta") action signifies a very strong hand most of the time. If you bet and get , this is a very bad sign. Insta-betting is also often very revealing.
There are nuances of course like anything else in poker, but a straightforward player who calls or raises you instantly after you bet simply did not need to think or did not think he had to think (or to pretend to have to think).
Let us say for instance that you make a standard raise preflop with KK, got one caller who is tight-passive and has 88, and the flop is Q82 rainbow. You make a standard continuation bet of 80% of the pot and get insta-called. This should .
The turn is the 7 of diamond, bringing on potential flush and straight draws. You make another c-bet at the turn for 60% of the pot and got insta-min-raised. This is typically a strong hand such as a set of eights.
Because your opponent knew all along that he had the best hand, all his actions were planned ahead of time. Slow playing by calling your "expected" c-bet at the flop. He would have bet if you had checked at the turn, and planned to min-raise if you bet, just to get a little more money.
In the previous example, the important aspect is that you played against a straightforward predictable opponent.
It is imperative that you use online poker software tools such as Poker-edge, tools that automatically create a profile of the other players at the table, as soon as you sit down at the virtual poker table.
There are clear differences in the statistics of a player who tends to play ABC poker and who would play as described earlier. Other players with a different style such as a very loose-aggressive player, even a maniac, may play the exact same way with a pair of eight only. Because they are betting and bluffing all the time.
The key is to have a profile for your competitors, then their online poker tells will be so much easier to decipher. You can make excellent profits once you have understood this simple technique for mastering online poker tells.