Tells in Internet Poker

Internet Poker Tells

When you think of poker tells, you probably think of live poker and reading players' actions and habits in order to determine how strong their hand is. A flinch or a face movement can separate the nuts from a bluffer. The way chips are handled by a player can give you an idea of what he is holding and why he is betting what he is.

Seems easy enough, right?

When it comes to Internet poker the answer is WRONG. You are not face to face with your opponents - they get to hide behind a computer. Even though reading a tell may seem impossible over the Internet, it is not.

How to Read Internet Poker Tells

When playing poker on the Internet you must learn how to read players' betting patterns, what they bet, and how fast they bet.

The biggest tell I see on the Internet is when a player is betting me. Say you are holding 10J suited and your opponent raises 100 pre-flop. The flop comes QK7. Your opponent bets 300 on the flop and you call with your open ended straight draw. The turn comes a deuce for QK72, your opponent bets 500 chips. The river brings another deuce QK722. You missed your straight, but your opponent bets only 100 at this point.

This is a huge tell - their bet goes from rising as the hand goes on, to minimum 100 bet at the end. This says a lot: they were probably betting a small pocket pair or ace blank, and a hefty raise will probably take down the pot for you. When a player is betting you and their bet is moving up as the hand goes on, and on the river they bet less than they bet on the turn, this says that they missed or that their hand isn't very strong.

Note a Player's Betting Speed

Another way to get a tell from players online is how fast or long they take to bet. This tell isn't always as sure fire as the one I talk about above, but it comes in handy if you pay attention. If a player raises fast pre-flop, then the flop comes and they lag before making their bet, this says that maybe they missed the flop and didn't hit. They may bet small just to keep the bet going and represent the best hand. At this point if you are holding top pair you should go ahead and bet big so they don't chase and hit on you. However, if a player bets fast pre-flop, flop comes and they lag yet still bet big, this is where you should be concerned. If you are holding a decent hand at this point, you can call, but be weary of an over pocket pair they may be holding on you.

Use the Player Notes System

An advantage that Internet poker offers you that live poker does not is a player notes system. When you play live you can remember names and faces, but actions they have made in the past may not stick with you. In most Internet poker rooms you can put a note on players which is saved in your account. So the next time that player is at a game or tournament with you, you can read the notes you previously wrote on him. If someone bluffs a lot or chases a lot or fits a certain player profile, you make a note on them and this helps you read their play the next time you are playing against each other.

Revealing Tells in Chat

Another thing you should watch for is what players say to you while in a hand against each other. Remember that poker is a lying game and people will lie while in a hand if they think it will take down the pot for them. I don't use this tactic but I have seen players bet big at me and say "TY" before I have even called the bet. This tells me they are full of it, because if they had the best hand they would want me to call their bet and they would keep their mouth shut.

Another thing players like this try is when they have a good hand, they may say something like, "you got me", and then bet. This would tell me they have a good hand and want me to call or even raise them. My strategy when it comes to this is that I pay no attention to what they say and just play the cards in front of me.

Revealing Your Tells: A Reverse Strategy

You can use some of the tells I have mentioned above as reverse strategy. When you have the nuts, bet in a way that may tell your opponent that you are bluffing. For example, if you lessen your bet on the river when you have a great hand, your opponent may think that you missed your draw, and he may raise into you. Another reverse strategy is purposely taking a lot of time on a bet in order to make your opponents think that you are contemplating your move (when really you have the nuts). This can throw them off and maximize the amount of chips you can win on particular hands.

Reading tells in Internet poker takes a little more paying attention than in a live game, but once you get the hang of it, it can be very simple. Watch betting patterns, how much time they take to make their action, and take notes on players. All of these things can help you make an all in decision or tell you if that player is bluffing, on a draw, or has the nuts. My best advice is to always play the best cards possible. If you have a weak hand but another player's tells say that their hand is weak as well, take advantage and steal that pot from them.

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