Look Out For These Tell Tale Signs On The Virtual Felt
Many people incorrectly think online poker is all numbers and ‘tells’ don’t exist. This is simply untrue. Granted tells are much more prevalent in the live arena and looking straight in a man’s eye will often get you more information than an avatar – but there are some fairly reliable online tells out there that should not be overlooked. Like anything in poker these aren’t a sure thing, but they should help you in a game of imperfect information – they could be a small piece to the puzzle.
This article will look at a number of different online poker tells and help you get comfortable using them. As with any tell – caution is advised. Players can often try to give off a tell or just be doing something in complete random. Having said that these are definitely well worth knowing and thinking about during a tough hand.
Online Poker Tells – Screen Names
I feel that screen names are one of the most reliable tells out there. If you see a screen name that is some type of acronym for some cool buzz word the kids are using – ‘HU4RULZ’ for example – it’s a pretty sure thing this is a young player who is immersed in the poker world. Whether they’re a dangerous opponent or not isn’t clear but you can definitely make some good assumptions based on the fact they know what ‘HU4RULZ’ stands for – heads up for rolls for anyone unsure J.
On the other side of the coin, names like Lucy90 or some other generic name and number combination usually belong to some recreational player who is just playing for fun. This is pretty easy to fake and it’s obviously straightforward for some online phenom to be called ‘MyLittlePony’ but it is unlikely and they’re few and far between.
Online Poker Tells – Avatars
Avatars often go hand in hand with screen names and they usually just help confirm the read you have picked up from the screen name, so if you see a picture of Chris Moorman as the avatar and a screen name like ‘4betmelight’ then you can go ahead and assume this player knows a lot about the online game and you can then make some assumptions based on this.
Likewise if ‘Kate1980’ has an avatar with a baby picture you can go ahead and assume this is a recreational player who has KK+ every time they three bet you :D. That’s a slight exaggeration, but again assumptions can now be made.
The thing to remember here is to try and consolidate one read with another and paint a picture of your opponent.
Online Poker Tells – Timing
I have found that timing tells are generally pretty accurate. They are obviously some anomalies. The biggest problem with timing tells is that it’s online poker – players could be doing anything whilst playing – even more so now we are in the age of mobile gaming.
A quick call is often indicative of a drawing hand and a tank call is often marginal hand. Again this is easy to give off false tells, but if you have used the screen name and the avatar and confirmed you are up against a recreational player you can be pretty certain that they won’t be given off false timing tells.
This just continues to show the importance of not relying on any one of these tells and building up a profile using a little of all of them.
I have to say that of all of these tells I have found a quick call on the flop being a drawing hand to be the case a lot of the time.
Online Poker Tells – Bet Sizing
In live poker you say plenty of obscure bet sizing – this is because many players struggle working out stack and pot sizes in live play, so they will ‘live misslcick’ some of the time.
Online though, this isn’t the case. The pot size is displayed, everyone’s stack size is displayed and miss clicks are way less common than you might think. In other words most of the time in online poker your opponents have bet exactly what they wanted to bet regardless of how bad it may seem initially.
It’s very important to look out for showdowns after obscure bet sizing. After seeing what hands were shown down you can profile your opponents betting tendencies and patterns much more efficiently. A really large bet online is usually a strong hand, your opponents are overbetting the pot (usually quickly), in the hopes of getting you to think they have miss clicked and bet too much.
Observation is key here though, you must look at what hands are shown down and take note of the action leading up to and during said hands. This was you can piece together a picture of your opponents tendencies. You can easily pick up on how they play big hands, big draws and missed boards.