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Online Poker Tells : Part Two

[ Posted October 26th, 2009 ] by The Dean

Time duration tells!

By this I mean the length of time that it takes for a player to make their play. If someone raises and it gets around to a player and their fold is instant then this is likely to be a player who has already clicked the “fold to a bet/raise” button. Of course knowing that someone intended to fold after the event is not of much use to us but it does in fact indicate a player who is prone to using pre-action buttons.

If you were to repeat this scenario and it was bet and called by two opponents and their call was visibly instant on a board of Ah-9c-8c then this could be an indication that this player is on a draw and is receiving the proper pot odds to call and has clicked the “call any bet” button.

Tells like these can be a great help and especially in games like limit hold’em where players are frequently receiving the correct pot odds to draw to hands. Taking this a stage further and if a raise was instant then this would indicate that the raiser was raising with a powerful hand and his action was something of a no brainer otherwise they would have needed at least a few seconds of thinking time.

If you raised before the flop with AK and it was called and then a re-raise was instantaneous then a fold could be in order here and especially in a game like No Limit Hold’em. Another possible tell when it comes to betting is when a player stalls for a long time as if apparently thinking and then either calls the bet or raises.

This is an adaptation of the acting weak but actually is strong ploy only this time it is being executed in an online game. Of course because you cannot physically see the players in online poker, it is perfectly possible that this player could be distracted by something at home or because they are multi-tabling. As I stated earlier, for any tell to be accurate either live or online then it has to be observed at least several times.
Screen name tells!

Believe it or not it is perfectly possible to garnish potential profitable information by simply looking at the names of your opponents and also where they are from. Most players do not put an awful lot of thought into this part of their game but it is perfectly possible to reveal an awful lot about yourself to savvy opponents by just blindly rushing in and choosing any old name. I see loads of screen names on Pokerloco that indicate an awful lot about a person.

I once played in a Limit Hold’em game online where there was a player that had a female name and was chatting in such a way as to make the entire table believe that they were in fact female. Of course in online play then there is no firm evidence to prove that the player concerned is anything other than what they appear to be at the outset.

But as time went on and I observed this player some more then conversations that they were having with other players at different times seemed to indicate very strongly that this player was lying about their gender.

So what does all of this mean? Well at the very least it indicates that this player for whatever reason is being deceptive and is lying at the outset and is also going out of their way to lie. By trying to get their opponents to think that they are female then this is an attempt to affect their opponents train of thought.

In my book, any person who is capable of this must also be a contender to be lying when they are involved in a pot as well i:e bluffing.

Another attempt at deception is when players refrain from revealing where they are from. There could be viable reasons for doing this like someone who does not want to be approached by people who they may know or from their general area as many people feel the need to strike up conversations online with players who are geographically close to them.

Many players of course wish to remain anonymous for personal reasons like they do not want anyone to know that they play poker online and do not want to be pegged as some “degenerate gambler” by their friends and family.

A more sinister reason to conceal your whereabouts is if you are in fact colluding with other players and you do not want the other players cottoning onto you too quickly.


Multi-tabling tells!

Because online card rooms afford players the luxury of playing more than one game at a time, this in itself opens up the possibility for a big fat tell. Believe it or not, many people get bored with the pace of online play (these people ought to try the 15-20 hands per hour in a live card game if they think that this is slow) and crave faster and faster action.

Of course, playing in more than one game in live casino play would be very difficult but most if not all card rooms would forbid it anyway. But online it is a different story with many players playing four, five or even more tables at the same time.

Now there are many reasons why people multi-table but the main two reasons are because it enables good players to potentially increase their earn rate and it also enables action junkies to be involved in more action during the same time frame. Let us analyse that for a minute, if a good player wishes to play more than one table and wants to play four tables at once then they simply cannot play the same level of attention to each game.

This means that they may be playing a more tighter solid type of game on each table. By sheer definition, any decent player who is playing on more than one table is unlikely to be playing like a maniac on each table. Having the ability to play multiple tables does afford that player the opportunity to do more folding simply because they are receiving more hands per hour than most other players.

Of course it is worth mentioning again that it is a big mistake to simply generalise with any tell and this one is no exception. But the fact of the matter is that any player that is multi-tabling is likely to be focusing their attention on one of the other tables at the time that it comes to you to possibly attack their blind or to maybe bet and take the pot away from them. Success in poker comes from the accumulation of small seemingly insignificant advantages.
Betting pattern tells

This applies of course equally as much to bricks and mortar poker as it does to online play. One of the biggest tells in poker that good players exploit and bad players suffer from is betting patterns. This is the one thing that I look for the most in any poker game. It is also very important because you really need to know as soon as possible just what kind of game you are in and also what each and every player is up to and how they are playing.

Top players rarely have discernable patterns to their play but that is not the case with lesser players and novices. Usually when a pattern reveals itself then that is an indication that you are doing too much of something. Either too much raising before the flop, too much calling, too much folding, too much check raising too much whatever it is.

By sheer nature, human beings are creatures of habit and playing poker can reveal an awful lot about a persons character and personality away from the table. Anytime you spot a player who is blatantly doing too much of something then you simply store that information and use it to formulate a strategy that best exploits that pattern of that particular player.

In many games that I have played in over the years, there have been certain players who could have simply played with their cards face up and they would not have been any less handicapped because of the fact that their betting patterns were so evident. You almost do not need cards to beat these people and in many instances….you don’t!

Carl “The Dean” Sampson can found on Pokerloco these days at www.pokerloco.com/thedean

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