Poker Articles -
Poker Tells - Signals:
When you play Texas Holdem Poker online there are signals you
can pick up on that will give you the edge over your opponents
and increase your profits.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard newcomers to
the game of Texas Holdem say to me “how can you have a poker
tell online?" Many believe success is due to the cards alone
because you can’t see you opponents across the other side of the
table. Such attitudes, combined with the speed of play (online
poker is much faster than the land based poker game) make it a
more profitable place for those that have taken the time to
learn the signals.
Here’s my top 10 poker tells that you
need to pick up on:
1) Weak is strong – The most common of all poker tells and one
you’ll have heard many times before. If you have a hand you are
betting and your opponent is simply calling you down then you
are probably in trouble. Calling down large bets is more
commonly an indication of over-cards or a hidden set.
2) Timing – A lot can be read into timing. I would actually be
more accurate in naming this tell “false timing" to give the
impression of thought, or indecision. In its most common form
you find this poker tell combining with the first point. Players
who wait for a period, often going into their online time bank
to send out the required impression before calling. This action
hardly ever indicates indecision – your opponent has you beaten,
you just don’t realize it yet.
3) Players that use the instant call button – You often see this
in online poker play and, more often than not, it indicates
players who have no hand but who are looking to catch cards.
They are impatient to get on to the next set of hands. Raise it
up and watch them fold.
4) Frequent aggressive betting pre-flop – Usually this indicates
a quality player who recognize that aggression is the way to go.
The exception are players who act in this way at the start of
large No Limit Texas Holdem Tournaments where this signifies a
player who does not have the requisite 5-6 hours required to
make it to the end of the game. If you are fortunate to receive
large starting cards put them out of their misery early.
Returning to the players who re-raise by decent amounts each
hand. It is likely that you need to be prepared to go all-in
with whichever hand you chose to call a flop (at some expense)
and top pair would be my recommendation for proceeding. The
biggest and common mistake people make against these players is
to call down bets while attempting to catch cards. You will pay
dearly for those extra cards. Don’t be intimidated by this
playing style ( it is unusual ), simply wait for the big
starting hand and slow play it to max miss value.
5) Players that are multi-tabling – You can’t do this in a land
based card room, but it is more common than you may expect
online. If you play for any duration at the same poker room
you’ll see player names time and again and realize they are
playing up to six Texas Holdem tables at once. Amateur poker
players do not multi-table so you need to avoid these players at
all cost. They often operate under names that are difficult to
remember such as “cra5313t".
6) Players who are using “Table Position." Table position is
arguably the most important concept in Texas Holdem Poker. It is
surprising to me that most people playing today know little or
nothing about it. It won’t take long however to see betting
based on table position alone (2 or more bets from late position
usually being all you need to confirm it). This tells you that
the player making the move is an accomplished poker player and
should be treated as such.
7) The check then re-raise: One of the most clear tells you’ll
ever see, especially when employed after the turn card. A check
then re-raise is the clearest signal of hand strength that you
can give online. When this happens to you then it is important
you realize that your opponent is max missing the value of his
hand. The fact that this strategy is such a clear Texas Holdem
Tell means it can be employed as an effective bluffing strategy
( although I’ve only ever seen it deployed against me as a
person with a genuinely strong hand telling me what he has ).
The check re-raise used as a bluff works best where the Turn
Card makes 3 suited cards to a flush. If you check then go for a
medium to large re-raise you’ll probably steal the pot. If your
re-raise is called then unfortunately for you your opponent has
already made the flush you are pretending to hold !
8) People who do not post blinds immediately upon arriving at a
table. You won’t often see players joining a table in this way (
joining but not immediately entering the action ). Where you do
notice it you should have respect for the player as it is a sign
a) good bankroll management,
b) a multi-tabling player who is
occupied elsewhere, or
c) someone quietly observing the
play before joining.
This Poker Tell shows intelligence
which you need to associate with a high quality player.
9) Date in Name – Quite often you will see players who’ve chosen
a name like “Jack1983". Usually these players tried to play as
“Jack" at the point of signing up and having been rejected for
that name they couldn’t think of an alternative. The date of
birth gives you information you shouldn’t have. In this case
your opponent is 23 years old and certainly won’t have the
experience to play like Doyle Brunson.
10) Table chat – My final Poker Tell is a lucrative source of
information in the online poker world. A surprising number of
people want to coach each others play based on the observation
of a single hand they just won. The best form of table chat is
observing the people that swear ( software often cuts out such
chat with **** or other marks ). The people clearly lack
etiquette but also intelligence. If you don’t mind the comments
they are easily put on tilt with a few choice observations about
their vocabulary skills. Players on tilt almost always lose to a
slow played large starting hand against an enemy they are
desperate to prove a point against.