Reading Poker Players at Online Tables

One of the biggest aspects of live poker that goes missing in online poker is "tells". Experienced live poker players can make great reads on their opponents just by being able to stare them down and decipher their body language. However, when you're online you lose all that info, and have to rely on other tendencies to pick up reads on your opponents. This guide will give you the most common online poker tells, and tell you how to decipher them. (Learn more about live vs. online poker)

Online Tell #1 - Pre Select Buttons

Online Poker TellsOne of the most tangible things you can pick up on is if other players are using their pre select buttons. These buttons allow players to choose their moves before it's their turn, so they don't have to wait at the table until other players have acted. When the action does get to them, it is an instant move, so you can tell who is using them and who is not.

This is useful because if another player uses a pre selected button, they just gave you info about their hand. If they player had "Check" pre selected, you can almost guarantee that they have nothing, or at most a weak draw. They were looking for a free card, so they don't have much of a hand. Make sure to bet into this player because they're sure to fold.

Another pre select button that is very common is the "Call" button. In this case, the most common situation is that your opponent has either a big draw, or they already have a monster hand. If they have the draw, they want to call as quick as possible and as cheap as possible, so they use the pre select Call button. Also, if they're slow playing a monster, they may choose the check/call button, so that is something else to watch out for. However, the big draw is most common in this situation.

In limit Hold'em there is another common pre select button, and that is Raise Any. In this case, a player will raise the bet the instant action gets to them. When you see this, it's likely that your opponent has a big pocket pair, because they are confident in their hand and want to force other players to pay to draw out on them.

Online Tell #2 - Wait then Raise

One surefire online poker tell is when you're involved in a huge pot, action is on the other player, they time bank for a big decision, then raise. In this situation, you need to fold immediately, because they certainly have a monster hand.

If it was actually a close decision they would either be folding or calling, not putting more chips in the pot with a raise. The reason they wait so long before the raise is to make you feel like you have them beat, even though they have a monster hand.

Online Tell #3 - The Chat Box

When you're at a poker table make sure to pay close attention to the chat box, especially if a player just lost a big pot. The easiest way to see if a player is tilting after a big loss is to observe their chat. If they go on a rampage and start to verbally assault the other player, you can be sure they're off their game and are likely to make a bad play in the upcoming hand. Make sure to take advantage of that.

Another great way to get information from a player is by observing their betting patterns. Read our article about spotting bluffs to learn what sort of bets are fishy.

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