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April 19, 2005

Online Poker Tells

Posted at April 19, 2005 03:27 PM in Beginner Topics , by Greedy Gecko.

Until online poker moves forward into the world of webcams (which is a day I hope we never see), reading your opponent is entirely different than in brick and mortar casinos. Specifically, you must base your reads solely on their play (both historical and in the specific hand) and their response time. Note that since I am an enthusiastic supporter of multi-table play, I tend to ignore reading my opponents except in tournament play, and prefer to play my hand and the board consistently over the long run.

If you are observant, you can pick up two very common tells amongst low-stakes players. Both of these tells will assist you in identifying when your opponent is on a draw.

Speed of Play
When a low-stakes player flops a draw, either flush or straight, their decision time is very short. Basically, they immediately determine that they will call any small to pot sized bet in the hopes of hitting their draw. Consequently, when they are faced with a bet, they don’t take any time to consider alternative plays and are extremely quick to call.

If you consider the thought processes required with other hands, it is easy to see why a quick call implies a drawing hand. If the flop immediately helps your hand, you consider various alternatives when faced with a bet. Should you call, raise, fold? What does your opponent have? These considerations, as well as the many others you must assess, take some time. Alternatively, when you have a drawing hand you can ignore these considerations until you hit or miss your hand.

Betting Pattern
When low-stakes players hit a flush or straight draw, they often will bet the minimum bet throughout the hand in order to draw cheaply. Fortunately for them, this tactic works fairly often, as players with made hands will choose to call the minimum bet rather than put in a raise. These drawing players will suddenly dramatically increase the size of their bet when the flush or straight card hits.

Both of these trends are fairly common in low-stakes poker. Armed with this understanding, you should make every effort to make the drawing players pay heftily for the privilege.

The Greedy Gecko