Tips on Tells: What Your Opponents are Telling You
- Player Pace – This tell refers to the speed at which your opponents play. This is a tell that is also used in real life playing. Based off of average players a slow bet will usually indicate a good hand which is taking some consideration while a quick bet is usually indicative to a weak hand. The best players, yourself included, will realize this is a tell they themselves might give away.
- The Big Blind - Before a player even sits down at the table you can sum up one part of their game. In online poker you have the option when entering a game to either go ahead and jump in the game and pay a dead big blind bet, or you can save some money and wait until the big blind comes around to you then join the game. If someone jumps right in it is a very good tip off that they are most likely an impatient player.
- Online Auto Plays – Exclusive to online poker playing auto plays are options many sites offer to players that allows them to set an automatic response in betting rounds. Typically there are check boxes for check, raise any and call. You should not use this option since most of the time it is a dead giveaway as to what you are holding. If a betting response happens in a second’s time they are most likely using the auto play option. If they are calling every hand it’s safe to assume they have a hand with possibilities but nothing yet.
The smartest players will show consistency in the pace of every decision. Jot down how quickly the players at your table are making their choices to get a good idea of their overall speed. If the cards are ever shown to is highly to your advantage to make note of the cards and how they played them. That way you’ll know what kind of cards change their pace of play.
This is a good thing for you because these players don’t concentrate as much as others, and they obviously didn’t realize waiting for the big blind would have given them the chance to study their opponents. These impatient players tend to be loose players so pay attention to how they handle the first few hands.
They are wanting to see the next card but don’t necessarily want to encourage others to re-raise. If they are raising any then obviously they have a strong hand or it’s possible they are bluffing. A study as to what type of player they are will give you a good idea of whether it’s a bluff or not. If they are calling everything they most likely have a weak hand and are just trying to see the next card for free.
Affective note taking should give you both quick, basic info that can be read and processed in a second as well as detailed notes to give you better insight of what you’re up against. Remember, online you’ll be playing many different players some of which you’re likely to play more than once. The only way to keep track of them all is with strong notes.
Always make a note of whether they are a loose or tight player depending on what the tells above tell you. This comes from notes you take on how they play. Pay attention to how different players react from the early, middle and late positions as this will alter a good player’s strategy. Note mentioned above but worth noting is how a player protects their blinds as well as how they play a strong hand.
Make sure your notes aren’t too general. If you see what cards the player had don’t just say they raised with KQ. These are connected face cards and the player probably would have done the same thing if it was QJ. Therefore a better note would be “raised with connected face cards before the flop”. This is especially true if you find the same results in similar situations.
Understand that your notes are documents in process. You’ll be constantly adding to them and altering them as you follow a player. It’s not unreasonable to assume their playing style and strategy will morph over time. These are observations and anything you see can help you later on down the line.
Finally understand that just as you are looking for these tells others are looking for them in you. Make sure to change up your game every now and then to throw others off and make them second guess their own notes. Take note of players that seem to do the same as they are probably stronger players that understand the game. Just as with everything else in life nothing is set in stone and you’re notes are simply a guideline to give you an edge when playing.
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- Tips on Tells 1 - Introductory advice on how to read players tendencies online.
- Tips on Tells 2 - Advanced advice on reading online opponents at the poker tables.
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