Online Poker Tells

In poker “tells” are actions or gestures by players in reaction to a specific circumstance.  This predominately unconscious cues can result from a player trying to disguise the strenght or weakness of their hand, as a result of insecurity or uncertainty or base emotions like fear or anger.  They can be interpreted by an astute observer/s and utilised to gain and edge over an opponent.  In a live game tells take on physical form-looks, gestures and other actions.  In online poker rooms such things are impossible to deduce.

For online players the key to the tell is often in the speed: how quickly your opponent acted either individually or in response to another’s action.  This can speak volumes about that person’s hand.  When players are dealt a hand they may opt to select their next action( fold, check, call, raise and so on).  Depending on the type of player/s and which option they select you can often gauge the power of their hand.

Bluffing and Lying

When someone bluffs in a poker game they are basically lying about their hand. Normally when people lie they might also give away the type of hand they have. There are some classic tell-tale signs you must be on the lookout for. Some players are better liars than others and can clearly disguse their deception. That’s why it’s important to observe your opponets carefully.

If a player is caught bluffing, take note of what made the bluff obvious. You may also use this knowledge to catch the player bluffing a future game. A classis tell-tale sign that the player is lying about his hand is when he brings his hand to his face, covering his mouth, stroking the chin, crossing the arms and playing with his hair.

When some people are lying they tend to look down. A quick glance to the upper right can be a sign of lying. Others will maintain eye contact to convince you that they are being truthful. The most obvious sign that a player is lying is a change in behaviour. If a player is suddenly sitting very still when they were previously moving in a relaxed manner, you need to be suspicious. If a player was previously quiet and relaxed is behaving as if they have a lousy hand or acting like they’ve got a great hand, pay attention. Does a player project a natural air of confidence or is the player visibly nervous?

The quick call. When players call too quickly they’re trying to shake you up and pretend that they have the better hand.   It’s usually a weak draw and that want to keep you from betting again.

Instant bet/raise (early): Players who bet quickly, but no too much early in the hand typically have strong cards and have reached their decision to play before it was even their turn to act.

Instant bet/raise (River): Be cautious of the instant bet or raise on the River.  This is normaly indicative of a strong hand, but they want to think you’re bluffing.  Watch out.

Instant check: A player in an early position who checks automatically may be slow-playing a strong hand to see what kind of action will ensue from other players at the table.  If the same player were in a late position and did this, it means that the person’s hand is weak.

Slow Check: Players who take their time before checking are usually holding a weak hand and are most likely on a draw.  They want you to think they’re considering raising to prevent you from betting so that they can see another hand.

Things To Look Out For

  • Fidgeting: When the players can’t sit still, nervous movement of the hands and feet, when the player starts fiddling with his chips, or when his hands are trembling.
  • A change of voice, it can be the pitch or stuttering.
  • Drinking more than usual.
  • Sweating profusely.
  • Change in the vein in the top side of the face shows a fluctuation in blood pressure.
  • Licking the lips.
  • Handling objects.
  • Asking questions about your hand.
  • Some players will start acting to give the impression that they have a good hand. There are distinct differences between a faked impression and a real impression. The human face can make up to 500 impressions. Poker players have perfected the art of a ‘poker face’. a fake smile will give no movement of the wrinkle lines around they eyes.
  • Many people assume that a liar will avoid eye contact on the contrary a good liar will look you in the eye. To hide their facial expressions poker players will either wear a cap or sumglasses.


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