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Spotting Online Poker Tells

Aug 17, 2007
Traditionally, poker is played either as a table game in a private setting, such as at home or in a club setting, or in a public setting such as that of a casino. In recent years, however, with the growing popularity of the Internet, it has fast become a popular online game. Playing poker online has allowed people from different parts of the globe the opportunity to play against one another in a manner never before afforded by them. It also helps beginners learn the game and gives them the chance to improve their game and sharpen their strategy.

There are many different variants of the poker game, all of which are now being offered online. Here players can download the necessary software, and log on to a website supporting it and are instantly placed in a virtual setting. The online environment has been set up to simulate that of a traditional game, so as to offer the traditional poker experience.

In online poker, the rules are the same as in a live game. The same is true for the various strategies used to play the game. There are, however, some important differences that have required some modification in the line of thinking.

One of the most prominent differences is in spotting poker tells of your opponents. A poker tell is a gesture or expression that gives away important information about your opponent. It can be a specific facial expression your opponent may have when he or she is bluffing, or a particular gesture that may signify a good or bad hand. Knowing how to red these gestures and expressions can be crucial to your decision to play or not to play your current hand. Although some players will fake tells to try and trick their opponents, most people who develop certain habits don't even realize they are doing them.

What then, happens when you take a game traditionally played in a live environment and place it in a virtual one? If you are unable to see the faces of your opponents, you are unable to read their expressions. The same is true with gestures; however, there are certain things you can look for in an online opponent that may clue you in on their playing habits and strategies.

Though the online game was at first thought to have removed the presence of poker tells, thus, making it difficult to track the habits of your opponent, a new set of online tells is being discovered. One of which is your opponent's quickness to respond.

Though this does not always signify that your opponent is deep in thought about how the next hand should be played, it can be an indicator. Since you are unable to see your opponent, you are unaware of whether or not his or her full attention is focused on the game. If, however, you notice a pattern, either the opponent frequently responds quickly or slowly, this might serve as a poker tell.

Pause in check. This can signify that your opponent has a weak hand. If his or her hand is weak, he or she may be trying to decide how to play it

A pause in raise is often thought to signify a strong hand. If your opponent has a strong hand, he or she may wish to carefully deliberate how much to raise.

Break in auto play. It is said that a lazy approach to the auto buttons lets a player slip into a set-playing pattern. Any breaks in this pattern are thought to be clear tells.

As more and more people play online poker, and more rooms open up, it will become clearer what patterns are seen as online tells. Because of this, some of the strategy may be amended to reflect these changes. The key to winning is to pay close attention at all times, and look for these patterns. Also try to avoid them in your own playing as well.
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