Online poker is a psychological game. Players with good reading ability and well timed aggression are successful online poker players with the skills needed to build up a huge bankroll starting from the low stakes tables moving through to mid stakes games and beyond.
Some people believe online poker is a completely different game, Since it’s played interactively online and the more serious online players are using heads-up displays, they feel it changes the game in a drastic manner. However, this isn’t the case at all. The truth of the matter is that if you can’t beat the micro stakes without using a HUD, then it’s likely because you just suck at poker, a HUD can only help you so much. You still need to play poker, and reading online poker tells will give you better results.
But when it comes to playing poker online, there is the misconception that tells are not a big part of the game. While playing online poker it’s not possible for you to see your opponents and every possible move they might be making, you can still analyse the other player’s actions, including their betting tells, since they can reveal a lot of information relating to the strength of their hand.
Betting patterns are one of the few good “tells” you have in online play. It involves using pattern recognition with regards to patterns of betting, as well as other online “tells” to get a better idea on how you expect an opponent to play their hands.
For example, if you see a TAG player c-betting every time they have raised the pot before the flop, it means they can’t always be expected to have a big hand every time they continue their aggression on the flop. The studying of betting patterns will help you to formulate a plan in the hand versus any opponent you encounter at the poker tables. So everytime you bet, raise, or decide to just flat call, you will have a reason for what you decided that was the best line to take. Using the same example above, against a player always c-betting, you can think about floating the flop with any two cards basically, and look to take it down on the turn when it gets checked to you. Obviously, however, you still need to credibly represent a hand.
For the most part, players will reveal the true strength of their hand on the river. So even though it’s possible to put them on a bluff both on the flop and turn, if all you have is a bluff catcher and you’re facing another big bet on the river, it would be advised to let go of your hand, as the chances of still having the best hand is very unlikely. By thinking about it in a logical manner , and analysing the betting patterns of your opponents, it will help to improve your game in a big way.
Be mindful of timing tells while playing. It would be a good idea to observe the speed of your play because it’s a good idea to always take a similar amount of time for every decision you make. There is an allotted time slot for a player to make a decision, but you really shouldn’t need any more than around 5 seconds to make most decisions, and you should take this amount of time regardless if you are stealing with a weak hand or have a strong hand, so the timing reveals nothing about your actual hand. When it comes to observing online poker timing tells, bets made after some careful consideration can be a sign of a strong hand, as you are thinking about the best bet size to extract value from worse hands while betting fast might just be an attempt to try and steal the pot.
If you have watched TV poker for any length of time, then you would know that Phil Hellmuth loves talking at the table. While you don’t have the benefit of talking to players during an online hand in an attempt to extract valuable information out of an opponent the times you’re sitting on the fence with your hand, you can still take advantage of the chat box, assuming players at your table haven’t deactivated chat and it’s not an all-in situation.
If you happen to notice a lot of chat taking place in the chat box, there is a good chance he is holding a strong hand trying to get a call out of you. Pay close attention to what is said in the chat box whilst in hands and even when you aren’t involved in one as quite often it can reveal a lot about how you expect them to play their hands. And if you’re unfamiliar with the poker terminology used by opponents in the online chat box, you should get up to speed on it sooner rather than later.
All in all, the use of online poker tells, although not as safe as live poker tells, are still hugely important when playing poker online. It is just one part of your overall poker arsenal to become a solid winning online poker player. Of course, there are other tactics which can help you improve your poker game, including playing disciplined poker and picking good spots to bluff. A big advantage of playing online poker is the ability to use well-timed bluffs to really put the pressure on your opponents. There is no reason for online poker players to wear shades in order to hide any tells they may be giving to other opponents, making it much easier to pull the trigger when you think the time is right to.