Online Poker Timing Tells

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Photo-session in studio of the Russian girlOnline poker is a different beast to live poker. Although there are no body language signs and other physical tells which can give away the strength of an opponent’s hand, there are other behaviors to look for in opponents when playing online poker.

In this article we’ll focus on bet timing tells as we feel that they are one of the most important tells that online poker players can use. All of these suggestions are pure generalizations but it’s better having something to go by then nothing at all, and you should watch out for tricky players who are deliberately using tactics to disguise the strength of their hands. With that being said, at the low stakes tables, most players are inexperienced and lack the poker acumen to throw out fake tells.

So, without further adieu, here are some of the most common online poker timing tells.

A delay followed by an opponent betting can indicate that an opponent has a strong hand.

This is one of the very popular bet timing tells used by online poker players. It is often done to fake weakness when really they have a strong hand. Sometimes they can be genuinely trying to think about how much to bet, but its usually done in an attempt to trick opponents.

A delay followed by an opponent calling can indicate that an opponent has a weak hand.

If an opponent appears to be doing some sort of calculation, then they’re likely trying to calculate in their head how much the pot odds are giving to see if it’s worth making the call so likely don’t have a very good hand.

Similarly, a delay before checking is usually a sign of a weak hand. A player who is wanting to check raise is going to check it back fairly quickly.

Auto bets and raises on the turn or river can indicate a very strong hand.

There is a strong possibility that the opponent has a strong hand as he or she could have set the auto-bet option to bet/raise automatically. On the flip side, if an opponent auto-checks on the flop, turn or river, it can usually be an indication of a weak hand, as the opponent is attempting to see the next card without investing more chips into the pot.

Instant calls can indicate that an opponent has a drawing hand.

A player who instantly calls without thinking about it can often mean they are on a draw. If they had a made hand they would at least have to contemplate their decision for a bit longer as a strong hand may consider a raise and a weakish made hand doesn’t know if they’re currently ahead or not.

You can ensure that you do not give the opponents you’re playing against any clues as to the strength of your hand by taking about the same amount of time to make each decision that you make. For instance, you could take 5 seconds before deciding regardless of whether you will check, raise, or fold when the action is on you, so as not to give away any timing tells.

Also, keep in mind you can not give too much weight to timing tells in online poker when playing against multi-tablers especially, because any pause in play can be a result of a decision they have to make at another table.