How to Avoid Giving Off Online Poker Tells

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In this photograph taken on October 25, 2019, poker gaming chips stand on a table. (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP)

Gathering information on our opponents in a game of online poker is hugely beneficial in that moment and the future when you cross swords again. Firstly, you must respect that you cannot see your opponent like in a live game and therefore, we need to always be looking for clues as to how our opponent plays.

Equally, we need to remember that if we play a game of online poker for many hours with the same opponents, we need to sometimes mix it up later when our consistent approach has limited their online poker tells.

Be Consistent in Your Action

If you’re new to online poker, you need to have techniques to outmaneuver your opposition because even if you have a good hand, inconsistency in your action will affect your results.

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1. Avoid the Instant Check 

When your opponent checks to you, never instant check, this allows your opponent to feel that you want to see cards for cheap. Try and let the time bank run down a little and a reasonably consistent amount on most occasions.

This keeps your opponent guessing as to whether your action is a result of their action or because of your hand strength. Equally, if you are going to bet should your opponent check, wait a similar length of time, that consistency limits your opponent’s read.

2. Avoid Tank-Calling  

Tank-Calling is when you let the clock run down an inordinate amount of time before calling. Your opponent could construe that you are unsure of your action. As you become advanced and further into a game, you could use this to your advantage if you think, your opponent thinks, they have a read on your actions, or you simply want to mislead them.

3. Avoid Tank-Raising 

The impression given in a game of online poker when a player takes his maximum amount of time before raising is that they have the ‘nut hand’ or a very strong hand. Equally, if after the tank you make a bigger than normal raise, this gives the impression that your hand is unbeatable. Unless your opponent is a deep-thinking, really good player you have a history with – avoid tank-raising.

4. Avoid Tanking Every Decision

If you take an inordinate amount of time over every decision it will give the impression that you’re playing multiple online poker tables. The product of this will be that a good deep-thinking opponent will try and sneak moves past you if they believe you are not paying 100% attention, all of the time.

5. Avoid Betting Identical Amounts

As you get deeper into a game of online poker avoid betting identical amounts or using the buttons that have a pre-designated amount. For example:

  • if there is $10 in the pot and your options are through pre-designated keys saying ¼ pot = 2.50, ½ pot = 5.00 or ¾ pot = 7.50.  

Then, as mentioned in previous tutorials, it will be more efficient to bet $6.66, so key the amount in separately. There are some online poker providers whose software pre-designates the amount in percentage terms through their hotkeys.  

If you choose to do so, then change amounts slightly during the game so to show your opponent that every action you make, is a unique one and not a pre-determined one.  If a good opponent reads your actions are pre-determined they will try and make plays against you.

6. Avoid Complaining About How Others Play

Online poker can be full of bad losers who complain about how their opponent played a hand when they lost a pot to them.  This form of berating will lead your opponents to assume you’re an egomaniac. This kind of a tell means good players will be planning to use that against you later in the game.

7. Avoid Ranting Over a Bad Beat

Bad beats happen all the time during an online poker game and any ranting you do in the chat box will encourage your opponents to believe you’re on tilt. They will look to play back in pots against you in the belief that while you’re on tilt you will be susceptible to losing all your chips.

8. Don’t Be a Blabbermouth

If you chat constantly to your opponents during a game of online poker, then if you suddenly go quiet during a hand, this will insinuate you have a monster hand.

Final Thoughts 

Like all our actions make them consistent without being predictable long-term. Refrain from chatting in the chat box or just keep things simple and courteous.

Remember, every action I make provokes a reaction or a gaining of knowledge for our opposition. For this reason, take heed of the points made to optimize your game with the goal of giving away the minimum online poker tells possible.