When it comes to online poker, most people assume that the game is completely different than the way it’s played offline. While there are some distinct differences between offline poker and online poker, one thing remains the same: human behavior. Indeed, human players still have to sit down to the table, and they bring their own blend of strengths and weaknesses to each and every game. Since you will be battling the human element as much as you will be battling the cards themselves, it’s important to pick up on the elements of human behavior that you can actually manipulate to your advantage. In the case of online poker, it’s the “tell”, or the markers of human behavior that exist within a poker game. Tells expose player behavior, which can tip you off to what they’re actually holding. Even though you aren’t able to see what a person is actually doing, you can still tell a lot from their playing style.
Generally speaking, online tells are categorized in the same way as offline tells are — markers of whether a player is actually feeling strong, or if they’re truly feeling weak. For example, one of the biggest online tells around is the length of a pause. Pausing in online poker means that you’re trying to concentrate, which isn’t a bad idea. Concentration is the key when there’s serious action happening on the tables. However, what isn’t normal is a long pause that is followed immediately be a raise. If someone is thinking about raising and they push forward immediately, it’s usually the sign of a player that has a strong hand. If you know that you have an equally strong hand, then you can raise yourself. On the other hand, if you know that you don’t have anything worth playing; it could be a good time to fold.
Let’s look at it from the other point of view — the weak players. When a player decides to call quickly without even raising, it is often the sign that they don’t have anything worth playing in their hand. They’re hoping that you will either fold your hand and give them the victory, or otherwise back down. This is often the mark of a beginning player, since this is one of the key cornerstones of trying to scare someone off.
As you can see, online tells really do exist in online poker. By playing more hands over time, you will pick up on other “online tells” that can be identified more from experience than anything else — good luck!