Texas Hold'em No Limit Beginner

Online Poker Tells

6,125 Views 7 Comments on 19/11/11

Online Poker Tells - How to exploit various tells!

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A tell is a change in a player's behavior or action that indicates their possible perception of the hand.

Tells are a part of poker and this social element of the game is what makes it so interesting and popular.

Novice players tend to believe that online poker tells don't exist and that they're only a useful tool in live games. This is far from the case. Although you can't see your opponents face a lot can be determined from the timing of their actions and bet sizing!

Timing Tells


Do you ever play a hand and get a feeling that your opponent is weak, but can't quite work out why? This is likely due to the speed the hand is progressing at. The tells discussed below aren't revolutionary, but be sure to keep them in mind as they might give you the confidence to lay down a huge hand or make a bet that you otherwise wouldn't.

A lot of information can be gleaned from how fast or slow a player plays their hand. Although not obvious, even professional players exhibit timing tells. Timing tells are often instinctive and it's rare that a player understands them or has made a conscious effort to guard against them.

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Long Wait & Check

Typically when a player waits a long time (15 seconds or more) and checks it shows that they are weak.

The player is either considering to make a play with a weak holding and has decided against it or is distracted. It is not uncommon for online poker to be played at work or when the user is just mindlessly browsing the internet. These players play recreationally and it is extremely unlikely they would get to the flop with a strong holding and play it strongly.

It is also possible that a slightly more experienced player will take a long time with a strong hand when deliberating bet sizing.

Instant Check


If you're playing a hand where an opponent is checking or calling very fast on multiple streets it's likely they're anxious to get to showdown and finish the hand.

It's not advisable to bet into this kind of player with the hope of a fold as they likely assign some value to their hand. You can certainly bet for value and might find that you earn more when holding hands like 2nd pair than you would have previously. 

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Waiting for the Big Blind

When sitting down online a pop-up will usually appear asking if you want to 'Post the Big Blind' or wait until it comes to you.

Posting the big blind out of position means that the player will likely pay the big blind twice within a a few hands. If a player does this every time they sit down they will lose a significant number of big blinds over time.

A player who posts the big blind out of position is typically an inexperienced player who does not play professionally. 

Chat Box


Generalisations can be dangerous, but in this instance they're probably justified. Professional poker players do not come to the poker table to chat and if they're doing their job properly they shouldn't be distracted no matter how interesting the conversation is. 

Have a look at the the general content of the conversation and you can probably make an informed decision. 

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Number of Tables

The more tables a player is playing the more competent they generally are. A recreational player will typically play under 4 tables. They find a few tables more than enough as they're involved in far more hands than the average player.

Professional players can be found playing 8 or more tables, but don't think the amount of tables being played automatically makes a player great. As poker has evolved a group of players has attempted to make a living by grinding rakeback & VIP deals whilst playing a high number of tables. These players are typically passive and extremely tight. Since they are playing more tables, it's more difficult for them to completely concentrate on the action at a certain table and make an informed decision, so you can definitely exploit this when you think they have a marginal hand.

Many of the online poker tells listed above relate to this - Since players will make decisions quickly when playing more tables and will appear more transparent because of this.


Jon PokerVIP

10 years and over 10 million hands of cash game poker Jon-PokerVIP brings a wealth of experience to team VIP. If he isn't winning 150k a month prop hands challenges  then he will be probably posting in our forum, streaming on twitch or making coaching con ... Read More


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Steinardo79on 1/4/18

The timing tell is so hard to interpret. "The long wait and check" hands are often turned into nut check raises.


CrazyKerion 14/9/14

I always try to wait at least a few seconds before acting, most of the time if I am going to bet I will get the bet to the right amount, act on other tables for a fews seconds then go back to click the bet button. The only time I instant act is when folding generally. Interesting article though, thanks.


Jon-PokerVIPon 17/12/13

Yer many players do this. However its tough when multi tabling.


Fat-Sunnyon 17/12/13

Interesting stuff, do you think it would be worth taking the same amount of time every hand to disguise this?



The long tank before checking means they are super weak. So i now do this when strong to get them to bet! hehe


Jon-PokerVIPon 28/11/13

Yer i agree with this also! Any other reads?


Sneakson 7/3/12

Iv came to believe that a check then an instant call OOP the villain is normally holding some sort of draw and a big bet on the turn when a brick hits normally takes it down.
Also when a player min raises on a dry flop it normally means air and trying to be like Phil Ivey so 3 bet to see what happens (dont recommend a 5bet jam to another min raise tho), works more than it fails.


ipokersuckson 24/12/11

NIce one,thx for the info.

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