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Full Tilt Poker

Poker Strategy


Online Poker Tells

online poker

One big disadvantage for online poker players is that it is impossible to get physical reads on other players. In other words, they can’t look at other player’s facial expressions, body language and demeanor. However, one particularly potent form of online poker tell is the timing tell. Before I get into specific’s, I want to pass on something to you which I believe is imperative to understand so that you will avoid give off timing tells.

When playing online poker do you best to take the same amount of time for your decisions no matter what your hand looks like in order to avoid giving off timing tells. By doing this you will not allow other players to gauge how weak or strong you are.

So for example

A player raises preflop, always take roughly the same amount of time when calling. Maybe count to 5 and call.

A player raises preflop, always take  the same amount of time when you decide to 3-bet. Personally, I like to wait for timebank, click it, wait for 5, then immediately bet.

You called preflop, and a player continuation bets, if I’m going to call I will count to 5 and call. If I’m going to raise, ill wait for timebank, click it, count to 5 and raise. Some of my practices might seem a bit OCD but I’m sure they are effective.

The only time I recommend not taking a large amount of time on a decision, is when you decide to open raise preflop, just wait a few seconds, the click raise (That being said, a fast preflop raise can sometimes be indicative of strength, or a tilted player). The other time you obviously don’t have to take a large amount of time is when folding, when you know your decision is to fold, don’t slow up the game. That being said, there is sometimes some merit to tanking say when you get raised to make your opponent think you have a decision, or make them think you are contemplating playing back. In those spots, making your opponent sweat when you plan to fold maybe a good idea. This is the online equivilent of the Ivey stare!

Ok, so I guess I’ve gone a little off tangent but now im going to get into the real meat of the article. Online poker timing tells!

Fast calls postflop are usually indicative of a medium strength hand or with a weak player, a draw. The reason why against strong players they are usually not draws is because strong players will always think about whether or not they should raise there draw. By medium strength hand it can be anything as strong as a weak top pair, middle pair or say 88 on a K27 board.

After showing aggression quick checks from your opponent on the turn and river indicate a medium strength hand or weak strength hand. I’m not talking about [ pause pause pause check], its relatively normal to take that length of time without the lead because the standard play in most spots is to check to the aggressor. However, an instant check from a weak player, especially on the river, indicates a hand that’s giving up or is weak. Its almost as if they are angry that they missed there draw or another over card came to there middle pair and they are essentially checking fast and giving up on the pot.

A fast 3-bet preflop from a regular is usually indicative of AK or a bluff hand.

The key behind all fast timing tells, IE fast call, fast check, is that when someone has a strong hand say 2pair, a set or a strong top pair, they are inclined to think about whether they want to raise. So when someone acts very fast, they rarely ever have a nutted hand in there range.

If you encounter someone who you know knows everything mentioned in this article you may want to throw in a reverse timing tell. IE checking fast with a very strong hand. I don’t do this much but it has been known to work on a few occasions vs the correct players. I think it would work more if you are an unknown and everyone doesn’t know you as a strongish regular.

Slow timing is alot harder to get a read on. The main reason for this is that many different reasons could contribute to someone taking a long time to make a decision. Some guy could be paying for his pizza, going to the toilet or watching a movie on his PC. So slow timing doesn’t necessarily mean anything. If an opponent usually acts in a normal speed, and then takes a long time to make a decision hes either A) Distracted  B) Has a marginal hand contemplating a big call C) Trying to level you into believing he has a weak hand. Therefore, the slow timing tell has alot less relevancy and cant really be seen as accurate to telling you anything. This is essentially why its important to take the same amount of time for all your actions because you will be able to have a strong hand, a weak hand or a hand that needs time to make a tough decision!

Overall timing tells are something to think about but they don’t make up a large part of my game. They are only useful for eliminating certain hands from an opponents range and being able to hand read better. That is essentially what all timing tells are about, getting a better read on the strength of your opponents.

A much bigger part of gaining “tells” on your opponent comes from taking notes or making assumptions based on there past play. So for example, if your opponent 3-bets AK AQ and AJ preflop when you raise the button and he just calls from the blinds, when an ace flops it may be hard for him to ever have a better hand than AT. This may or may not be any use to you, but there will definitely be spots where you will be able to make good bluffs or good hero call downs based on the assumptions you have made on your opponents range. IE he can potentially have alot of bluff hands in his range and relatively few value hands, so a light call on the river may be good. Or his range is full of marginal strength hands on the river, I think my bet will be profitable because it will fold most of them out.


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