Online Poker Tells

While "tells" are one of the major advantages that savvy poker players exploit in live brick and mortar casinos, this ability is slightly hampered in an online casino by the fact that players are represented by avatars or just a simple text name. However, to the astute observer, even online players show tells that can provide and us with an extra edge.

The Chat Box

Just as in a live casino, a player's chattiness can be a tell as to the confidence he has in his cards. If a player says "call" when he bets on the river, if you can determine if he does that when he bluffs or if he only does it when he has a monster hand, you can gain or save bets. Some players will talk alot, and when they have a hand automatically stop typing. It is your job as the careful note taking player to determine what these behaviors mean. If you can determine a pattern then you have picked up your first online tell.


While there are quality programs like Poker Tracker that will actually break this down for you, you can get an idea very quickly of whether a player is in every hand or seems to fold a lot of cards. If a player is in every hand, it's an easy tell that he is loose, and can be exploited. A player who patiently waits on a quality hand is one you will not want to be facing come showdown unless you yourself have a very nice hand.

Speed of Play

How long it takes a player to make an action can be a major online tell. Does the quick bet mean a bluff or confidence in a big hand? Does the slight pause show weakness or is he trying to sucker you into calling one more bet? Most players tend to do one or the other of these types of behaviors habitually. I once found a player who always made about a 2 second pause before bluffing on the river, while he would automatically bet if he had a high quality hand. You can imagine how much money this made me in that session, as I was able to pick off almost every bluff and fold to his monsters, simply because I was observant enough to pick up his tell.

Use of Check Boxes

The online poker rooms have supplied check boxes for players to check what they want to do prior to the action reaching them, to speed up play. This is quite an easy tell as well. If a player has "raise any" checked, he's probably got a quality hand. With the "call any" button checked, he might be on a draw or have a marginal hand he is not quite ready to fold. An automatic check behind you might show the player is weak and ready to fold to any aggressive bet. Again, find those players who use the check boxes and figure out what their actions mean in relation to their cards and you have picked up valuable information.

There are more online tells to be picked up, I am quite sure. All it takes is being observant to the other players actions. The smallest things can mean extra chips for you, if you will take the time to watch and take advantage.