We’ve all heard the term ‘poker face.’ Just that very phrase is enough to know that much of poker play is about psychology, making your opponents do something that they would otherwise not have done. When playing in a land-based casino, face to face with your opponents, it is more straightforward to ‘tell’ when they’re bluffing. How can you decipher when a weak player is trying to act strong, or a strong player wanting to appear weak when you’re playing online? Surprisingly, there is plenty that you can do in order to ‘tell’ your opponents’ game.
Look for a betting pattern
Some players bet a specific amount when they have a good hand and another amount when they have a weaker hand. It’s up to you to concentrate and notice the betting patterns. Once you’ve worked it out, you can begin to predict their play.
The instant raise
Usually, although not always, a player who raises the stakes instantly with barely a moment’s hesitation, is very confident of having a particularly strong hand. Of course, it could be a double bluff, but this is less likely online than at a land-based casino.
Look out for the auto-selections
Pretty much every online poker table will give you the option of selecting an ‘auto raise’ or an ‘auto call.’ Unless a player is very sneaky, using the ‘auto raise’ is usually a sign of a very strong hand and the ‘auto call’ usually signifies a weaker hand.
Keep an eye on the chat
There are some players that like to pop up in the chat box and have a conversation. Usually, they want to talk about a previous hand or tactics. This is an excellent resource. Usually, it is an inexperienced player trying to engage with other players. In reality, they are simply showing you their playbook.
Opponents who call quickly
Keep an eye out for players who very quickly call your bet. Quite often they don’t have a great hand, but want to show that they’re not scared of your bet. If they really did have an impressive hand, they would likely raise the bet. If they don’t, then it’s probably just a bluff.
Watch out for very small bets
If the pot is small, you sometimes find a player who raises it by consistently small amounts. Attempting to appear confident, they often don’t have a great hand, but just want to draw others into folding.
Don’t be thrown by the check-raise
There are many online players, often inexperienced, who simply call or check consistently. However, every once in a while you’ll notice that they decide to check-raise the hand. This is usually a sure sign that they have a strong hand.
Players who consistently go all in
You will sometimes come across a player who keeps on betting all in. Logically, it is almost impossible that they will have a massively strong hand on each occasion. More likely, they just have money to burn. Be wary, but you can sometimes take advantage.
Look out for multi-tabling players
It is quite common for experienced players to play on more than one table at any one time. So, if you want to know more about their strategy, just open up some extra tables and observe what’s going on. You’ll soon work them out.
Track the stats
These days, there is poker software that provides you with statistical history on your opponents. It’s a goldmine of useful information.
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Gavin writes on a wide range of subjects, including articles and reviews about online casinos, slots, bingo, poker, and sportsbooks. He has considerable expertise in the games, customer service, and other aspects of today’s leading gambling and betting portals.