Online Poker Tells

One of the first thing any poker player must learn is to hide their tells, and how to find other player's tells. New players tend to mistakenly think that just because the other players cannot see their face, the way they sit, or even how excited or nervous they are, that there are no tells online. This is not true, and while they may not hear you yelling to your wife that you are on a flush draw, there are online tells that can give away your excitement. Here's a list of some of the most common or easy to notice tells.


Just like when playing with your buddies, you can tell quite a bit about another player's hands by the way they chat. A chatty person who suddenly goes quiet may have a very strong hand. Someone who turns suddenly aggressive likely has a weak hand and is trying to bluff people with their overconfidence. However these should always be considered carefully, as some players will play with their chatbox turned off. Other times, a player who is abusive or angry may be “on tilt”, and is emotionally checked out. Players on tilt cannot play good poker, and will be unpredictable and wild with their lack of strategy.

Speed of Play

This is another tell that is not only comes into play in online casinos, but offline as well. Players can try to slow play and fast play others at the table. Fast play- or immediately betting is typically considered a sign of weakness. Players who are overly excited, or trying to rush play typically have weak hands. Slow play can be a sign of strength- players carefully considering their cards, their strategy. However thanks to online poker, these tells must be more carefully considered. Slow play can also be a bluff, the player trying to antagonize and annoy other players by running out the entire time bank before choosing.

This is not the only change that online poker has made to this well known tell, however. Online poker rooms have small tick boxes for player's convenience that allow them to decide to Check, Fold, and Bet before it is even their turn. Players who use these buttons are typically very easy to notice as they are lightning fast. Even players who decide quickly will have a one or two second delay while the computer will instantly skip over the players who have preselected their move. This ability can make it difficult at times to tell if someone is fast playing or not. It should be taken into account that players who use this feature are already very confident about their cards, to the point where their decision was made before seeing what other players choices are.

Beginner's Tells

There are some habits of new players that are obvious and predictable to more experienced players. Examples are waiting one card to bet- if you just got dealt a pair, for example, some strategies tell you to wait and bet after one more card is played. However if you do this every time, and bet heavily, other players will notice your strategy. It's a well-known strategy, and quite frankly, not a very good one. Experienced players will simply run you over when they notice how new you are.

Another beginner mistake is the “bet with a weak hand, check with a strong hand” strategy. While these are not necessarily bad strategies to have in your arsenal, any tips that recommend you always follow a specific set of behaviours such as betting on a weak hand will only cost you money. Other players will notice how consistent you are, and will be able to read your cards with no problem.

Avoiding Tells

While watching for tells is a great strategy to help up your win percentage, they're not foolproof. Some more experienced players will at times play consistently poorly, and suddenly change strategies to throw other players at the table off. Other times may get frustrated and bet erratically. The most important thing to remember is to avoid developing tells of your own. Don't play when emotional or frustrated. Make a conscious effort to avoid common strategies, and you'll be a step above the players who aren't aware of how their betting habits can reveal the cards they hold.