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The Secret Language of Poker Tells in Online Games

The Secret Language of Poker Tells in Online Games

The Secret Language of Poker Tells in Online Games

Tells might be harder to track when playing on real money poker sites when compared to a physical game where you can see your opponent right in front of you. However, there are a few online tells which you can read to your advantage. Let’s assess how you can read them.

Betting Patterns

One of the best ways to follow how your opponent is feeling is to assess his or her betting patterns. You can make notes or some plug-in poker room software will do it for you. However you gather the data, there will be a story to tell on how your opponent is betting. A player who suddenly changes their style might be affected by how the game is playing out, are they acting quickly or slowly? Either can suggest that they are acting upon emotion. Another variable to keep an eye on is how much are they usually betting. If the player who was lauding $100 chips around is suddenly only doing $1 at a time, there could be an active tell at play. Equally, if they were very conservative before and suddenly are now brazen enough to go all-in, then it could be a tell that they’ve got some good cards.

Chat Messaging

If your real money poker site of choice has an instant messaging service, then it can be a treasure trove of information. It can however be difficult to decipher. This is because it is the most outward-facing communication device on the platform. People using it know that others will read into it and will try to make them what they want them to think. There’s a lot of double and triple-guessing what people type in here. It could be that users who consistently type are trying to distract their opponents as they have very weak hands. If they are using emojis, are they potential red herrings? I.e. they are typing the dollar sign, are they trying to boast that they have a good hand or is it they are just trying to trick you into thinking that? Assess how they communicate over time to make an informed decision on the legitimacy of their communication.

Another key attribute of instant messaging within online poker is when the opponents start talking. This can reveal their true emotions and character. They could have been very animated before the showdown but after losing it, they might suddenly go quiet showing that they aren’t as confident as they wanted to appear.


The majority of real money poker sites have systems in place to ensure that players act promptly and don’t hold up the game for everyone else. After X amount of time has elapsed a pre-determined automatic action will occur, at the same time letting everyone else at the table know that it was done by default rather than by the player’s choice. This can be a massive tell that the player is no longer sitting at their device, is disinterested in the game, or struggling to decide what to do. Either way, it could be time to capitalize on them and we’d advise you start with the best poker sites like these for new players to help you take advantage.

Timing of Bets and Actions

Closely linked to the above notion, it is worth looking at how long your opponents are taking for each play. If they are rapidly calling their actions then it’s a decent tell that they know what they are doing and want to get on with the game. If they are taking their sweet time with each play, then it could be a more inexperienced player who needs more time to consider what to do.

Player Profile and Avatar

What information is the player actively giving out about themselves? Some online poker platforms allow their users to upload a personalized avatar and even a profile detailing themselves. Read it as much as you can. Is their big picture of themselves in a tuxedo? It could suggest that they are egotistical and think highly of themselves. Does their profile biography read like their the best or worst player in the world?

Differences between Online and Offline Tells

There are a few key differences between the tells you see at the table and those on your device. When online you’re looking for any nugget of information that might help you because the platform is essentially a blank canvas compared to a live table at a casino. You can’t see your opponent twitching or touching their face all the time when they have a good hand, so you need to look elsewhere. Online tells from other means help you determine what they are thinking.

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