A common misconception among especially inexperienced or beginner Poker players is that online Poker doesn’t really lend itself all that wonderfully to successfully figuring out the style, habits, and levels of expertise of your one’s opponents.
The truth is that while it’s definitely harder and more time-consuming a feat when playing online compared to playing at a brick-and-mortar casino, it’s far from impossible or overly challenging. Players will always provide you with a fair share of tells – the only secret is knowing where to look.
Reading Personality Types
First and foremost, to keep in mind is that online players are still people – human beings. As such, they too – not unlike the rest of us – tend to be creatures of habit. And since creatures of habit are in many situations predictable; stuck on repeat even in the case of the inexperienced; reading personality types can still mean the difference between winning and losing. Even when playing online.
Keeping track of the following traits is important:
- Sudden changes in personality and/or approach. Examples of changes in personality include: Silent Susan suddenly turning Chatty Cathy, habitual fold-ers suddenly going all-in all the time, straight arrows turning instant bluffers, etc.
- Reactions – to both winning and losing. This is typically relatively easy to spot. Take detailed notes of players making sudden exits at certain points in the game, those not beyond insulting their opponents via the live chat function, etc.
Analysing Styles Of Play
If you’re going to be keeping track of anything – taking notes on any single aspect of the game – let that “thing” be keeping track of specific Poker styles:
- Keep a look-out for “tight” players. Tight players more often than not have an important single style of play in common: they only ever play those cards they consider the absolute best in terms of risk and position. Two possibilities exist when playing opposite a tight player or playing from a tight-play position yourself. Tight playing when playing against a “loose” (more likely to risk more) player typically results in the tight player relieving the loose player of their chips. Secondly, playing aggressively when faced with a fellow tight-player can cause your opponent to lose focus. Which, of course, is what you want to see happening.
- Note the levels of aggression displayed by your opponents – especially when betting. Some people’s idea of bluffing is acting willing to part with towering heaps of chips while in reality concealing stupendously poor hands. Important to keep in mind is that this type of player typically backs down whenever the favour happens to be returned.
- Raising can be a top tell. Keeping checks on a player’s reaction to raises is a must. The trick is to keep tabs on the types of hands typically in a player’s position following their willingness to raise. Most people actually aren’t all that good at fooling their opponents at all. Knowing and believing this can become a powerful weapon when applied correctly and in relevant situations.