How to Read Poker Players

Many new poker players jump headlong into an online game with a strategy chart in-hand and hope for the best. While this is a great way to learn, these players should also learn the basics of reading their opponents.

Online Tells

Poker tells are obvious when they are observed in a real-life setting, but noticing these subtle cues when playing online can prove incredibly difficult. For instance, while an opponent may twitch his nose if he has a good hand in real life, this is not observable in an online venue. Instead, players must learn to watch how their opponents react in certain situations and exploit this for all that it is worth.


Bluffing is one of the most common poker tells, and inexperienced players are easily called out. Most new players will attempt to bluff their opponents by making them think they have a great hand when they really have nothing to speak of, but they will never attempt to play down an excellent hand due to their overwhelming excitement. Conversely, experienced players will likely try to play down their high hands in an effort to grow the pot.

Sudden Behavior Changes

If an opponent who was once very talkative in the chat area of the poker room suddenly goes silent, or if that same opponent begins to take a long time making decisions, this is another tell that can be exploited. Generally, when an opponent starts acting slowly, it means that they are seriously contemplating their next move and are unsure of their choices. This may mean that the player is bluffing, but it may also mean that they are wrapped up with something happening within their home or play area.

Poker players are certainly a rare breed, and as much as they try to hide it, they often have tells that will give them away. Learning to read these tells, even in online settings, is important to successful poker play.