Learn Poker Craft:
So you think no one can read you just because they can't see your poker face when you're playing online at 32Red Poker? Wrong! Online poker is so popular these days, with so much at stake, that the strongest players have learnt to 'read' other online players in a whole new way. So if you don't want to be left behind, start noticing your own 'tells' and start making a note of your opponents!
A 'tell' is a clue about your game play which might give your opponents some clue as to the strength of your hand. In live poker action, this might be raising your eyebrows, or a twitch you display when you are dealt a good hand. In online poker, the tells are more to do with how and when you bet.
As online poker play is so much faster than its offline equivalent (with in the region of 100 hands per hour on fast-moving tables), you may feel under pressure to keep the action moving as speedily as possible. But using the pre-action buttons so your fold/check/call/bet/raise happens as soon as play comes to you regularly is the key way your opponents can get an idea of how strong your hand is. If you have pre-selected check, it suggests that you are not confident enough of your hand to consider betting or calling a bet no matter what happens before you. This may suggest a weak hand, and those after you in the betting could punish you by placing a bet suspecting you won't call.
Similarly, if you've been very quiet in play up to now, quickly folding all those hands that weren't strong enough to play using the pre-action buttons, if you now get dealt Pocket Aces, you might be inclined to select 'Raise Any'. But betting so quickly is a tell to your opponents that you have now got a good hand, and if they've been reading your play so far, they might decide to back off and fold, costing you a big pot which you might have would had you approached your play more thoughtfully.
Of course, these tricks can also work the other way. If you are sitting on a Nut Flush, and decide to pre-select check on the River, your opponents may try to bet you off the pot, thinking you've got a weak hand. This way you can trap them with a neat piece of check-raise play. Equally, selecting to raise before play comes round to you (especially if a few players before you have checked down) might scare a few weak hands off the pot, and help you to pull off a successful bluff or semi-bluff.
However, if you leave it to the last second to make your move, this again might suggest some uncertainty about the strength of your hand, as you may not be sure whether it's good enough to play. It's a minefield out there!
The best way to hide your own tells is to vary the speed at which you react when it's your turn to bet. Keep your opponents guessing - give them as little information as you can about the cards you hold. Keep your rhythm uneven. Develop the ability to know when to move fast and when to take your time.
And don't forget, the best poker players are always noting the play styles of their opponents. Actively watch the play going on around you, even if you're not involved in that particular hand. Use 32Red's Player Notes facility to remind yourself of any particular 'tells' you may have picked up in others. These are invaluable to profitable poker play!
To make use of the Player Notes, simply right-click on the player at the table, and select the 'Edit Player Notes' option to make your observations. And don't worry - no one else can read what you've written!
These tips/guidelines are intended to help you enjoy poker and improve your chances of winning. However, the above should not be regarded as advice and 32Red disclaims any liability or responsibility for the accuracy thereof or for any losses incurred by players following these guidelines.