Auto Pilot

In the first of a two-part series Jim Worth explains how the ‘auto-check’ button can be used for false tells

An observant player will bet into you after seeing you check instantaneously, which means he has picked up a little edge on you

After nearly seven years of honing my game online, I have realised there are a wealth of tells that can be used to your advantage. But whether you’re making a decision on a player’s action or trying to deceive an opponent into making a play based on your own online tells, you will need to set yourself up in an environment where you can focus clearly on your games without too many distractions in front of you.

In a bricks and mortar game or tournament, if you are chatting up someone at another table, or watching the football on an overhead television, you will miss key information being given out in front of you. The same can be said of online poker. If you want to take your game to the next level, play in an environment where you will have as few distractions as possible and focus on what is happening at your table.

Ahead of the game

Some professionals advocate using the same betting speed all the time so there can be no reads made against them. I think that is pretty good advice, but I think it is geared to very inexperienced players. As skill and confidence levels increase, you have to find every advantage you can and close down – or minimise – any and all disadvantages that you have. There is a fine line between being a winning player and a break-even player and some of that comes in the intricacies of the game – rather than the knowledge of odds and plays. Being able to manipulate your opponents and set them up in situations that most players are not capable of creating is key to separating yourself from the field.

One of the most obvious and critical mistakes that less experienced online players make is clicking action buttons before it is their turn to act. It is like a flashing neon sign that says you missed the flop or do not have a big hand when a player sees the action come to you and you pass in a millisecond after pre-checking the check or check/fold buttons.

This is a mistake many players make when they are playing too many games at once. Players become too robotic, looking only to play better hands and ignoring the intricacies of the table. It is vital to remember this: playing less games and observing more will help increase a player’s return on investment.

Telling tales?

To combat these auto-action button mistakes players make, my simplest advice would be to rarely use them, or have a purpose in mind if you do. Train your opponents into thinking your automatic action button behaviour is predictable – when what you’re really doing is setting them up. Many experienced players will use that tell and in turn create a false tell. They will auto-check a weak hand or lack of connection on the flop and may fold to a raise. The opponents will see the instantaneous action and be trained to think the player has missed.

If you use the same strategy and flop a massive hand in earlier position than your opponent, they will bet into you, giving you the ideal situation to check-raise. While a quick check in position may induce a bet on the turn or river, if you wait too long before checking, it may throw up some warning signs.

Now your smarter opponents will become wary of you, knowing you have some tricks and moves up your sleeve and they will be quicker to act. As ever, knowledge of the table and who may be sending false tells remains a crucial factor. But trust me, most players simply won’t have that much finesse.

Pin It

Comments are closed.