9 Amateur Online Poker Tells You Didn't Know You Are Giving Off

online poker tells
People talk a lot about poker tells but they usually mean at the casino, live poker. What a lot of people don't realize is that you are giving off just as many tells (if not more) in online poker.

And amateurs in particular are giving off these tells all the time. Poker pros like myself are constantly picking up on these and using them against you.

So in this article I am going to give you the top 9 online poker tells that you probably didn't even know you are giving off.

1. The Big Blind Auto Check

One of the most obvious online poker tells is the big blind auto check. And what I mean by this is somebody who has used the auto check/fold button to automatically check (and fold to any raise) when the action finally comes around to them.

This is a feature that is available on most online poker sites. Many people will look down at a crappy hand and just use this auto check/fold button to save time because they know they aren't going to raise or call a raise.

If you currently use this button then I would highly suggest that you never, ever, ever use it again!

Why? Because for anyone paying attention to timing tells like me, you have just given away the strength of your hand. I know you have something crappy that you weren't even considering getting involved with.

Always wait until the action comes to you in the big blind before deciding what to do. It might seem like a little thing, but you can't afford to give away free information like this to other good players.

2. Posting Your Blind Out of Position

Another common tell that you see from recreational poker players in particular is posting the blind right away when they first sit down at the poker table (not waiting for the big blind to come to them).

Not only is this silly because you end up paying the blinds an extra time which adds up huge against you in the long run. But you have just announced loud and clear to the entire table that you are a fish.

Good poker players will always wait for the blinds to come to them when they join a new table. Recreational players on the other hand are impatient and will foolishly pay the blinds twice.

3. Limping

Limping (just calling the blind preflop) is another huge tell that is even more important in online poker than live poker. And that is because virtually no good players will ever limp online.

And that is because it is simply a proven fact that limping is a losing play. All you have to do is open up PokerTracker and filter for hands when you limped versus hands when you raised, and you will see the results for yourself.

When I see somebody limp in an online poker game it basically tells me straight away that this isn't somebody who is serious about the game. While they might not be a total fish, they aren't likely to be a good player.

4. Quick Call Preflop

Another very common preflop online poker tell is calling a raise very quickly or right away. What this tells me is that you didn't think your hand was worth a re-raise but it was definitely not worth folding either.

In other words I can squarely put you on one of those middle strength hands like:

  • AJ, ATs, A9s, A8s, KQ, KJ, QJ
  • 99, 88, 77, 66, 55, 44, 33, 22
  • JTs, T9s, 98s, 87s

Make sure that you take the same amount of time to act preflop whether you are calling or re-raising. Because when you call too fast, it tells everybody at the table that you don't have something really good.

5. Quick Call on the Flop

The exact same online poker tell applies after the flop as well. These are some of the most common timing tells that people give off.

That is, calling way too fast. This once again tells me that your hand isn't good enough to raise with but it is too good to fold as well.

online poker timing tells

So in other words you have a middle strength hand like:

  • Top pair so-so kicker 
  • Middle pair 
  • Flush draw
  • Straight draw

You can't afford to give away free information like this to good players. Always make sure that you are taking a similar amount of time to act after the flop no matter which decision you are going to make.

Because when somebody auto-calls me on the flop this basically gives me the green light to just go ahead and double barrel and triple barrel them like crazy. I know they don't have the hand to call me.

6. Using Chat to Give Off Reverse Tells

People are much more likely to use the chat in online poker when they have the nuts. This is actually the exact opposite of live poker. In live poker, they are more likely to be chatty when bluffing and stone silent or nervous when they have the nuts.

So when somebody starts taunting me in the chat in online poker to just fold my hand already then that is exactly what I am going to do!

This is because people love to get smart in online poker and try to use "reverse tells" on you. In other words, they tell you to do the exact opposite of what they want you to do.

This is because they figure people will use reverse psychology and then do take the action that they really want them to. If that makes sense...

Anyways, good poker players see right through these little games.

The best thing you can possibly do in online poker is just remain completely silent whether you are bluffing or have the nuts. Just let them keep talking.

7. The Speech and Hollywood River Raise

Another one of the most hilarious and ridiculously transparent tells that online poker players give off is the speech and then the big raise, especially on the river.

This is the easiest fold in the world, they have the nuts every time.

Once again, this is one of those silly little "reverse tells" that amateur online poker players love to try and pull on you.

Basically they are trying to sound like they are sick of being pushed around and they are finally going to take a stand. When in reality they just have the stone cold nuts.

Don't ever fall for this nonsense. Just like with the previous online poker tell, remember that it's easy to make up all these little stories when you don't have to look somebody in the face.

The reality is that people are much less likely to be bluffing overall in online poker especially at the micros. When they put in the big river raise (even without the big speech), trust me, it's the nuts.

8.  Stack Size Online Poker Tell

Another online poker tell that I have for you is a dead giveaway for a recreational poker player that you have probably seen many times before. And it has to do with their stack size.

First off, if you ever see somebody buyin for something totally bizarre like $7.53 at an NL10 table online mark that player as a fish immediately. They have just bought in for their entire bankroll. No good poker player would ever do this.

Also, if they fail to top up their stack when it falls below the max buyin this is also another very obvious online poker tell for a non-serious and likely recreational player.

Good players will pretty much always use the auto-top up stack option that is available on almost all online poker sites.

9. Online Poker Table Count Tell

The final online poker tell that I have for you is to check their table count. On many poker sites you can search a player and it will show you exactly which tables they are on and what games they are playing.

By the way, as a quick aside, most poker sites that have this option will also allow you to block yourself from search. I highly recommend blocking yourself.

Remember, don't give them any free information...ever.

Now here's the rule. Recreational poker players are much more likely to be playing a very small amount of poker tables, one or two.

This isn't always the case, sometimes good players will only want to play one or two games as well. But it is true most of the time.

And any time I see somebody playing 10 or more tables, this is basically never a recreational player, it's a regular. People who take poker very seriously are going to be multi-tabling like this.

Final Thoughts

So there you have some of my top online poker tells. Honestly, there are so many more that I could have easily rattled off 10 or 20 more.

The bottom line is that if you play a lot of online poker you need to always be looking for this free information that people are giving off.

Watch if they take way too long to act or act way too quickly. Watch for limpers, people who post a blind out of position, have some weird stack size or get too chatty in the chatbox.

And of course you should always be on the lookout for any online poker tells that you are giving off yourself. Always remember, no free information ever!

Let me know your top online poker tells in the comments below.

Lastly, if you want to know even more about how I read people online and created some of the highest winnings in history at the micros, make sure to download my free poker cheat sheet.

online poker tells

Is Online Poker Rigged? - Here Are the Facts [2018]

Is online poker rigged?
People often ask me if online poker is rigged or not.

And my answer is always the same: if it is rigged, then it is definitely rigged for me. Because I have made a lot of money playing this silly little card game on the internet!

In all seriousness though, this is big concern that many people have. In fact my recent "Is PokerStars Rigged" post continues to get more passionate (and sometimes completely crazy) comments every single day.

So here's the short of it:

Online poker on the whole is not rigged. The financial incentives for the poker sites to maintain the integrity of their games are just too important. However, there are some legitimate concerns about some of the smaller poker sites in particular. The bottom line though is that you are the customer and you hold all the power. If you think a certain poker site is rigged, then you should withdraw all your funds and absolutely refuse to play there.

However, this is a fairly simplistic answer. So let's dig into specifics in the case for and against online poker being rigged. I will also talk about issues like bots, collusion and superusers.

Alright, let's go!

Is Online Poker Rigged? What's the Deal!

So let's get right into it. Is online poker rigged or not? What the heck is the deal here? Why do I get so many bad beats?!

When people talk about online poker being rigged the most common complaints I hear are a mathematically improbable amount of "setups" (example: AA vs KK) and bad beats (example: you have AA, bad player with 74 offsuit hits two pair on the river).

People also often talk about a "big stack advantage" in poker tournaments as well. This means that they believe the poker site rigs it in order for the bigger stack to win more all-in preflop coinflips (example: AK vs 99).

The logic behind what exactly the poker sites gain by rigging these hands and allowing the big stack to win more flips is a little bit less clear. Especially since most of the people who complain that online poker is rigged play incredibly low stakes, like $10 games.

Some people however claim that there is widespread collusion, bots or "superusers" in many games. Now this is a bit of a separate issue because this sort of cheating (if true) is more likely to be perpetrated by the players themselves, not the poker sites.

However, let's put that to the side for a moment and discuss the case for and against online poker being rigged first.

The Case For Online Poker Being Rigged

So let's look at the facts for why online poker is rigged then shall we?

Well, unfortunately the facts for online poker being rigged are few and far between. The arguments in favor of online poker being rigged would be much better classified as "anecdotal" instead.

For instance, if you go read the comments on my recent "Is PokerStars Rigged" post you will find that nearly all of the people writing me long, angry, incoherent and expletive laced rants about PokerStars being rigged are always missing one important pesky little detail:


Instead their arguments usually go something like this instead:

"OMGGGZZZ, my pocket AA got cracked 3 times in a row, on the RIVER, every time STUPID JOKERSTARS, rigged, I will get my lawyer and sue POKERSTARS!!!, OMFG so mad right now, how can anyone play on this RIGGED poker site???"

Now, the problem with "arguments" for online poker being rigged like this is that while they certainly demonstrate a large amount of emotion, they just aren't supported with anything close to what we would typically deem as evidence.

And unfortunately, when making such seriously allegations and threatening lawsuits against a multi-billion dollar company you are probably going to need some of this!

The main problem here is that "my pocket AA got cracked 3 times in a row" just doesn't mean anything. Like at all.

In fact this is such a completely commonplace and mathematically likely occurrence in poker that it is trivial to even consider.

You would need a sample size of thousands of instances where your AA was getting beat too often in order to have a real and substantive argument here.

And luckily for all of those who believe that online poker is rigged, this is actually really, really easy for them to do.

You can just use a program like PokerTracker, import your poker hands, and then filter for all instances of AA to see your winning percentage.

Pocket Aces should win approximately 85% of the time versus a random hand.

So, if you had a sample size with thousands of instances of AA where you are only winning at 70%, 60% or less, then you would have a real and legitimate complaint!

However, I have never seen anyone who claims that online poker is rigged actually produce a statistically significant sample size like this. Instead they have sample sizes of 3 hands, 10 hands or 100 hands.

Incredibly small sample sizes like this would be quickly refuted by any amateur mathematician as well within the bounds of simple variance and standard deviation.

And for all those threatening lawsuits against the online poker sites this sort of "evidence" would also be quickly dismissed from any court of law as pure silliness.

The Case Against Online Poker Being Rigged

The evidence for online poker not being rigged is far, far stronger. And the reason why is because once again, you can just go check it for yourself!

Most poker sites these days will allow you to download your hand histories as you play. Hand histories are a small text document which includes every bit of information about a poker hand.

For Example:
  • Exact time the hand was played
  • All player's stack sizes
  • Who bet, folded, called etc.
  • Who was the winner of the hand
  • Who was the loser of the hand

And as mentioned before, we have highly sophisticated online poker tracking programs these days like PokerTracker and Hold’em Manager.

Using the pocket AA example again, you could simply go into either of these programs and filter for this hand only. Then you could see if your winning percentage differs dramatically from where it should be.

Furthermore, it wouldn’t even take that many hands to figure this out. In order to get a sample size of 1000 instances of pocket AA for instance, you would only need to play 220,000 hands of poker.

You get dealt pocket AA 1 out of every 220 hands. 220 x 1000 = 220,000.

Now this might sound like a lot, but for anyone who plays online poker seriously and multi-tables this is not really that many hands. Any serious poker player could easily do this in a couple months.

In fact, I have actually played this amount of poker hands in one single month several times throughout my poker career.

However, my suspicion is that many of the people complaining about their pocket AA being cracked too much have not even played this many hands in their entire lifetime!

After all, it is hard to play a lot of poker when you are too busy writing angry comments and threatening lawsuits in my blog comments and elsewhere.

Look, if you truly believe that your pocket AA is losing way too often then you owe it to yourself to at least do your homework first so that you know for sure.

Play a statistically significant sample of hands (i.e. 200K+), run it through a tracking program, and then post the evidence for all the world to see!

Opinions are great. Everybody has one. But what we need in order to solve the debate once and for all about online poker being rigged or not are facts. Clear verifiable evidence.

Unfortunately for all the people claiming that online poker is rigged, they never seem to have much of this. However, I know that I can look through my own database of millions of poker hands and prove them dead wrong in a second.

Poker Sites Have a Direct Financial Incentive NOT to Rig Online Poker

The other big problem for the online poker is rigged crowd is that the poker sites actually have a direct financial incentive to maintain the integrity of their games.

In other words, they have a clear motive NOT to rig online poker.

PokerStars for instance made $877 million dollars in revenue from poker in 2017. And that is actually a 4% increase over 2016 for all the people who think the popularity of online poker is trending downward.

What these numbers really prove though is the point that I have been making on this blog for many, many years now.

And That Is:

The poker sites themselves are the real big winners in poker and they always will be. They are the real "sharks," not the players.

If you disagree please tell me the name of a poker player who is making nearly a billion dollars a year. I would pay anything to get coaching from this guy!

So simple common sense and logic will tell us that when you are already crushing it beyond belief in business the last thing you want to do is change anything or risk your reputation.

No of course not. You just want to keep the gravy train rolling!

You really have to ask yourself what PokerStars for example has to gain by rigging the river in your $10 tournament. Nothing. But they have everything to lose.

You Are The Customer, You Have All the Power!

But hey believe me, I get it. Some people will never be convinced no matter what I or others say.

Even though there is absolutely no evidence to support their claims nor even a motive for many of the poker sites to rig anything, their minds are already made up.

And that's completely cool.

You can believe pink monkeys orbit the moon too and Tupac Shakur is alive and well living on an island in Malaysia with Jim Morrison.

At the end of the day though it doesn't matter what I believe or what you believe because the bottom line when you are playing poker (online or live) is that you are the customer.

And therefore, you have all the power.

So if you believe that a certain poker site is rigged against you then you should vote with your feet and simply withdraw all your funds and never play there again.

Something that I can never understand is how many people complain that a certain poker site is rigged (let’s just use PokerStars as an example again) and yet they continue to play there!

Why on earth would you continue to play at a poker site that you are convinced is rigged? This defies all logic and even just common sense.

There are literally hundreds of other online poker sites to choose from. And if you are convinced that all of online poker is rigged against you then you can just go play live as well!

Also, remember that when you withdraw your funds and go play somewhere else this is a huge loss for that poker site. They rely on the rake that you pay to keep creating those multi-million dollar profits.

So if you are convinced that an online poker site is rigged, hit them where it hurts, in the pocket book. Withdraw your money and never play there again.

What About Poker Bots, Collusion and SuperUsers?

Alright, let’s get into the much more serious discussion now of poker bots, collusion and superusers.

This is a legitimate concern because unlike poker sites rigging the river against your pocket aces, there is actually real evidence that this sort of cheating has occurred.

But the difference here is that the cheating is almost always done by the players themselves.

They are often the ones who are trying to run poker bots, collude with other people at the the table or find out somebody's hole cards (superuser).

In the past several years there have been allegations of bots in particular being used on nearly every major online poker site.

poker bots

And this isn't just speculation. There have been many high profile cases of poker sites publicly refunding players because their security teams uncovered gross rule violations.

Now while they rarely spell out the exact details of what type of actual cheating occurred (for pretty obvious reasons) it is clearly some sort of bot ring or collusion in many cases.

Now should you be concerned about playing against poker bots, colluders and so on? Absolutely. But here's the thing. You are battling against human nature here.

Whenever there are significant amounts of money on the line, a small amount of people are going to engage in shady practices or even outright cheating.

Remember that little global financial meltdown we had about 10 ago? Ya, enough said.

Look here's the thing. There is always going to be some form of cheating or angle shooting in poker no matter what games you play in. And it doesn't matter if you play live or online.

Does this mean that you should never play poker again? No of course not. You just need to be realistic and vigilant when playing poker.

I would also be a lot more concerned as a mid or high stakes poker player about this sort of cheating because of the much larger amounts of money in play.

However, less than 5% of the people reading this article right now actually play in these games. I know this because I asked 1,124 of you what stakes you play a few months ago!

But look here is the bottom line once again. You are the customer. If you feel that something isn't right, then send the poker site an email, and give them some specific names and details so they can investigate.

If you do not find their reply to be satisfactory, then withdraw all of your funds immediately and never play there again.

Final Thoughts

So should you trust online poker? Is online poker rigged?

Well, I think the glaring lack of any real evidence or even a motive for most of the major online poker sites to be rigging anything speaks volumes.

But as we all know some people will never be convinced.

And of course it is much easier to just say that something is rigged against you rather than to address the real core problem: Not being good enough to actually win at poker.

As for the much more serious and realistic issue of poker bots, colluding and superusers I think there is a reason to have some level of concern about this.

You should be vigilant about any poker games you are playing in and don't be afraid to report any suspicious behavior either.

All major online poker sites have a security team dedicated to maintaining the integrity of their games. It is their job to investigate your concerns!

But as I have said again and again throughout this article, at the end of the day you don't have to listen to me or anyone else. You are the customer and you hold all the power.

If you think there is something amiss with a certain online poker site (for any reason whatsoever) then my advice is to immediately withdraw all your funds and never play there again.

Lastly, if you want to know how I managed to quit my job, become an online poker pro, and travel the world over 10 years ago, make sure to pick up a copy of my free poker strategy guide.

Let me know in the comments below if you think online poker is rigged or not.

is online poker rigged?