When you are sitting across the table from the other players in a poker game, you can learn to read their behavior and the tells that they give away, whether audio, visual or in their betting, because when you play online you just have their betting as a tell.
Reading poker tells is a blend of art and science as your only clue is the speed of their actions and the size of the bet to work with to figure out their betting patterns. Just bear in mind the golden rule: Strong acts weak, weak acts strong.
Long pause, followed by a raise (very strong): It’s a classic used by almost all online players, which ironically, is its own, tell, because it screams they have a strong hand. Don’t fall for this as sometimes a player legitimately thinks your bluffing and will raise you back, because he has the goods.
Instant automatic raise (usually very strong): he raised it so fast, the only way it could have been done is they had pressed the “bet/raise all” button. Sometimes used by maniacs and bluffers, it is most often used by players so sure of their hand that they’ll take on any and all comers. Consider folding or check-calling. This should ALWAYS raise a big red flag.
Instant automatic check (weak or folding hand): This is a no brainer tell as players only hit the “auto-check” button when they’re willing to fold. Some poker players will call or raise after an auto-check but it is rare to see a check raise after an auto-check. SO if someone auto-checks to you, you can take down the pot.
Odd number bet: $9.95 as opposed to $10. Internet games are often no limit and allow fractions of dollar. Do not read too much in to this. It means that their hand is average. Alternatively, they could just be bluffing because they have nothing, or they are trying to scare someone in to folding by psychologically making their bets look larger than they are.
Quick call on your bet: someone is chasing you, or has a marginal hand and does not want to look like they are scared of your bet. If they did have a strong hand, they would raise instead of making a flat call. Play as normal as you have the measure of them.
Those are the major betting patterns in an opponent’s behavior and recognizing these patterns is one of the key strengths in poker, online and in the real world. Once you have identified your opponent’s poker patterns, you will recognize when they step outside of their pattern. When they step out, it is often a sign that they have the goods to take you down
Just remember that if you can read your opponent, your opponent can read you. A good guide is to take three or four seconds before acting, even if it is to fold pre flop. You can think and your opponent gets no information about your tells.