Online Poker Tip: Others Might Be Watching Your Early Action Choices

Sometimes you can get clues to your opponent’s hands through their use of early action buttons. But, I always remember that if I’m trying to improve my decisions by taking this action into consideration, a few of my most sophisticated opponents might be doing the same thing. They might be trying to gain information by reading my early action choices!

Now, I’m used to players trying to read me in traditional poker games. They’ve been trying to do it since my earliest days. But, I’ve always been careful not to reveal the strength of my hand to them. I deliberately bet the same way most of the times, and I avoid projecting tells.  Mostly my goal in these face-to-face poker games is to avoid being read. And I’m proud of my success at it. But, online I might be read, just because I chose and early action and the software announced my decision so quickly when it became my turn that it was   apparent I had planned that action no matter what.

To avoid being read as having a weak hand in the big blind, for instance, because my instant let’s-see-the-flop call looks like I clicked the “Check or Fold” button, I’ll sometimes use the “check or call” early action button when I’m in the big blind with a higher quality hand. If nobody raises, this will throw players who are looking for this clue off the trail. Since I’m occasionally going to just call with a big hand, just for deception, why not incorporate an early action button in that decision?

Now, my observant opponents might incorrectly interpret that to mean I called weakly in the big blind and would have folded had there been a raise. Actually, I had clicked a button instructing the software to just check my big hand and see the flop if nobody and to call the bet if somebody did raise. Players, have the tendency, I believe, to assume that a quick, let’s-see-the-flop check is more likely to mean that the player would have folded had there been a raise than to mean that the player would have called.  But, in either case, your opponent isn’t likely to think that you have a big hand that you could have raise with – but you do!

You can, of course, wait until the action reaches your seat before you decide how you will act on a hand.

More on the Early Action Buttons
It is sometime valuable to call with a big hand – which you’d do anyway – for the sake of deception. And you’ll be setting the hook even deeper into those few observant opponents who misinterpret the instant call as a tell that you don’t have a strong hand.

There are other uses of the early action buttons that can defeat the plans of opponents to read you. My point is this: You should mix-up the use of the early action buttons, just as you would mix up the use of your call/raise and other choices in traditional physical games.

Mike Caro

tickyThere’s lots of choice when it comes to poker networks including the iPoker Network, Microgaming Poker, Chico Poker and WPN Poker Networks. Check out the latest poker room reviews or the Online Poker Showdown before you decide where to play your next hand of poker.

USA Poker: Top 3 sites for US texas holdem players

USOK_1The team at get lots of inquiries from US Players concerned about the number of online poker rooms that no longer accept residents of the USA due to the new US anti-gambling legislation. Most poker sites that take USD do not necessary accept US Players.


Here’s a link to a page of fact sheets on the top online poker rooms that still welcome USA players. It may help you make your mind up where to play.

Best of luck at the tables

PS: If you’re USA-based, and can’t be bothered reading poker room comparisons or reviews, and want to just get into the action, Americans can play some great online at both Bookmaker Poker and BetOnline Poker.

Tells in Online Poker – tips from Doyle Brunson

Some tips on playing better online poker from the infamous Doyle Brunson

Watch Opponents Early Action Choices.

There is something I find useful about pre-select buttons. They can provide tells. Watch the speed with which someone acts. If a decision is pre-selected, then it usually will occur instantly when the action reaches the player.

I say “usually”, because the occasional lapses in Internet communications mean that sometimes there will be a delay, even if the action has already been chosen and the software is trying to respond immediately.  Most of the time this delay won’t happen, and you get some information because of the opponent’s use of these special buttons.

The main thing I keep in my head is that when an action happens instantly, it’s probably a result of pre-selected action. Why would an opponent pre-select? There’s only one reason I can think of. The opponent knows that he’s going to take the action, no matter what anyone else does in front of him. That puts an added emphasis to that opponent’s decision, in my mind.

For example, what if no bet is due and an opponent instantly checks? Chances are, the player has determined in advance that he is going to check. At Doyle’s Room, he may have selected either the “Check/Fold” button, which is a typical choice, or the lesser-used “Check/Call any” button. It is probable that the “Check/Fold” was chosen, and, if that’s so, then I can assume that the instant check means the player likely would have automatically folded if there had been a bet and I’ll give the players less credit for having a strong hand.

Other Tells
Similarly, if an opponent raises instantly, I’m pretty sure he intended to raise no matter what, and that usually indicates a very strong hand.

There are other tells you can divine from these pre-selected buttons, when you take the time to think about what an instant action means. If an opponent seems to frequently use the pre-select buttons, but occasionally hesitates, you can figure him for a type of hand where the decision is not obvious. So, always consider what an instant action –or the lack of one – might mean.

Doyle Brunson


USOK_1>>Summary of the top sites for poker safe for US players.