Strategy Series

Online Poker Timing Tells in Heads-Up – Part I


I have put a lot of effort over the years to spot online poker timing tells on heads-up hyper-turbo tables. The first timing tell I was able to pick up was the immediate action on the flop when a villain is the first one to act. I call this manner a lighting check. This tell is extremely valuable and I have noticed that part of the population doesn’t even realize they are doing it. Some people have a habit to do check immediately after every single flop with a specific (weak) range, without understanding how to balance the range with strong hands.

Check-timing can reveal hand strength.

When we examine online poker timing tells, we always have to take into consideration that tells are not 100% accurate in every single situation. A lightning check typically represents a weak or medium-strength hand range. Think about it, if you have a mediocre hand on the flop and you have a couple of different approaches to choose from, would you immediately fast check it without thinking about it?

A lighting check typically represents weak or medium strength hand range.

online poker timing tell a lighting check

The second manner is to check immediately the top of your value range on the flop to show weakness. In the following situation, the player acts as he has given up, to demonstrate that the flop didn’t hit his hand and he wants to get over the hand as fast as possible. This might work in some instances once, but I don’t see value in acting timing tells to confuse opponents because they pick them up fast.

Tanking before making an action

Another very common online poker timing tell is that a player, who usually is rather fast with decisions, starts to tank before making a move. In my experience, opponents usually have a very polarized hand strength in these situations. In other words, they either try to represent that they have a difficult decision and they have the nuts, or they suddenly change the pace to make a bluff. On most occasions, it is the latter.

Tanking before making an action typically represents polarized hand range.

Read the next part of the timing tells from the strategy series section when it is published.

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