Playing poker online differs from playing in a brick-and-mortar poker room. There are no physical tells to decipher online unless you have some super powers that allow you to view an opponent’s reaction through your computer screen. So instead of using physical tells to put your opponent on a hand, it’s crucial you know how to spot online poker betting patterns. How do you spot betting patterns? These are the most common betting patterns found by online poker players:
Bet on flop and turn the same
A player might throw out a feeler bet on the flop with top-pair and a weak kicker or middle pair. If your opponent then continues to make approximately the same sized bet on the turn, you can take this as a sign of weakness. They want you to fold or are trying to get some value for their marginal hand, but don’t want to risk much. Inexperienced poker players do this often. It’s basically their way of saying, “I have a little something, but not enough to call a raise”.
How to play against this betting pattern: If your hand is weak, you should put in a big raise. Your opponent has already indicated weakness and can’t call a big raise. If you have a monster, just call and hope your opponent spikes 2-pair on the river so you can win a big pot.
Checks the flop, calls your bet and then leads out with small bet on turn
This is, perhaps, the most obvious betting pattern. Even experienced poker players often try this one, usually against weak players. If your opponent checks the flop and calls your bet, there’s a chance they are on a draw. If your opponent then leads out on the turn with a small bet, you can almost always bank on them having a draw. This is a “blocker bet”. They want to make you think by betting out on the turn they have a hand, but are really just trying to prevent you from making a big wager that will force them to fold before the river.
How to play against this betting pattern: Regardless of what you’re holding – unless it can’t be beat by a draw – you should put in a BIG raise. Don’t let your opponent chase on the cheap.
Quick call on flop, quick call on turn, pauses before betting big on river
Players that make quick calls usually have drawing hands. Their decisions aren’t difficult. They simply decide if they want to chase the draw or not. Therefore, they don’t pause long before calling. They just make a quick call. If there are 2 diamonds on the flop and then the 3rd one comes on the river, your opponent may pause for a moment before throwing out a large bet. 9 times out of 10, your opponent has a flush.
How to play against this betting pattern: There’s really nothing you can do other than surrender the pot unless you can beat a flush. Even if you have a big hand such as 2-pair or a set, if you’re beat, you’re beat. Fold your hand.
Small bet, small bet, huge bet on river
First off, if you see this betting pattern, you know you’re dealing with a terrible poker player. No skilled poker player would ever throw out a tiny bet on the flop, then the turn and an extremely large bet on the river. That’s just poor play. However, bad poker players will do this when missing a draw. They bet small on the flop and turn so that no one places a large bet that makes them pay to chase. When they miss the draw on the river, they throw out a large bet (1.5x-2x the size of the pot usually) to scare everyone off the hand.
How to play against this betting pattern: If you can beat Ace-high, you should make the call on the river.
A habitual continuation bettor that checks the flop
There are certain players that almost always bet a flop after raising pre-flop. The one exception is when they flop the nuts. They will then check the flop to make you think they missed. But what they’re really doing is stringing you along in hopes that you will either catch something on the turn or try bluffing the flop. 99% of the time, when this type of player checks the flop, it means they flopped a monster such as a set, flush or straight.
How to play against this betting pattern: Don’t put any money into the pot. Don’t fall for the trap. Just wait until your opponent finally bets out and then fold your hand.
There are many other betting patterns you will spot while playing poker online. These are the most common. Only in very rare instances will these betting patterns deceive you.