One of the biggest differences between playing poker at a land-based casino and online is the way you can bluff and read your opponents. When you physically face off against other players you can read facial expressions, use some distracting tactics, familiarize yourself with their strategies, and bluff in a more physical way. But online, it’s another ballgame.

Sure, some traditional tactics for bluffing and reading opponents can be used online as well. But it’s not quite like it is when playing brick-and-mortar poker.

Not to worry, if you’re new to online poker, we’ll take you through the best practice advice for tactics you can use when playing.

Don’t Scare off Opponents

When you have a good hand it can be tempting to raise the stakes high in order to increase the pot you’re hoping to win. This is only natural, and hence, not a good tactic. It’s simply too predictable.

If you raise too much you’ll scare off your opponents, and they’ll fold instead of contributing to the pot. So always aim to walk the fine line between raising the bets to increase the pot size and enticing the other players to stay in the game.

Raising about 25% is always safe, but you could also raise as much as 50%. However, the latter is sure to be enough to scare off some players. A bet that indicates that you have good enough cards to stay in the game while being cautious is often the best approach.

Bluff Your Way to Steal the Blings

Although you don’t want to scare off opponents when you have a good hand, scaring them is just what you want to do when you have a less-than-optimal hand. And you do this by bluffing.

A big raise will make other players think you have really good cards on your hand, and anyone with less-than-optimal cards will likely fold. Your goal would be that all players fold so that you can steal the blinds. But, if a player does have a great hand they might call your bluff, so you can never be completely sure of success.

No matter, if you manage to steal the blinds or not, pulling this bluff once in a while, will put your opponents on the edge of their seats. They might get used to thinking that you are bluffing, even when you’re not. In this way, they might be more likely to call and raise even when you have a good hand that you can win with.

Pay Attention to Usernames

Reading your opponents and their strategies is crucial, and when you’ve played long enough, you’ll start recognizing usernames. Paying attention to other users can be the key that unlocks the door to your own success.

All players have their own distinct way of playing, and how much they bet and raise will eventually be a telltale sign of what their hands might hold. You’ll start recognizing a pattern indicating if the player is bluffing, or if they really have a good hand.

Once you “know” the player, you can also choose if this is an opponent you’re happy to play against or not. If you think the player is out of your league, simply switch tables. On the other hand, if you think you have a good chance of outsmarting them, you should stay at their table for as long as possible.

Don’t Become Predictable

You won’t be the only player around the table that reads your opponents. Other players will put just as much emphasis on reading you. So avoiding being predictable is one of your main tasks while playing.

Raising even when you don’t have a hand that you think can be won, or simply following the lead of other players when you have a good hand can sometimes be wise. Yes, it might mean that you won’t win as much as you could have or that you waste some of your bankrolls on bad hands, but it’s all worth it long term. You should think of it as a long-term investment.

The more of an enigma you are to other players, the more likely it is that they won’t call your bluff. So leaving them wondering why you just did what you did is always a good strategy. Sometimes downplaying your own skills is key, as you want your opponents to think you’re much more easy prey than you really are.

Other Pro Poker Tips

Having an understanding of the best poker strategies and some rudimental bluffing tactics is not enough to win long-term when playing online poker. Because keep in mind that online you’ll be facing off against both novice players and professional poker players. The former are players you can easily out-bluff or read, while the latter will be tough opponents.

Before you can even start thinking about beating the poker pros you might encounter online, you need to know how they play. Below we’ve collected some of the key things you should know about how professional poker players play online:

  • Professional online poker players always play more than one table at a time. Typically, they’ll play between 8 and 20 tables simultaneously.
  • To play multiple tables at once, they use software that calculates their winning chances per table. This data is used to determine how much they raise their bets, if they even choose to stay in the game.
  • The benefit of this is that they mainly bet according to their own hands. No matter what strategies are used by other players, they typically call, raise, or fold according to the percentage chances they have of winning.
  • That being said, they do also pay attention to specific players around the tables, trying to “read” them. Keep in mind that they can also go back and look at the game history of a specific player.

If you’re not a professional player, your number one tactic should be to stay off the radar of the poker pros. Keep in mind that these guys and gals have large bankrolls, and they know what they’re doing.

Should you identify a professional player at your table, consider changing tables to one where you’re more equally matched in skill level. Once your poker skills have improved, you can try to go head-to-head with the pros.

Advanced Tactics for Reading Opponents and Bluffing – Conclusion

Knowing the rules of poker is not the only thing you need in order to succeed in your online poker endeavours. Keep in mind that poker is not a game of chance, but rather a game of skill. No one has ever succeeded long-term by simply following the rules and betting according to some percentage-based winning chance per hand. There’s much more to it.

It’s all about luring unsuspecting players in to raise the pot for your good hands and bluffing your way into stealing the blinds when you have a bad hand. Never forget that it’s completely possible to walk away with poker winnings even when you’re dealt a bad hand.

Eve Luneborg

Sub-editor

Eve Luneborg has been working in the iGaming industry since 2014. She started out spending some years working for one of the leading online casinos in the world, based in Malta. Then, for the last seven years, she’s been sharing her experience and expertise with other players. Eve specializes in writing in-depth game guides, expert casino reviews, and how-to guides explaining how casinos and processes work.

Here at Gamble Online Australia, Eve makes sure that casino reviews and other articles are spot-on and correct for us Aussies. You can also gain insights into her thoughts about the industry by reading her weekly blog posts.

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