By Ryan Hemrick
I have been playing onlinepoker for small to medium stakes now for over 3 years. I play mostly sit and gos and multi-table tournaments and my buy in’s have ranged from $5 to $100. In this time I believe I have picked up a few tells that are tell-tale signs of a very weak player. One can use these tells to find out who the worst players at the table are and to exploit them later. This strategy will be mainly for sit n go’s, multi-table tournaments, and no limit cash games.
The greatest sign of a very weak player that I have noticed time and time again over the years is the big blind minimum raise. This happens when many people limp into the pot and then the person in the big blind decides to raise the minimum amount allowed. This move is a total joke and I cringe every time it happens. There is not one good thing that comes out of this move. If you really do have a big hand like AA or KK then you are basically telling everyone at the table what you have. But since the raise is almost nothing and everyone is getting odds to call, everyone is going to call anyway. The person who raised the minimum is just setting themselves up to lose a big pot because big hands like aces aren’t invincible against 5 other people in the pot. The right play in this spot would be to raise at least 4 times the big blind and hope to get up against only 1 or 2 opponents. So whenever I see someone do this, I put a note on them immediately that says they are weak. I feel that most weak players make the same mistakes, so this person will probably be only betting the minimum whenever he has a hand. I know that I will be able to chase on this person, and if I do end up hitting a big hand, a bad player like this is usually willing to pay off a big raise, just because they don’t know any better and they can’t get away from a marginal hand.
Building off the idea of the big blind minimum raise, I feel that any time a minimum bet is made in a no-limit game, it is a sign of a weak player. I’ve been in sit n go’s before when the pot is raised, re- raised, and re- raised the minimum back and forth between two or three people. I usually sit there baffled and type in the chat box, “is this limit or no limit?” These bad players will usually call big raises with junk, try to bluff by betting very small, and may overbet the pot when they have a good hand. I usually give these players no respect and when they bet small to let me draw, I will almost always call them, or throw a raise out there to see where I am at.
Another tell that I have found is the “weak lead.” For example if someone just calls before the flop, I raise a big amount and they call. A lot of times these people who have to act first will try and take the pot by leading out with a very weak bet. Usually the minimum or 2 times the minimum. It usually doesn’t matter what comes out, if the flop comes with high cards they will try it, and if it comes with rags they will try it. I would recommend raising this bet every single time that the flop comes with high cards. Raising three or four times the amount they bet is a good idea, because just in case you missed, and then they re raise you all in, you can fold and not risk too much of your stack. I have noticed that whenever I do this, they fold probably more than 80% of the time right there. You have to be a little bit more cautious when the flop comes with rags and you have something like A K. If you have noticed that the player is generally tight then I would say to raise the pot half of the time. They might have a hand, but if they are tight they might give you credit for a bigger hand since you raised before the flop and have now raised again. If the player is loose and weak, then I might only try the bluff raise 25% of the time, because if they are weak and loose, they probably can’t get away from any hand or any draw they might have flopped.
Look for these types of tells in the next few online tournaments you play, and try these plays out, they just might work!