Timing as a tell

Posted by kulubes | April 6, 2010 | Posted in: poker strategy | Comments Off

I played against two maniacs recently. Manics are bad players, and for the most part they behave in rather basic ways, so they are rather easier to read compared to other players, as (1) they get involved in hands all the time (2) they do not play too witty.

In this particular online poker session, what stood out were the timing tells these two maniac players exhibited.

In the first case he raised pre flop and I called with Kx (he had A8o). The flop came K8x, he bet and I called. The turn was a brick and he almost used up all his time before making a 30BB bet. I called. The river was another blank and he made a smaller bet this time. I called with top pair and he showed second pair. Here the tell is that it took him a long time to make his decision at the turn; meaning he wanted to determine what bet size was big enough to make me fold.

In the second case the timing tell was opposite, i.e. I played with another maniac but this time he played very fast. I raised pre flop with Ako and got called by A8o. The flop came A8x. I made a standard pot bet at the flop and he instantly min-raised me. The turn was a blank, so I checked but he instantly bet. As he had flopped two pairs, he wanted to bet and he did not try to disguise the strength of his hand with his timing.

The point is that there are a lot of these maniacs at the low or mid stakes online poker tables. As they seem to consistently make bets, it may seem difficult to have a clue about the real strength of their hands. The clues are in their betting sizes and in the timing of their actions. For the most part, they are not very subtle about the timing of their bets, so an instantaneous bets usually indicates an easy decision, while if they stay in the tank for a while, they are really thinking about what to do next.

Maniacs are predictable with their timing tells, more so than other players.

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