How to define a fish in online poker without any software?

fish in online poker

A competition in poker is getting tougher and tougher every year, that’s why it becomes harder and more expensive to get more information about opponents. This is exactly why reading your opponents and learning their leaks is very useful for a successful game.

Obviously, it's much easier to read your opponent in live poker, because a person doesn’t hide behind a nickname, he is in front of you and you can make decisions on the basis of what you see. Moreover, in offline-poker, there is a much larger number of different tells that can be interpreted. But even so, you can also get a lot of information about your opponents in the game of online poker if you know what exactly you need to pay attention to.

In this article, we will tell you about some important factors that will help you to define a weak player at the table in online-poker without resorting to different software like Holdem Manager or Poker Tracker.

Define the fish at the cash-table

In games for real money, it is important to estimate a balance of power at the table instantly in order to get more profit. We will provide to your attention in several ways to determine quickly which players are probably less skilled at your table.

Small-sized stack

The game without a full stack at the cash-table implies only two options. Either your opponent is a professional poker player who follows a game strategy of short stacks or a recreational player.

Fortunately, it is easy to find out who is who. It is enough to look at the game of the opponent. Regulars with the short stack usually play in a tight-aggressive style and in most cases, they enter a hand with a raise or with a 3-bet. In turn, inexperienced players normally play more passively and play much more hands generally.

Therefore, if you have noticed that someone with the short stack plays almost every hand and often enter the game with limps, you can be sure that this is a recreational player.

Does not use a function of the automatic rebuy 

When you see that your opponent has lost a part of his stack and he hasn’t made a re-buy in automatic mode - you can be sure that you have faced a weaker player.

Almost all online poker-rooms allow their players to use the automatic re-buy option, which adds chips to your stack when you get down less than an initial buy-in, at the cash-table. Most professionals use this opportunity in order to have a full-sized stack in an asset and to maximize a potential profit against the fish.

That is why if you have noticed that a player has not replenished his stack after losing a certain amount of chips, then probably you are opposed by not the strongest opponent.

Posts the blinds out of turn

Perhaps, this is the most accurate indicator of a weak player. Every time you see that someone sits down next to your table and prefers to instantly post the big blind into the game without waiting for the "natural position of BB", you can be sure that you are about to compete with an inexperienced opponent.

No regular ever does it for obvious reasons. Therefore, if you notice such a player, take a note on him.

Define the fish in MTT

As well as in cash-games, in tournament poker, you can also define who your opponent is by some signs.

Strange bet size

People who have just met poker are very attracted to multi-table tournaments with large guaranteed prize pools, therefore such events as Sunday Million are always very popular and you can always meet a lot of weak players playing there.

Often, recreational poker players use non-standard bet sizes during the game. Each individual player does it from his own motives, therefore it is difficult to give a clear definition of such actions but it is possible to push yourself to the right decision.

First of all, one has to take into account that weak players almost never bluff with a small-sized bet. While professionals try to balance ranges and understand that the small bet can look very strong, beginners are on a different level of thinking and they don’t even consider such things. In other words, by making small-sized bets, they just try not to scare off you and get as many chips as possible. Therefore if an inexperienced player starts betting small, you don’t need to call him too often.

The second item that is worth noting is overbets. Some weak players try to apply them solely as a bluff, while others do it only for value. So your main task is to define how exactly your opponent plays. Once again, remember that such players don’t balance their ranges, they will almost never make overbets with both weak and strong hands. Therefore if you have noticed for several times that a large bet sizing from an opponent means his weakness, then you can be sure that his range doesn’t contain many strong hands when overbetting. That means you can call his bluffs more widely.

Time to make a decision

This tell is pretty controversial and it often doesn’t allow you to define a level of your opponent’s game, however, it can give useful information.

For example, if the opponent has decided to use time-bank and just clicked on "check" after that - it is often a sign of weakness in the hand. In such situations, the player simply tries to pretend that he is thinking about the bet, when in fact he has decided to leave a fight for a pot long time ago.

However, if someone bets after a long period of time - it can indicate the strength of the hand. The fact is that people naturally want to hide the power of their hand and they intuitively try to pretend they have faced a difficult decision - to bluff or not to bluff. While in fact the decision to bet has been taken immediately.

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