Instant betting is the second most useful behavior in time betting when it comes to poker tells, behind immediate calls. Why ? Because most players tend to bet faster with bluffs than with strong hands.
This Tends To Happen For Several Reasons:
- An immediate bet of a decent size usually indicates a polarized range (strong or weak). With medium strength hands, players are motivated to think about the best possible strategy (to bet or not, how much to bet, etc.). So, the big immediate bets will usually be bluffs or strong hands. In most cases, it is more difficult to have a strong hand than to have a weak hand, so there is a natural bias towards weaker hands.
- With strong hands, players are more likely to focus on making money and playing the hand in the best possible way. This means that there is a natural tendency for players with strong hands to take the time to think about bet sizes and other strategic considerations. Bluffers don’t have as much to think about as players with strong hands. A bluffer usually knows he needs to make a decent size bet. Often a bluffer has already decided in the previous round that he will bluff if he does not improve; he has a plan in place, which makes it more likely an immediate bet in the next round. This is especially true for the player who was the aggressor in the hand.
- Bluffers are motivated to appear confident, and one way to do this is to bet without too much pause. Conversely, players with strong hands may have the opposite motivation: to appear uncertain and contemplative. It is also a factor that makes immediate bets more likely to be weak hands.
Even with all of these factors, you should remember that this is a general trend, not a very strong trend. We’ve all seen players make immediate bets with strong hands, and we have all made immediate bets with strong hands. But recognizing that this is a general pattern can help you spot players who may have very reliable forms of this pattern.
Eye Contact After Putting On
Many former poker players say wisdom has said that players who stare at you after betting are more likely to bluff. The idea is that these players are trying to intimidate you into not paying. The truth, however, is more complicated. There are two main patterns of eye contact behavior to look out for:
- Pattern # 1: Make more eye contact after betting a strong hand (because he’s relaxed and not afraid to interact). Having less eye contact after bluffing (due to anxiety and wanting to avoid prying eyes).
- Reason # 2: Make less eye contact after betting a strong hand (because he wants to appear “weak”). Make more eye contact after bluffing (to appear “strong”).
Notice That These Are Exactly Opposite Models.
This demonstrates the possible complexity of this type of behavior in general. Some players will have no noticeable eye contact. The point is that some gamers will have one of these major models, so it may be worth looking for them.
The first trend is more common among recreational players. This is because these players will tend to “interact” more with their opponents after betting strong hands, especially after final bets (river or all-in). This interaction can take the form of increased eye contact. Most recreational players, when bluffing, tend to avoid observation and interaction, resulting in decreased eye contact.
It’s worth noting that eye contact patterns are easier to notice when you are seated directly in front of an opponent, as this seat placement naturally leads players to look at each other more often. If the players are seated next to each other, this kind of behavior does not appear as often.