Online Poker Avatar Tells

By David Sasseman | January 25, 2009

Avatars, you know those little images that online poker players use to represent themselves – they are poker tells. Why give away information when it’s not necessary? What is the motivation? If someone spends all that time to download an image instead of playing, you know they may have priority issues. Let’s examine some of the more obvious poker avatar tells.

The Kitty-Cat

If I see a kitty-cat, I know my opponent is probably a weak, passive, tight player, who lives alone. The same applies for ponies/horses, the little flea bitten dogs, and other ‘prissy’ animals. Minimum bet these hapless fish and they will fold. If they raise, run like their animal is trying to put the bite on your ankle.

The Spouse/Baby

A picture of a spouse and/or baby represents a hen-pecked, whipped, novice player, who is usually tight and careful because the next half hour is the only time they get for their own pursuits. Also, they guard their money like it’s not their own (and of course it isn’t, it is really their spouse’s). Semi-bluff this burdened soul out of small pots, and then bust them when they have a good hand, while you are holding the nuts. They will never have the ‘nuts.’

The Goofy Avatar

A goofy avatar, like a cartoon character, indicates a foolish player…and the more idiotic the avatar, the more harebrained the player. Distract them by chatting while you go all in with the best hand. They are also attracted to shiny objects.

The Fast Car/Animal

The fast car or fast animal (such as a jaguar), are a hyper, impatient bunch. Wait and re-raise this ‘player’ with a hand you know has a head-start. They will race with you.
If their avatar is mean looking then exploit by making them mad and putting them on tilt. Hit this mortal hard, when they are down.

The Real Avatar

An avatar, that is a photo of the player, means they are simple, self centred, narcissistic, testosterone filled, ATMs. Bet 3/4 the pot with the best hand. They will call you to the river with second best. If they have sunglasses, bring out the rope-a-dope strategy (let them bet for you when you have the best poker hand).

Other Avatar Tells:

  • Booze and drug avatars are simply easy picking, for obvious reasons. Go all in when you flop the joint.
  • Sports avatars – see booze above, just assume they drink.
  • A thoughtful avatar means a serious percentage player. Be careful and outsmart this actor.

Most of the rest of the avatar users can only be classified as giving away some important piece of information…thus the title. Do not use a poker avatar unless you want to give opponents free information. If you feel you have to express yourself, use an avatar that is a reverse tell. If you are a tight, grinder, use a speed boat for your avatar. If you are a loose cannon, use E=MC2 for an avatar.

Do not get me started on the stupid user names!

By David Sasseman

David lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and has played over a million hands online and many thousands of hands in Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, and Las Vegas casinos.


One Response to “Online Poker Avatar Tells”

  1. Karlovac
    October 25, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Interesting stuff. I tracked this down because I’ve just started using, as per the end of your article, a reverse tell avatar… a pretty girl (I am not a pretty girl, or a girl at all).

    It’s insane. They treat you like an object – an object that can’t play poker. They creepily flirt with me over chat, whilst I sit laughing, taking all of their chips. Men, it seems, are as dumb as women often tell us we are!

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