Reading an opponent in online poker tournaments is harder than in live poker, as you have way fewer tells. You may think the only way to read an opponent is just by his betting amounts. Well, that is not completely true. Timing is a very important tell in online poker and if you manage to interpret it well it could give you an extra reading ability that will definitely improve your game significantly.
When a player calls too rapidly it generally means he might have some kind of mediocre hand, could be from a middle pair or even a draw, and by making a quick call he is trying to show strength but it actually shows the opposite. Those quick calls, in most cases, represent weakness. This quick call wants you to believe that he is decided to call you everything that you bet, but this is not true.
Blinds are 150 and 300. I raise to 700 and get called by later position. Flop comes and I don’t hit, so I bluff with a continuation bet of 450, he instantly calls. If he’s got the best pair he would probably raise me or at least consider that move, but calling so quickly generally means he is either on a draw or on a weak pair. A rag appears on the turn, and here you should make a strong bet to put pressure on him. He would hardly call with a weak pair and if you are on a draw you could make even a greater bet forcing the opponent to fold. If he calls your bet on the turn then it is possible that he’s got a big pair and that he was just trapping you, so you should carefully consider whether it would be profitable to dodge a third bullet on the river.
You should be cautious on this tell. Many times when someone bets to quickly it could represent a bluff. But sometimes good players do this on purpose on inexperienced ones to appear as they are bluffing when they are actually not. So they make crazy bets to appear as bluffs with very good hands. Here is when you need to have a very good understanding of his game.
Pot is 1500, blinds are 150 300. 2 Handed. Flop comes Kh 8d 7c and you check with pocket 10s, he makes a quick bet of 800 you take some time and calls. If he’s a really good hand he would rarely bet that quick and instead he would think which play would be best to take you as much money as possible, but this quick bet in most cases means he is just trying to take down the pot (delay for calling his bet could make him think you are not sure you are ahead in the hand). So the turn comes a 9d and now he quickly bets 2300, a strong bet, almost the pot. Possible straight, double pairs, you could have anything still he makes a very quick strong bet trying to take down the pot on the turn. You call since you have the second best pair and a nut straight draw plus a probably bluff from opponent, river comes and it’s a Qc. Now he makes another quick overbet of 3200. Many players will just fold in this situation, which is not a bad fold at all. However, will he bet that much with just a pair of Qs? No, what is he’s really got the king, will he bet that much with possible straight or any kind of two pair, no at all. You don’t make such bet with a single pair. So according to your readings you assume he is just trying to scare you off since none of his bets and timings makes sense at all. Overbets generally means he doesn’t want to get called. So everything will indicate he is just trying to scare you with those. If he’s got a set of 7s he wouldn’t make an overbet on the turn knowing that you took a considerable amount of time to call his bet on the flop, it wouldn’t be smart to scare you with the nuts. This is a situation where you could call here as he is surely bluffing.
So remember, although all of these tells could work very well there are good players that will likely make quick overbets to appear as they bluffing when they are actually not. Or sometimes they make quick calls with sets to trap the opponent.