Poker is a game that’s based on available information. We can never know for sure how good or bad our opponent’s hand is, usually until it’s too late. But since poker is a game based on human interaction, we often receive clues from other players, based on certain changes in their betting patterns or their body language, which implicates the strength or weakness of their hand. These are known as “poker tells”.
A player gains an aristocratic level of advantage over another player if he/she can understand their Poker tell, specifically if the poker tell is unintentional and reliable. Sometimes players even fake a tell, hoping to entice their opponents to make poor decisions in response to it. Well at the end of the day, Poker is a game of deception, as we all know it!
What are the Two Forms of Poker Tells?
Poker tells come in two forms, that are:
The Betting patterns, and the Physical tells
Betting Patterns are certainly the most dependable form of poker tells. By analyzing the way a player bets, from both past and present, you will have a good amount of information to study from to know whether to check or bet. Betting patterns will always remain your main Poker tell.
You must have seen it in movies how the Physical tells are dramatized. Obviously these are only valid for live poker, which can help a player steal some crucial pots over a lifetime. Unless you are a scholar, studying and analyzing a number of tells does take some work.
Spotting Accurate Poker Tells is Hard
What makes tells hard to rely on is the way they may vary from person to person. For instance, a player may put in his chips into the pot with immense force, and then leave his hands out dry. For most players this states a big hand, for others, it is a bluff. Some poker tells are untrue, many are contrasting, and some are just absolutely capricious. There’s no sparkle to it!.
As you make observing a practice, you will learn to sway through these numerous tells and observe that the initial tell is more often than not unfeigned, and the littlest tell is the most trustworthy. Most stretched, long, drawn out tells are untrue, set up to confound. The basic rule is that frailty usually means power, and power usually means weakness. But, you must be careful on how much weight to put on a tell at any given point. If you make observing fun, it will be a transitional, exhilarating part of your poker journey.
Here’s a List of Common Poker Tells:
There are several types of poker tells. The lists that follow in this lesson should only be used as a general guide. The reliability of each varies, and guessing the reliability of each poker tell is an art form. Many tells can also vary on the basis of being strong with one person and weak with the other, it is up to us to be able to tell the difference.
Poker tells before the cards are out:
Watch how the players buy in. Do they buy in for a long night or a short one?
If a player buys his chips in a loud, flamboyant, money waving act, he will likely play that way.
A conservative dressing style often means a conservative gameplay
Sloppy chips stack, usually means sloppy play.
Do they handle their chips like a pro, or do they stumble around like an amateur?
Poker tells that can indicate a strong hand:
Full relaxed lips.
A full, ear to ear, relaxed smile.
Eyes open, not blinking.
Corner eyeing the other players after staring at the flop
Blood pressure is up. Red in the face or throbbing vain in neck or head.
Taking deep breaths and hefty breathing usually means they’re ready for the game.
Glancing at their stack or yours to see how much to bet, taunting you
Getting Impatient, to bet.
Suddenly sits back in the chair all relaxed.
Suddenly sits upright and becoming very attentive
Sliding chips delicately, quietly into the pot.
Look at the flop then glancing intensely at players.
Cheek muscles start to flex.
Some players tend to act relaxed and then bet out of nowhere
Pupils are getting bigger.
Protecting hole cards more than usual.
Always remember that some poker tells are a lot more trustworthy than others. Many Poker players suggest watching the opponent's eyes, I suggest looking at their hands. That trembling hands are usually the sign of a good hand, and it’s also something that can’t be easily controlled either, so it’s generally dependable.
The Poker tells that may indicate a weak hand:
Muddled, forced, high pitched, slow, or unnatural speech.
Holding breath and languishing or still.
Throwing chips into the pot with immense force.
Gazing right at you. (Strength means frailty)
Taunting with a lot of chips, scaring you with a big bet.
Acting like showing the chips prematurely.
Checking hole cards after flop with a smirk
Breathing through the mouth when troubled.
Sticking out lips.
Tense Lips and getting smaller.
Upper lip develops stiffness.
Biting one’s lips.
Tongue bit into the cheek.
Covering their eyes.
Faking a smile.
Biting their nails
Rubbing of body parts like hands etc to placate oneself.
Anxiously digging nails into one’s hands
Now there’s a list for you. Observe a few and spot any tells next time you play live poker. Now let’s look at some of the rudiments to successfully spotting tells and other factors you need to consider.
Beginner Poker Tells
It’s necessary to acknowledge that the new players will not go to any great lengths to puzzle you with false tells. Don’t get too much into their bet timings or their body language. If you are looking for tells, just remember that the most obvious ones are the most accurate.
Online Poker Tells
Since you cannot really see the other players when playing online, the physical tells we’ve stated here are clearly not going to be valid here. But you have to remember that betting patterns are the most trustworthy poker tells. Look for certain changes in a player’s betting pattern and discern their timing. Taking a lot of time before calling, can also mean a weak hand and a fast call can mean a drawing hand as well! Nonetheless, timing tells aren’t always dependable, for all we know the online player can be reading a book, watching TV, or anything at all.
Practice is the Key
Gathering poker tells does not come naturally for all of us. But, after a while you will see the change in the flow and movement of the table, churning through numerous confusing bits of intel, pondering whether to check or bet, and at the same time chilling, enjoying, talking, drinking, and doing some cheap chip tricks. Once you learn to read the cards, the mathematical and order ratios, what's left to do? Reading People!!!
You cannot figure out everyone and everything easily. So concentrate on single players during your poker sessions, and never fail to watch a showdown while replaying what you observed during the hand and correlate it with the hands the combatants turn up. The very best time to study your opponents is when they’re involved in a hand and you’re not.
Practice is the key to reading any tell. Whether you are an observer or a crime scene investigator. Learning all the poker tells at the same time is difficult. It is more fun to learn one or two every time. For instance, one night at your game pick any player and observe his energy levels. While he won’t go from being senseless to getting all upright, most players do juggle around in their chair and sit up straight when they have a good hand or a hand they’d go forward with. Watch everyone’s body language at the game and it will become a habit for you to be observant at the game.
Another way to train yourself is to observe just one or two players for the first 10 minutes and then gradually add other players to the mix. Start with the player closest to you, because they are the ones that affect your play the most. For instance, can you guess if the players sitting to your left are going to check, fold or even raise? Can you guess if the players on your right are calling with a big hand or just want to see a Bargained for flop? Here’s something for you – players who stub their cards in their hands looking like they’re ready to surrender them to the dealer when it’s their turn usually do just that. It’s not a universal truth, but it’s true more often than not.
Setting Up False Poker Tells on the table:
We don’t want to give off tells, so we’ve got to watch ourselves. Do you lean forward when you have a good hand? Try this out – when you have a mediocre hand (such as QT on the button) get up from your chair, be super obvious, writhe around, raise the pot, and observe your opponents. Watch for who looks at you. You just exhibited a false tell. They think you have a great hand. Make a note of the players who are not sophisticated enough to notice your Oscar performance.
Don’t Overestimate the Importance of Tells in Poker:
Many poker players spend a huge amount of time just searching for unwitting poker tells and greatly exaggerate their importance. Every poker player is well aware of the fact that they are supposed to shield their emotions and disguise their true intentions with a Poker Face. People who don’t even play poker are familiar with this. Sure, some players do daze out some obvious physical tells, but the intentional actions that poker players do at the table are far more significant.
Concentrate on the larger picture first and analyze your opponents. Are they aggressive? Loose-passive? tricky? Placing players into broad parameters that explain their playing style and propensities will help you a lot more than just focusing on the tiny and unintentional things.
Physical poker tells are nowhere near as important as studying betting patterns and playing styles. Once you have mastered these, only then you should look for the definitive poker tells that many players reveal. But tells are amusing, and very few players focus on this part of the game – so you will have an upper hand. Conceding, poker tells may not make you any money on each and every hand, but with time, they will keep adding to your profit. In any business for that matter, if you could increase profits even if it's over time, you’d be very happy.