How to Read Poker Tells

We all have them. Some more visible than others. It’s our own little secret we try to hide from everyone. What is this common secret? Our own personal tells; the things that give us away.

tells-1Knowing how to read tells in other people can be a great asset to a poker player. Why? Due to the fact that by learning to spot other peoples tells, you can effectively judge what the strength of their hand is. Your opponents tells will let you infer if they are bluffing or if they actually have a strong hand. While not all people have the same tells, some tells are very common and most people will exhibit at least one.

So, what poker tells are an indicator of a strong hand?

A player that acts bored with the game or noticeably disinterested in the hand they are playing usually has a strong hand and their reaction is usually a cover by the player. They try to act as though there is nothing the least bit interesting in their hand but, on the inside, their adrenaline is pumping. They may even act as if they are being forced to play by practically complaining about making call or developing an exhausted look. Just remember that bad acting is a dead giveaway. It’s hard to act disinterested when you think you are about to win big.

Other physical reactions to look for are eye movement, trembling hands or changes in breathing. These signs are physiological responses to being dealt a strong hand and, the better the hand, the more prevalent these tells will be.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, opponents who are holding hands that are almost certain losers will develop other reactions. You may feel like you are in a staring contest because they will want you to think they are sitting on a strong hand. Also note breathing patterns as a change such as holding ones breath may indicate a bluff. These players are not a threat.

Undecided players give off other tells such as constantly checking their hole cards or taking an extensive amount of time before placing their bets. People giving these physical cues are often trying to decide if they really should call or fold and then fretting over the choice once it was made. They probably have a few good cards in their hand but just aren’t sure it is enough to win the hand. These players may give you a little competition.

This is just a brief synopsis of various tells. By taking the time to pay attention to other players, you will be able to discern their individual tells. Examples of these quirks include the fellow who scratches his left ear when he bluffs or the lady who yawns when she is holding a strong hand. Each individual has their own built in tell responses and it just takes careful observation to match the reaction to the source.

As an added bonus, by learning to read tells in other people, it will make you more conscious of your own tells. This is an asset in itself because knowing your tell is a great way to use it to your advantage. How so? Do you subconsciously scratch your nose when you have a strong hand? Next time you are bluffing, reach up and scratch your nose in the same manner as if you were holding a Royal Flush and watch the effect it has upon your opponents. It may not result in everyone folding at once but often times, a false tell will stack the odds in your favor.