Originally Posted by BDDP
tells are a HUGE part of live play. It is something you have to practice watching for. Studying videos and books is important to get you on teh right track but you have to watch people very closely for very subtle hints. the more you do it successfully the more you can rely on your assessment. When you first start looking for tells, you have to take them all with a grain of salt because the tendency it to imagine tells because you're looking for them. The tell about looking at the neck does suggest seeing the heartbeat in the carotid artery. if you were to pick up on a difference in a player based on that alone you'd have to ask yourself (and it would vary player to player) if it were beating because of being nervous to get caught in a lie, or out of anticipation of the monster they were hiding. The best time to catch a tell is as the new card comes out. Watch the players as the card hits the table, not the card hitting the table. You will catch more in that split second than you ever will once they've had time to digest the new information. If you want to improve your knowlege of tells, check out Carro's Book of Tells. A great read even if you're not convinced it's effective.
I don't know about the neck tell. I play live several nights a week at a local casino. I'll list some tells I'm aware of, it's not a complete list, buying Mike Caro's book of Poker Tells would be very helpful imo.
Keep in mind most (certainly not all) good players will minimize tells or have none that you can see, betting patterns will be your best tells with the good players.
Newer player tells I've observerd:
1. They look directly at you after a large bet or all in. This is a bluff. The look is to try and intimidate you into folding.
2. After a large bet or all in they won't look at you, they hold still, look down or look at the tv like they are disinterested in what you are doing. Fold, they have the nutz.
3. In a decent size pot they throw out a bet equal to or above the pot, this is an attempt to steal. (unless there's a straight or flush draw on flop this might be to get you to fold a draw).
4. They call your bet on flop, turn card comes and they look at their chip stack. This usually means the card hit them and they are intending to bet it.
5. They shake their leg or play with their chips (shuffle chips when they hadn't been doing before). They are nervous. One guy I play with does this when he has a great hand. A few other players I play with do this when they're bluffing. The only difference I've seen so far at where I play is the guy with a good hand shakes his leg like it's crawling with fire ants, the leg goes crazy! The others that seem to bluff more have a much slower shake.
6. They are chewing gum and suddenly stop chewing when a card hits the board - or - they are having a conversation with someone and stops talking - or - they were glancing at the game on tv and suddenly starts paying close attention when the card hits the board - these are all tells that they just hit a card/flop that improved their hand.
7. Talking, is it nervous chatter or babbling? They want you to fold.
8. Drinking - be it water or alcohol - they make a bet and pick up their glass to drink - usually a bluff.
9. Player takes a minute to think before betting, usually he/she has a good hand. He/She's trying to think of how to get the most money out of you.
10. A seemingly newer player quickly overbets the pot, shoves all in. They just flopped the nutz. New players have a tendancy to get excited when they flop the nutz and bet too much too quickly.
11. A players hand is shaking when he bets big, he usually has the nutz and is very excited about it.
12. A player leans forward in his chair when a card hits and he bets out, he has a good hand.
13. A player leans back in his chair after a bet, he's trying to steal.
14. The most dangerous tell that is most of the time accurate: He pushes all in and says "I guess it's time to go home". LOL! Fold!!! He has the nutz!
***Keep in mind good players are aware of most common physical tells and may try to intentially give you a false tell if they think you are an observant player.
The other night I flopped a boat, the guy flopped top pair with top kicker, I reraised him. I first made it look obvious that I was calculating my outs, then I started shuffling my chips, sat back in my seat, reraised him and took a drink of my beverage. He insta reraises me all in - he even said he was sure I looked nervous like I was trying to buy the pot. My plan worked because he was observant and watching me after I took some time to think about what to do. Had he not be an observant player this would not have worked.