Poker Tells & Quit looking and learn to read your opponent



In the past few month of playing ive spotted a few tells that I use live all the time, most of the time the ones that Ive spotted tend to be accurate enough, anyway here is the list of the basic ones that i've spotted.

1. Huge overbets, ususally means a pure bluff, why would the player bet so much ? Ususlly it means that he doent want a caller, usually if i have any sort of hand ill go over the top, usually resulting with a quick fold. I did get caught with this last friday, the overbet was actually from a player with a made nut flush, oops.

2. Neat chips stacks/messy chips stacks. People who tidy up and are careful with their chip stack tend to be a very tight player, the opposite applys to a player whos chips are scattered all over their space. We play with one guys whos chips are always a mess, and true to form he sees nearly every flop.

3. Directed bets, nearly every time that a player throws chips in my direction, i try to raise, he is trying to buy me out of the pot.

4. We also have a player who nearly every time holds the straight or flush, announces to the table "oh there is a straight out there" EVERY time he says it, he has it. Hilarious, but not there is always someone that calls him down just to double check.

5. Big rookie mistake, we have one of even two players every monday who are actually holding their chips in their hands before it is their turn to bet, its very easy to delay your action for 2 seconds for a look around the table to see whats coming. The better players at the table do this to discourage betting but usually the rookies dont see this.

6. Shaking hands, the first time that i ever played in a live game this happened to me, about an hour in i hit a nut full house, and there was loads of action ahead of me, when it came to my turn to act, i literally could not stop my hands from shaking, one of the other players spotted it and folded as if he was holding 7 2 , he dropped a made flush. If you spot a players hands shaking, FOLD.

Thats it, ok guys feel free to add your experience.


I made a huge post on tells in another thread a while ago, then more recently linked and quoted it in another thread about tells. If I can find it again, ill post it here also. What you already have down here is much of what to look for when playing live. I am an almost exclusively live game player so I deal with this stuff on a frequent basis. Like I said, if I can find the threads again, ill link to them or copy and paste it here.


Quit looking and learn to read your opponent

I saw this article in The Poker Gazette and I figured some of you would find this worth a read. :icon_stud

Quit looking and learn to read your opponent[font=Verdana, Geneva, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]You've no doubt heard the myth about needing a poker face to play the game well. I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Poker isn't about reading facial tics. It's about reading people.

What's the difference, you say?

When you hear the term "reading your opponent," it doesn't necessarily mean that you are looking for body-language clues. More often than not, the tells you're looking for come from reading your opponents' betting patterns.

There is a famous poker player who claims he can "see through your soul."

No, he can't. Some top pros might want you to believe that type of hype so that they can garner a psychological edge.

The truth is, an elite player doesn't focus much on body language. Instead, he tries to understand how you think based on the hands you play and how you play them.

He isn't looking for some obscure nostril flare or eye twitch to make a decision, but you can bet he's delving into his memory bank and comparing notes from previous hands.

He likely is asking himself questions such as: "How much did my opponent bet the last time he was bluffing?"

Or: "When he flops three of a kind, does he usually check to trap me or does he bet right out to protect his hand?"

Those physical tells TV commentators like to go on about are for the most part useless. Watch me on television and you'll see that I make all kinds of strange faces. Good luck trying to figure out what they mean.

Reading tells and reading people are two separate skills that are often lumped together. They are, in fact, very different.

Reading tells is the ability to recognize the way people look when they are bluffing versus telling the truth. Reading people deals more with the ability to understand how someone thinks based on clues.

Mastering both skills
To read tells, the first thing you'll need to do is pay attention, not only when you are in a hand, but also when you've folded and are waiting for the next deal. Study your opponents and look for behavioral patterns.

For example, maybe you see one of your opponents cover his mouth before he pushes in a big bet. After the hand, he shows that he was bluffing. Does he also cover his mouth when he has a strong hand? If not, you just might have picked up a valuable tell.

Reading people is really where it's at.

Poker is a game of people, and understanding how an opponent thinks will go a long way toward giving you a significant advantage over him.

To do this, you need to think like a detective by putting clues together and trying to understand what they mean. This could be anything from studying what your opponent is wearing to ascertaining what he does for a living. People reveal all kinds of clues about themselves.

Here's a case study: A man wearing an unbuttoned shirt and revealing tons of gold chains sits at your table.

He smells a little bit off, stacks his chips recklessly and smokes incessantly. His fingernails are dirty, and he won't stop shaking his knee.

Right off the bat, you know a good amount about this person, because you already have asked yourself this important question: Is he likely to be patient, scared and conservative, or is he more likely to be an impatient, fearless and aggressive player?

If you guessed the former, you might want to find a new hobby such as checkers.

Questions always useful
For more clues, ask him some questions.

"What do you do for a living?" is always a good one.

If he says he's a lawyer,
you know who not to trust, right?

If he claims he's a math teacher, chances are you're dealing with a very analytical player. If he swears he's a Sunday school teacher, you might be dealing with someone who is uncomfortable telling lies, or, in this case, already bluffing.

The bottom line is this: Reading tells and reading people are both skills that when used together make for a deadly combination.


Thanks DB, i think i missed that one the first time around, post that info if you can. Tonight on an all in with aces, a player made a comment that Liam always goes all in with a top hand. The table folded, a nice pot but it could have been better.

That made me think, my table image suffered as a result, so i put in a few big raises with junk and eventually got called down, and busted out. RESULT ??? Re-bought and got great action from everyone, ended up in the money in all three games tonight.

You have to remember table image is good, but make sure its not good enough so you get no action when you do make a hand.


Nice thread this with some good advice.I personally try to create an image that is opposite to the way i play and after a while change gears again.e.g.start off super aggresive and then go tight or vice versa.You gotta keep em guessing


Thread merged tenbob, it's done it chronologically, so your thread ended up at the top.
Poker Tells