Different poker players have different gambling patterns, so naturally poker tells will vary widely. More experienced poker players patterns will vary much more than a beginners. It’s always best to study a player beforehand, if possible, in order to gain some insight into which tells are consistent. It’s impossible to know, without any previous observations, if poker tells will apply to a specific player. However, most recreational poker players will display the same tells, again and again.
Poker Tell #1 – It’s All in the Eyes
One of the main tells in poker is eye contact, particularly if a player is seated directly across the table from you. The most obvious tell is that if a player is staring directly at you, then they are more likely to be bluffing. The reason that they are staring so intently at you, is because they are trying to intimidate you.
Recreational poker players will typically stare at you when their hand is strong, as they are not afraid to call. They may also avoid eye contact when bluffing, due to feeling anxious and attempting to not give anything away about their hand.
On the flip side, a professional poker may make less eye contact when holding a strong hand in order to appear weak, whilst staring at you when they have nothing. In this instance, staring is used as a defensive strategy to discourage you from making a bet.
Poker Tell #2 – More Than Small Talk
Small talk at the poker table can tell you a lot about the hands that your opponents are holding. If there is a lot of chatter coming from players that are waiting to act, then you can be pretty sure that they are folding if any bets are made. Whilst a player with a strong hand, will not wish to draw attention to themselves, often remaining silent.
If a player is saying things in order to discourage you to call, then he probably isn’t holding the nuts. If what your opponent is saying is presenting an obstacle to your betting, then they are almost certainly talking defensively.
Poker Tell #3 – Immediate Action
Bet-timing can often be another poker tell. Immediate bets and calls can tell you a lot about what your opponent may be holding. If your opponent calls a bet immediately, then they have already decided against raising, which means that they are not convinced that they have the best hand. A player with the nuts will naturally want maximum value from the pot. This makes it very unlikely that a poker player who calls immediately is holding a strong hand. An immediate call indicates that the hand is weak. So if you are bluffing and your opponent calls immediately, you should feel encouraged to bet again.
Immediate bets can tell you almost as much as immediate calls as most players tend to bet immediately when bluffing. If your opponent has a strong hand, they will be focused on maximising the value of that pot. This usually means that they will take some time to consider a strategy. A bluffer has already decided that they are going to bluff on this round if they are dealt nothing, so they will be more inclined to make a large bet quickly.
Poker Tell #4 – Staring at the Cards
If a player is staring at their hole cards pre-flop, then the chances are that they have nothing of any value. This is because when a poker player is dealt a strong hand, they will instinctively look away in order to not attract attention to what they may be holding.
The same can be said if a player stares at the board cards when dealt, it probably means that they haven’t connected with what has been drawn in any way. The more interested they appear to be in the cards presented on the flop, the higher the chance is that they have nothing.
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