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Poker Tells - Offline
1) Shaking hand: normaly when novice players have a huge hand.
2) Players looking at their chips: When novice players are looking at their chips just after the flop is dealt, they normally want to play the hand, as they are considering betting the flop (keep an eye on them exactly when the flop hits the table)
3) Looks very interested in the flop: If a player is staring at the flop, he is normally trying to discourage others to be. He is acting strong but is usually weak.
4) Players check their hole cards mid-hand: If 3 suited cards hit the flop, or the 3rd suited card hits the turn and the player checks his holecards, usually they would not have a flush, but be on the draw. They are checking to see if they have one of the suited cards or not. Had they had 2 suited cards matching the flop/turn, they would remember.
5) Player verbally abuses you: When a player verbally abuse you or talk trash after having bet, it usually means he has a strong hand. He is trying to upset you to making the call or raise him out of anger.
6) Polite after a bet: If a novice player is "overly" polite after he bets, it often shows that he is bluffing.
7) Weak vs Strong: If an inexperienced player acts strong, it usually means the exact opposite. Same as if he acts weak, he is normally strong.
8) I once saw a player who announced the size of the bet he was making everytime he was bluffing, whereas when he had a hand, he would just put the chips in, and not say anything (except perhaps raise). Unneccessary to say, it was a very profitable tell to have on him
9) Another guy would instantly act like he was just about to show his holecards when I made a reach for my chips to make the call. He would only do this when bluffing to avoid the call. However when he had a strong hand, he would sit completely still when I reached for my chips to call. I saved a lot of chips against that guy when I used a bit of time of thinking, playing with my chips and following his reaction.
10) Quick calling: When a player calls your bet very fast and almost cannot wait to call your next bet as well, with his hands on his chips ready to splash them in the pot, he usually have a weak hand and would prefer to see the next card for free. So if you hae a hand, bet – if not slow the action down and try to make the best decision regarding betting or checking the river.
11) Looking sad/disappointed: When a novice player looks sad or disappointed, this very often means that he has a strong hand or that he hit the flop. Be carefull here!!
12) Post blinds out of turn: If a new player comes to the table and posts blinds out of turn, he will normally be either impatient or inexperienced, both which is good qualities in an opponent
Joined: Feb '08
Location: United Kingdom
Age: 33 (M)
So much I want to say I don't know where to begin.
first of all, a lot of the rules say when novice players do such and such. But how do you know if they are novice and does the rule become the opposite for experienced players. Plus a lot of players I know pretend that they are new and don't know what they are doing so that players underestimate them.
When I play live poker I sometimes find myself shaking when I don't have a hand. It's annoying as other players comment on it, when I don't want to give them an impression either way. It's sometimes after I've just won a huge hand or pulled off a huge bluff but sometimes just randomly.
I also find myself looking at my hole cards again mid-hand all the time. Even though I know exactly what cards i've got, I find myself checking them. What this tells my opponents I don't know but I see pros on TV do this too. I once watched a game where a guy had aces and even though there were no flush draw possibilities, he still looked again causing the commentators to joke 'yes they are still there'.
I think that everyone is an individual and just as everyone plays a hand differently, people have different tells. Betting quickly could be a sign for strength in one person and weakness in another. I like points number 8 and 9. They are perfect examples of what you should be looking out for.
I've also heard that people who like their cards sit closer to them and that people who don't sit back in their chair. I'm very interested in psychology and body language. I've never been a very good reader of other peoples emotions or body language so I've always paid attention to this sort of stuff on TV but I've always thought that it's easy to mask or fake especially in situations like poker.
Joined: Nov '08
Location: United States
Age: 56 (M)
I can add 2:
1) Real simple. Novice players have a tendency to get excited when they have a hand. This should be an easy and obvious tell.
2) This is also poor poker etiquette, but often times people count out chips to make a call before it is their turn to act. Kinda lets you know that they are planning to do, when it does get to them. they shouldn't do that, or fold out of turn for that matter, lol.
Joined: Apr '08
Age: 33 (M)
A novice player is death afraid of comitting all his chips in the pot and risking his tournament life ... often you see those players bet like 9/10 of their stack , then you know his easily BLUFFED if you put him ALL IN FIRST .
The part where the players sits closer to their cards when having a good hand is just BS imo. But the part about the amateur players being polite when bluffing is absolutely true ...
Joined: Oct '07
Age: 64 (M)
I want to say a few words regarding this issue. I have around 20 years experience as a winning poker player, both off and online.
Its obvious that you can not depend 100% on tells when you play, sometimes you will either be wrong, or maybe be trapped.
But its your job if you are a good poker player to find out if your opponent have the capability to trap you. And once in a while you will get a bad or maybe expensiv experience.
But thats not what its all about. If you read peoples tells right, and use them right you will have gain very much every time you sit at the table. I have seen many players give away very much of their hands with simple tells like mentioned above.
One time i played very much in a public casino with a very fat guy. And the food we could buy was very good, so he was eating maybe 3-4 times a day while we were playing. When he eat, he took a very short look at his cards and if not a monster he put them halfway to the borderline. Then i know for sure he was folding. And when he got a monster, which was required for playing while eating , he suddenly had attention to the table.
This was a very very big tell, and i can tell you only me and one more at the table observed that.
I have also played with a guy which had hes wife sitting behind him when he was playing, and she know the game very well. He was a very bad looser, and played every hands for full power when he was behind, and this cost him many money. But when the wife were there, he could play in control even he was behind, because she told him when he did some stupid.
But when she was going away from the table and he was behind, he played like hell until she came back, no matter how bad card he had. These kind of things are very important to observe as quick as possible, so you can have the benefit when the situation occur.
To notice and use the tells are not the most important thing in poker, but sometimes its like playing against a player who show you his card once in a while, and thats nice right
So my suggestion is pick up every tells, share them with each other, suddenly you will se them out there, and can use them.
Joined: May '09
Age: 36 (M)
Great! Always love physical pokertells topics!
Most of the downsides are mentioned above so it is waisted time to mention them again.
A tell I see very commenly in Casino's in Holland as well as in private cash games is the way people shove their chips in. When having a big hand these people but the chips in a straight line to the pot, when they are bluffing or betting their draw they shove their chips not straight to the pot but at an angle. To clearify..| straight to the pot(big hand) to the pot(bluff or draw)
Also when playing with rich callingstation never bet easy numbers when you dont want a call. When you bluff 50 euro's it is very easy for them to grap. Bluff 47euro then they have to make extra effort to figure out what chips they want to get in to the pot and it discourages them a lot.(In my experience, you need to figure this out for yourself if it works or not)
Other standard tells most people seem to have is the time they spend watching at the flop, looking at their own chips, looking at your chips(ussually this means business), talking, being distracted when it is their turn, betting paterns and of course all sort of physical anomalities. These are not the same with all players and you need to interpret these first before you use them.
Interpreting tells is maybe the hardest thing, seeing them is usually a lot easier so be very aware. Figure out if your gut feeling is right ussually, your subconsious notices a lot more then your conciousnes.
I love playing on the man instead of the cards...calling all in on the river with just A high gives the best rush ever when playing poker.
Joined: May '08
Age: 49 (M)
In the most casino´s on low limit´s table maybe 2/4€ are many bad player´s. In the first round´s i look at the last in my cards a look at the other player´s.How they play. I find it very simple to see where good and where bad is on the table. I try to get a tight image on the table so i sometimes show a strong hand but not often maybe 1 or 2 times a night.I make this for situation to catch money with not so good cards when i in a hand with another good player i can win the hand when i bet. I try to get in hand´s with the worst player´s on the table. I can´t not really say about tell´s .That´s the situation on the table every player got another tell. My problem is i have a broken shoulder( i got not the real word in english) So sometimes shake´s my hand the nerve´s are not ok. It´s a great handicap for me in live games when i will bluff. But many forum´s say that look´s like a strong hand. I meaning with this is good for information for tell´s like this post i read a lot of this thema but it´s can change so look at the situation at the table sometimes good player´s use tell´s to trap u. I make it too sometimes i play the idiot on the table make little mistakes ask the dealer what i must do and so on so i look like a novice and make money with this
Joined: Jan '09
Age: 36 (M)
I get really agitated when everyone knows its my turn, and 2 or more ppl are all in my face saying"what r u gunna do!!!!!!" and i know im not far behind. Pressure is all..........i mean i think i'm winning. Am i wrong to think im being pressured or do i enjoy the control?
Joined: Apr '09
Age: 31 (M)
Acting strong when weak vice versa --> Very easy to spot in bad players. Voice changing (i don't notice this one because i have no attention span, but i know its true) Breathing heavily --> excited, usually excited because bluffing. Shaking hands is a big one.. usually indicates huge hand. If they are VERY calm, can indicate a huge hand.
The best one is when the card is dealt and a player looks at his chips. This always means hes going to bet. If they check here they are slowplaying
Joined: Feb '08
Age: 48 (M)
what I see watching some pros play is that not only are fixed in their opponents' tells, but also make movements or say something to provoke a reaction and there read and act to make a decicion, osea, not only is to observe but to pressure them to become its most obvious tells. Negreanu is one player that does this to perfection.
There are so many tells in poker that there are entire novels written on only that subject. This is pretty important in poker to help maximize profit and manimalize losses. Televized games can help develop the skill of recognizing tells. Since any serious player is developing this skill, the flip side is to be very aware that there are players looking for tells on u. Learning how to play live without giving up tells can be even more difficult to do since many of your actions are involuntary.
Joined: Oct '09
Age: 30 (M)
Another behaviour that I found very useful when playing life is this: When you play against an inexperienced player and you see that this guy is about to bet, immediately look at your own chips, put your hand on them and then look back at your opponent. If he hesitates to continue betting, his hand is usually weak, and if he shoves his chips in confidently,he is strong
Nice, i deff enjoy the offline game alot & there is lots of useful suggesstions here that i will make sure to look out for. However you got to bear in mind that looking for tells is give & take, sometimes they can help you greatly & sometimes they can really hurt you so its always more important to observe betting patterns & what sort of hands your oppennent is playing/showing down & in what positions etc. One tell that i always like to look out for is how villain responds to when the cards come out. Its not difficult to tell if he didnt like that 3rd coming out or if it really helped him as the limits i play at most oppenents are rather weak tbh.
Joined: May '10
Age: 32 (M)
The tone of the voice is higher pitched when the player is nervous, and is a sign that he is bluffing, you got to pay attention because it's just the first sound usually, then the opponent controls his voice. Also, I recomend watching "Lie to me". It's a tv series that focuses on the verbal and physical tells of people. I know it might sound odd, but it is a very good show, especially for poker players, it teaches u alot about face mimics and fidgeting and so on. About the shaky hands you've been telling...I've seen a lot of people (inexperienced players) see it as a bluff (they take it as a sign of nervousness), so I don't know about the huge hand..Plus, it might just be that the person u are playing has shaky hands in general, due to lack of sleep or smth....I get shaky when a play even a lil bit tired or if I didn't smoke for a long time etc... A major sign is revealed by the legs..people control their upper body, but their legs fidget under the table if they got a good hand. If you are sitting opposite of the player, just look at the slight movement of the torso, that should let u know if they have jumpy feet :lol: