Poker Tells and Reads

Posted on April 9, 2012 by

What are poker tells?

Poker TellsThe answer to this question is simple. Poker tells are something that every player gives away and every opponent can pick up on. There are both live poker tells, but also online poker tells which will allow players to make an educated decision based on the information that they have picked up. New players should study the art of both online and live tells in poker, as it will allow them to drastically improve their game play. It will allow them to make moves and pick up pots that they did not expect, but also to avoid making some extremely large errors when it comes to bluffing if their opponent has a monster hand.

Tells in live poker

Live Poker TellsThe tells in live poker games tend to be a lot easier to spot than those of online poker. The physical appearance of a player can give a lot away. Analyze each player and see their facial expression when they fold, but also when they raise. Every time you get a chance to see their cards, look at them and match their actions with their cards. When it comes to playing against this player, it will give you a good idea of what is happening. For instance, some players will fidget a lot when they have a good hand or suddenly get a stern look on their face. They are ready to play and this might be a tell that they have a strong hand. Poker tells can be picked up on each player fairly quickly, so use them to your advantage.

Tells in online poker

The online poker tells can be a lot harder to pick up. One of the common tells when playing online to consider is the length of time taken to make a move. For instance if you are raising and the player takes a while to call, this might seem like this is because they have a weak hand. In fact, generally, the player is slow playing and trapping you into betting more, as they think you will fold otherwise.

Online Poker TellsAlongside this, is the aggression a player gives off, which is individual to the player involved. For instance, many online poker tells consist of the bet type and speed. A lot of players over bet the pot in an effort to take it down, generally because they are bluffing. That being said, always consider that this is not always the case and they might see you as a passive player that will call a bet regardless of the size and they are simply “acting” as if they are bluffing, trapping you and taking lots of chips in the process!

How to use tells and education

Poker tells are certainly not easy to read. They can give off one of two things; a strong hand or a bluff. Determining which one of these the players actually has is certainly the hard part. Some players will play aggressive when they have a good hand, where as other players will make it look like they have a bluff hand, or are fishing for something better. Experience is certainly something that helps with both online poker tells and live poker tells and reads. Over time, each player will be able to start picking up on the most basic tells, which will allow them to make an educated decision as to what type of range their opponent has.

Mike Caro BookEducation is important, especially in poker, as it is based on acquiring information. Mike Caro’s book of poker tells is a best seller in the poker industry. It does not just explain the common poker tells for live and online poker, but how to go about structuring game play to obtain information and read the tells that a player is being given. By using this book, many players have managed to adapt and improve their game play considerably.

Another excellent book about this topic is 200 Poker Tells by Joe Navarro. Now also available on Kindle and mobile devices (just like Mike Caro’s book) so one can take a look while playing poker. This book is excellent resource especially for live poker players. If you are looking for even more detailed information about tells in poker then Read’em & Reap by Joe Navarro & Phil Hellmuth has all the information about tells.


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