Everyone in every walk of life has tells. Even people who can beat lie detector tests have tells. So here are the Top 10 Tells for you to look out for the next time you’re at the poker table.
10. Shaking Hands While Betting – this is a two way street tell, 1.the player is nervous and is bluffing but 2. and this mostly applies to inexperience players, sometimes when a player has shaky hands during a big pot it also means he has a big hand, is this case play the player. Would he be in a big pot without a big hand and do you believe he’s the kind of player to try and steal a big pot?
9. Avoiding Eye Contact, Looking Away – most people can’t lie to people’s faces, he’s bluffing.
8. Covering Their Mouths – the face is one of the keys to knowing if someone is lying, when someone is trying to cover a part of their face it means they’re bluffing. But watch out, most players know this is a bluff tell and will do this on purpose with a strong hand, so determine if your opponent is experienced enough to know this.
7. Sitting Up Straight – if a player is sitting up straight they are definitely interested in the pot and have a big hand to play it with. Players who are slouched over don’t care about the pot and don’t have a hand.
6. Chip Denomination – here’s how this works: if someone bets $300 and instead of using 3 black chips they use 60 red chips they are bluffing and are trying to use the larger amount of chips as a way to intimidate you. On the flip side, for some reason most players like to hold onto their larger sized chips, like greens and blacks, so if they bet with them, it’s safe to say that they don’t think they’re going to lose them.
5. Calling Quickly – if a player has their chips in the middle before you’re even done announcing your bet, it’s a clear indication the player is on a draw.
4. Eating and Raising – people don’t like to be disturbed while they eat and most people aren’t going to take the extra effort to try and bluff at a pot when they have food to eat. In most cases, players will not even get involved in a hand unless they have something worthwhile, because they could be eating instead.
3. Sudden Jump in Seat or Looking at Chips – this is a popular tell, if a player suddenly moves in their seat or looks at their chips they have a strong hand.
2. Talking/Conversation/Acting – most times talking is a sign of weakness, they don’t want you to call, it’s kind of like a little kid trying to talk their parents out of grounding them. However, if a player gets to the point where his talking is like a staged act then he’s got a strong hand. If a player starts acting like they “really don’t want to call” or “don’t know what to do with their hand” it means they’ve made a really strong hand and they want you to think they’re weak. The next time your Spider-Sense goes off and you think a player is weak, take the time to make sure they’re not Acting.
1. Shoving Fast or Slamming Down Chips Hard – If a player quickly shoves their chips into the middle or slam down their chips with authority it means they don’t want you to call and they are trying to intimidate you. It’s kind of like “when someone acts weak they are strong, when acting strong they’re weak”.
So there you go, 10 Poker Tells to look out for the next time you’re on the felt, but like everything in life they are not a 100% guaranteed. In the end you should be playing with the instincts you have been developing since you started playing poker, just use these “Tells” as a way to help you figure out the hand.