Gaming / GamblingStories

Most Common Poker Tells

Picking up on the physical actions and behavior of your opponent at a poker game will give you a significant edge

A poker tell is a signal, gesture, or verbal statement that can give away clues on what a poker player potentially has in hand. The sign can come from the slightest body language, the player’s eyes and other actions that help evaluate the strength in the cards they have.

Poker tells help opponents plan their next move, although they are also deceiving in some instances. Seasoned players have mastered the art of intentionally displaying actions and expressions to mislead their opponents on the strength of their hands. After playing poker for a while and gaining significant experience, many players can see through the deceit and not fall for the play the opponent puts down.

Here are the most common poker tells:

Playing Too Fast or Too Slow

In general, when a player plays their turn quickly, often, it is a sign of weakness because it shows the player does not have many options. Players who take time before they play give an impression that they hold strong cards, which, if they plan their move carefully, can influence the game’s outcome in their favor. Timing is an excellent poker tell, but many players know this is what their opponent is looking at and may intentionally increase or decrease their play rate to confuse their opponents.

Staying Alert

The best poker players never miss anything that goes on at the table. For this reason, most players are attentive and have all their focus on the game. When a player seems distracted by external factors, this could be a tell-tale sign that they don’t have strong cards and anything else is more important than what they hold. When a player has their eyes on the game, they watch every move to strategize their next play. Attentiveness is not the most substantial poker tell, but it gives a lot of insight.

Conversations

What an opponent says during the game is also a poker tell. Players who casually speak as they play exude confidence; other players who speak too much or at any opportunity display a lack of focus in the game. Some players verbally express disappointment to suggest weakness, but this message often comes off as a strategy of deceit. A clever tip to use, whenever an opponent talks as they play, look out for their body language, eyes, and other tell-tale signs that may support what they are saying. Sometimes a player might display confidence in their words, but constant fidgeting, scratching their heads, and more might relay their genuine emotions at that point.

Intent Staring

If an opponent looks at you directly into the eyes, it signifies strength and confidence. In periods of uncertainty, it’s human nature to fidget, look away, or look down. A player with a firm hand will face their opponent directly to intimidate them. However, some players do this to confuse their opponents when in the real sense, they hold weak cards.

Shaking Hands

Shaky hands tell a lot. No matter how confident a player is, if highly anxious, they will likely tremble when reaching out for chips or playing their cards. This is one way to spot uncertainty at the table. Confident hand movements or the tendency to reach out for chips immediately when their turn comes is a sign of strength that shows the player can’t wait to play. 

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