Top 10 Poker Tells

July 16, 2014 by Paul Butcher

top-10-poker-tellsWhen you enjoy playing Poker or are learning how to master the game, not only do you have to have a very good mathematical understanding of the value of each hand you have been dealt out, you also need to be aware that your fellow opponents will be watching you very closely as you play each hand dealt out to you.

There is often a unique set of skills many Poker players need to adopt to ensure that they do not give away any “tells” when playing Poker.

A tell is a body movement or some form of facial expression that can give more experienced poker players, who are closely watching you, an idea of whether you do in fact have a very strong Poker hand or are trying to bluff them with a low valued hand!

Below is a complete overview of the top 10 Poker player tells. Make sure that when you are next practising your Poker playing skills at home you put in front of you a mirror and watch how you play each hand, it may often surprise a novice player just how much information they can give away via body movements of facial expressions!

  1. Playing with Jewellery – You really do need to look out for the players who are playing with a ring or necklace that they are wearing. Also you need to be alert to the fact that when you have a strong Poker hand you may find yourself suddenly rubbing your ring or fingering a necklace you are wearing.

    Playing with any type of jewellery they are wearing is one of the most basic give away tells a player can perform at a Poker table, so always be on the lookout for this tell and try and not wear any type of jewellery if you have noticed you start to play with it when playing Poker!

  2. Nervous Laugh – A fake of nervous laugh when a player is interacting with other players is usually a giveaway that something is not right with that player’s hand. The social nature of Poker is one where interaction, humour and Mickey taking of other players is to be expected, however an obvious tell is one whereby a player is unusually nervous or suddenly changes their mannerisms. So always be alert to these changes in a player you are playing against!
  3. Impatience – You often need the patience of a saint when sat around a Poker table. Poker players are never in a rush to take their turn and as such any player who seems impatient or very eager to play their hand is usually a player with a very strong hand. The impatience of a Poker player can often be that player’s downfall, so always be aware of such a player and monitor the hands they are playing when showing any kind of impatience at the Poker table!
  4. Counting Up Chips – Going all in with your chips is often an indicator that you think you have the hand required to win the pot on any round of Poker you are involved in. However some Poker players will try and intimidate another player into thinking they have a very strong Poker hand by looking at that opponents chip stack and then counting up their chips, as if they intend to go all in on their next turn!
  5. Staring at Other Players – Gawping at another player with a blank facial expression is often very off-putting for the other player, so if you notice one player is indeed looking at you, then be aware they may be trying to intimidate you and give you the impression their hand is much stronger than it actually is!
  6. Getting Angry – One very obvious Poker player tell you may come across of even suffer from is becoming angry. When a player has been folding their hand repeatedly and finally gets a playable hand they will become angry if several players on the trot fold their hand, and this will often give those players left in that game an indication that you have finally being dealt a strong hand and those players may also opt to fold their hands!
  7. Twitching – Any type of nervous twitch is going to be jumped upon and noticed by other more experienced poker players. So if you twitch your nose or any other body part you will have to control that twitch or you are likely to give away your playing strategy and will always be at the mercy of those more experienced Poker players!
  8. Looking Away from Other Players – When a novice Poker players knows they will not be able to control their facial expressions when they have a strong hand or they are bluffing, they tend to look into space and will never make eye contact with other players, and this is an obvious tell for more experienced players sat around the table!
  9. Trying to be Funny – One of the more obvious tells which to an inexperienced play can often go unnoticed, is when a player is trying to be funny or is teasing another player. Distracting any Poker player when they are deciding how to play there hand is often a vital part of bluffing or playing a strong hand, so always be on the lookout for a player who suddenly cracks a witty one liner or starts to tease one or more players sat around the Poker table you are playing at!
  10. Obscure Ramblings – You will often find lots of light hearted banter between players sat around a Poker table, however if one player starts rambling on about something unusual that is often a tell that they are trying to distract other players and not alert them to the way they are playing or just what type of hand they are holding!

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