Video:How to Read Poker Tellswith Jon Stewart
Just as important as being able to bluff, is the ability to read poker tells of other players.See Transcript
Transcript:How to Read Poker Tells
Facts About Reading Poker TellsIt's all in the cards, right? Or, is it? Bluffing is actually what takes this game to a new level. It's challenging but a whole lot of fun. But how do you know when someone "else" is bluffing? As long as there's been poker, there's been bluffing. And, as long as there's been bluffing, there have been tells, those quirky habits, behaviors, or any physical reaction that "tells" the other players what kind of hand you've got. And, while telepathy trumps tells, let's face it, tells are all you got. Bret Maverick isn't the only one with the lowdown on poker tells. With a keen eye and a little bit of patience, you too can learn to read them.
Tips for How to Read Poker TellsWhile everyone has their own unique tells, there are certain mannerisms that are usually dead giveaways. When a player has a good hand, they may act unexcited or uninterested, shrugging or sighing. While a player might be able to act as if they are unhappy with their cards, physical reactions like rapid breathing or shaky hands are much more difficult to control or hide. So it may not you that the attractive guy or gal at the table is excited about - it's probably their cards. There are also universal tells when a player has a poor hand. These include aggressive behaviors like staring down an opponent or flicking the chips while making a bet.
Additional Tips for Reading Poker TellsLess experienced players have even been known to hold their breaths when bluffing. If a player has a drawing hand, they might check their cards repeatedly or take a long time before calling a bet. That long pause is often an indication of some quick calculating. As you're reading everyone else's tells, don't forget to check your own. It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of the game and completely forget to don your own poker face. It's important to take into consideration whether or not a player is an experienced pro or a newbie who may have only ever played online.
More experienced players will often try to throw off their opponents by acting and giving false tells. Even if you're sitting down with a player for the first time, knowing their experience level will go a long way toward reading their tells. While it's a good rule of thumb that players with strong hands act weak and those with weak hands act strong, you still need to be on the lookout for those physical signs of what a player's really thinking--especially if you are trying to win the pot with a pair of twos. I'm Jonathon Stewart, with About.com.
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