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How to Spot a Poker Tell

By Jack Reider 
Copyright 2006

This article deals with poker tells: How to spot them and how to collect useful information by reading them.

Tells are one of the most important aspects of poker. They are a big part of the game and very important to get clues and hints about the cards that your opponents hold.
A good poker player knows that the amount of money that his opponent bets on has nothing to do with his cards and that in order to evaluate his opponents situation he must spot tells.

A good experienced player can gather lots of information from tells. Tells are signs that reveal information in many different ways, good players know how to spot them and how to use the information that they revealed for their own benefit.
Another important advantage of knowing how to pick up tells is the ability to avoid giving away your own tells. If you know how common players reveal information by tells you can try to look at yourself while playing and to notice what kind of tells you give and by that to learn how to monitor and avoid it.

There are many tells that experienced poker players can read. Tells are very idiosyncratic so in order to know exactly how to read a player's tell you have to play with the specific player for a long time. In the long run you'll realize that you're familiar with your friend's tells and that you can read them like an open book, but if you're playing against new opponents in all sorts of poker rooms, here are some of the things that you should look for.

The first thing that you have to look at is the eyes. If you'll watch professional poker tournaments you'll notice that many poker pros are playing with sunglasses or visors. This is because the eyes can reveal lots of information about one's cards.
Take a good look at your opponent's eyes, learn how he reacts to different situations and you'll now how to read his tells.

You can also learn a lot from the facial expression on your opponents' face. You can tell if a player is nervous or eager if he has specific facial expressions or 'tics' and you can look for specific smiles or concern if the hands are good or bad.

Look for certain body gestures that can hint on a specific hand. Look for signs of anxiety or distress. There are stimulus responses that even the most experienced players cannot hide, so try to look for those physical changes and to study how the other players respond to different situations.
Try to look for eye pupil dilations, signs of dry throat, sweat, trembling hands and flexing of muscles and changes in the body gestures.

Other things that you have to look for are a repetitive glance at the player's chips which might indicate a subconscious reaction to different situations at the poker table. Another thing is that you have to look for is the way the players stack their chips. If you notice a different pattern of stacking it might indicate that the player is under pressure or eager to make his move and win the hand.

There are many different tells that can indicate different reactions to situations at the poker table, but you must remember that you cannot count only on tells and you should use other poker strategies if you want to be a better player. Tells can provide valuable information, but serious players know that this is not enough for the game.
About the Author
Jack Reider is writing his PHD on Caesar and Augustus, but also frequents the race track. He runs an online gambling guide to betting and online casinos.

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