If you are relatively new to live poker, you probably still know that tells are something you should be looking for. But instead of eating an Oreo in a certain way (like Teddy KGB from Rounders), you should really be looking for tells from body position and actions. Here are some of the most common tells you should keep your eyes peeled for:
1. Great Posture
The posture of most people sitting and playing at a table for hours will naturally decline. If you all of a sudden see someone sit up straight on the edge of their chair, it likely means they have a strong hand and are interested in the action.
2. Listen to the Voice
One of the easiest things to lose control of when you’re nervous is your voice. Think about when you have a big hand, you can typically talk in a calm, controlled manner. If someone is hesitant to speak, or speaks in an unusual tone, it’s likely because they don’t want to talk to give away information or are anxious because they are bluffing.
3. Unnatural Chatter
My favorite players to face off against in a live game are the ones who talk non-stop. Not only is it entertaining, it’s usually obvious when they have a big hand and their focus shifts from inane topics to the hand being played. A silent chatterbox is almost a sure sign of a great hand.
4. Feigning Weakness
Image via Flickr by Play Among Friends
This might shock you, but poker players are not actors…at least not very good ones usually. Most beginner players will make over the top gestures of weakness when they have strong hands. This typically includes sighing when betting, making whimpering sounds under their breath, or even frowning as they lament being “forced to bet”.
5. Watch how the Chips Flow
A lot of new players have severe betting tells. When they have a weak hand they will try to scare people away by throwing in their chips and trying to make their bet look stronger than it is. Conversely, players with strong hands will often slide their stack of chips in as silently as possible.
6. Glancing at Chips
Here is one that is very reliable because it’s an instinctive habit that’s tough to break. Watch a player as he first looks at his hole cards, if his eyes immediately dart to his stack, he probably wants to play the hand. This trick applies for all streets, pay attention to the eyes ones a card is flipped over.
Tells can be massively profitable once you get good at spotting them, but it’s a skill that you will have to cultivate over time. Learn to pay attention to a player’s normal behavior and notice what they have when they act differently. Finally, don’t reveal that you know someone’s tell or they could use it against you.