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8 Poker Tells You Should Look Out For

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When it comes to poker tells, they depend on the level at which you play. Most professionals have developed unreadable poker faces; others make particular gestures at regular intervals, regardless of their cards.

Most Common Poker Tells

Amateur poker is a whole different ball game. The participants try hard to hide their emotions, but the harder they try, the more telling their gestures and expressions become. Here are some of the most common tells.

1. Reaching for chips

A common theory goes that if your opponent starts to reach for chips as soon as you’ve done so, they are unlikely to call.

In his study on poker tells, professional player and theorist Mike Caro argues that whenever one gets a strong hand, they instinctively freeze in their seats, trying not to scare off their opponents.

2. How much should I bet?

This is the Hamletian question of every player with a strong hand. Deep inside, they want to go all-in, but this would invariably make their opponents suspicious.

So, they reach out for chips as if to make a regular bet, then stop and add some more chips, appearing unsure of their hand’s value. Such behavior is not visible if one plays poker online.

3. Rechecking cards

Regardless of the variant you are playing, if an opponent takes a second look at their hole cards before making their move, this can be a tell of hesitation.

If a player rechecks their hole cards having just made a substantial bet, this might be a tell of satisfaction and confidence.

4. Quick calls

If a player calls too quickly, they may have a decent hand and are ready to test it. To check this assumption, you can try raising them a bit.

5. Count their chips, please!

If your opponent asks the dealer to count your chips, they are probably trying to estimate their bet amount against their value.

If they make a significant bet afterward, they are probably trying to make you go out of that hand. You can surprise them by either calling or raising their bet.

6. Touching your face

If a player starts touching their face or hair, they may be pondering what to do. They’ve probably just received a pair or even three cards of a kind. Face touching before making a bet can indicate uncertainty in the strength of one’s hand.

7. Eye contact

In general, confident people seek eye contact when talking to strangers. In a poker context, eye contact can mean that the player against you has a solid or medium hand.

Some players will stare at you to make you flop a good hand, even if theirs isn’t particularly strong.

8. Verbal poker tells

In general, what an amateur says about their hand means just the opposite. If a substantial bet follows a disclaimer phrase, you’d better flop.

Strong players seldom talk at the poker table, and when they do, they usually mean what they say.

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