Live poker tells – hidden body language T

21 Mar 2014

o bluff or not to bluff?

We all find ourselves in situations where we’d love to have x-ray glasses and see the cards your opponents are holding. Science isn’t expected to provide any help in the next few years, but we can, in fact, get an indication from players as to what they might have. We call these indications “tells”.

A tell is a conscious or unconscious signal, for instance, a gesture or the way someone looks, that reveals some information about the opponent’s hand.

Essentially you can group tells into two main categories, unconscious and deliberate tells.


The first impression – What a person wears also reveals much about him. Is your opponent a wild daredevil or a silent wall flower? This can give you an indication of his playing style.

The way he stacks his chips may also be of note. If carefully sort them, you are usually facing a conservative player who doesn’t make crazy plays. If the chips are unorganized, he more likely varies his play and is not afraid to take risks.

Body language – Quite a few players’ posture betrays the nature of their cards. An unconscious change in their sitting position, such as leaning forward, likely indicates a strong hand. With a weak hand they often show less body tension, for example, having hanging shoulders

Nervousness – Many think that nervousness is a sign of a weak hand. If the nervousness is in fact an act, then all too often the player is holding a monster.

Imitations of real nervousness are done badly. It is usually greatly exaggerated and you can easily detect when someone is really nervous.

Should an opponent act nervous in a critical game situation, this is usually an indication of a strong hand.


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