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Body Language and Bluffs – Making Sense of Poker Tells

G’day, mate!

When Shakespeare wrote, “All the world is a stage and all the men and women merely players.” He probably didn't have poker in mind, but he certainly could have.

Poker is one of those games where the cards you have are less important than knowing how to play them and reading the players around you.

Just to clarify one thing before going any further, the answer is yes – each and every poker player will have their own specific and often unique tells. But at the same time, this doesn’t mean that there are not certain tells that tend to be commonly shared between most poker players.

Weak Means Strong

First of all, one of the most common poker tells among those that are new to the game is one that does tend to hold water when put to the test. The simple fact of the matter is that when you have a strong hand and would prefer those around you not to know about it, your instinctive reaction is to conceal it by pretending it is the exact opposite. Which in turn means that pulling a sour face, slumping in your chair, shrugging, sighing and generally looking unhappy with your hand will not convince anyone that you don’t in fact have a strong hand.

Posture

In this instance, when and where you notice any given player suddenly straightening their posture either while placing a bet or playing a hand in general, it more often means that they have something that has stirred confidence in them. It more often than not happens instinctively and without the player realizing, giving everyone else a strong indication that they are onto something big.

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.

Impatience

If you are 99% convinced that you are about to make a decent amount of money, you may find yourself losing patience and compelled to speed things up. Just be warned that the moment your fellow players pick up on you losing patience, they will have a pretty good idea why this is the case.

A long look at the cards

If an opponent takes an especially long look at his cards or the board, he is mostly playing a weak hand. If he takes a long time before betting, he is probably on a bluff.

A strong tell is an opponent repeatedly looking at their starting hand after making a bet and then you reaching for your chips. Here you can expect a bluff.

Staring

Players who make penetrating, rigid glances at their opponent do not usually hold a dangerous hand. The signal "I've watched you closely and know what you're doing" is often a sign of weakness.

Freezing

Last but not least, if after placing a bet a player suddenly freezes, there’s a very strong chance they are bluffing.  Tells are not always as clear as we would like them to be. The reason being that when you are focusing on misleading and deceiving your fellow players, it becomes much more difficult to continue talking and acting relaxed. The reason being that you are convinced those around you will pick up on one of your movements or something you say. By contrast, if you have massive confidence in your hand and have no reason to bluff, there’s really no reason whatsoever why you would freeze after placing a bet.

Are you ready to play?

See ya Later!

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