One of the most interesting aspects of playing Texas Hold Em is the element of being able to work out what kind of hand your opponent is holding.
Clearly you do not want to be betting into monsters and obviously it is always good to fire chips at someone holding bottom pair.
But how do you work it out? Let us show you below by giving you a whistle-stop tour of some of the most commonly encountered tells at the poker table.
In a live game, some people can get rather excited and when trying to bluff at a pot can end up throwing half their chips half-way across the table.
Clearly the opposite of the strength tell, and only useful if the guy shakes with good hands in the first place. If he does shake normally and when he bets out isnt shaking then you can be fairly happy that he doesnt have quite as good as hes making out.
Case in point, I was playing in MGM and this bearded Californian fellow had been in a few pots and Id seen the shaky hand. I looked down to see KK (clubs and spades) I raised and a few more called including this fellow. The flop comes down 7-8-9 (2 hearts) I crank the pot to find out where I am and everyone folds except our friend, who has a slight shake but not much. The turn comes 10 of hearts!!
Ouch I think, so I check to him and look very closely to how he puts in his bet. No shake at all. So Im sitting there thinking that he didnt like that Heart, so I stack up the remaining $250 in front of me and raise all-in. He thought about it for around one minute and then tossed it away, turning over the 6 in the process he was clearly worried about me either having the higher straight or the flush. I then turned over my kings and said good fold hehe. However without that bit of information I most probably would have folded myself.
If someone stares at the flop for a long time its fair to say that they probably dont have much. Raise and find out where you are. It is fair to say that a person who stares at the flop is trying to make out that they are very interested in the cards that they see. In fact, more often than not, they have not hit a thing.
A tense mouth can be a sign of bluffing.
This is a classic. When you look down at your cards, make this the one and only time you look until you flip them over and win, as this can give away vital information. Lets say that a beginner looks down to see K of diamonds, Queen of Spades. He just remembers that he has KQu. Now lets say that the flop comes down heart heart heart! Suddenly the beginner reaches for his cards to look again. He may as well hold a sign up saying I know one is red, but is it a heart?! If he had two of them I doubt that hed have the same problem remembering!
In poker people pretend to be weak when strong and pretend to be strong when weak. Not always the case, but fairly often its true if someone is trying to stare you down then they are attempting to put you off calling ask Could you tell me how much you have? whilst looking carefully at their reaction as the Could sounds mighty similar to Call! This should tell you where you stand. A stare down from your opponent can be him putting his guard up and looking aggressive so that you fold your hand. If someone does this to you, play a few more marginal hands.
It is often said that you can read a person’s eyes to tell if they are lying or not. However these days it is a lot more difficuly to do so as often poker players will wear sunglasses to play.
So, to combat this it is a good idea to look at a player’s neck instead. If you can look close enough you can actually see the player’s pulse on their neck when they are realxed.
On the flip side, if they become nervous, then the heart rate increases and and the pulse can no longer be seen.
Lets say that someone looks down at their cards while on the small blind and sees something unfavourable, such as 6 8u, they are aware that they will very likely fold, or will flat call if there are plenty of players in the pot, and so they start to chat to the big blind. However all of a sudden everyone has folded round to them. Now they decide to raise! How good do you think their hand is?! If they were sitting there with rockets they would be paying attention wouldnt you think? Raise them straight back if you are on the big blind with anything and you will probably take this one down.
This can mean the opposite if someone is in a hand at the time and is distracted, whether on purpose or not. They probably now are holding a strong hand.
One to look out for is if someone is actually not paying attention and then is told by the dealer that its his turn to act, if they do bet then they have a very strong hand, as most people would feel slightly embarrassed at not being ready and so would fold.
A Vster classic here In a cash game as you are going to leave, make sure that you toss your last hand away first, and then announce that you are leaving the game and ask to be dealt out of the next hand while you get your chips together. If you dont and say that you are leaving but then get dealt something reasonable and sit back down again then you are probably not weak! Plus you could also lose a fair few chips as Vster found out with his pocket 77 in the Venetian. He he. (Come on!! We were up on chips and I took the opportunity to see a hand while putting my chips in their rack. Pocket sevens! I had to play them and go out in a blaze of glory!! – Vster).
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