One of the biggest aspects of playing poker is to use any detectable change in a player's behavior as clues to assess the strength of his hand. These detectable changes in behavior are called 'tells'. Poker players attempt to correctly identify and interpret tells to gain an advantage. Often tells are subconscious and uncontrollable, and can very very reliable in nature. At a table full of professionals, however, just as often tells may be faked, in hopes that their opponent will make a poor decision in response to a fake tell.
Examples of Tells
Tells can be something that occurs to players with a certain style of play, or unique to an individual player. It can be something subtle, such as a player leaning forward or leaning back, or placing chips with more or less force than usual. Fidgeting, changes in breathing, and nervous 'tics' can also be classified as tells if they can be reliably interpreted.
Some of the most well known poker tells are:
- When a player believes his hand is weak, and he is attempting to bluff, he may throw his chips into the pot more forcefully than usual, usually with a direct stare at the player he hopes to get to fold.
- When a players hands start shaking after reading their cards, or immediately after the flop, it may be the result of an adrenaline rush from the player hitting a very strong hand. Other, less obvious symptoms of an adrenaline rush to look for are a flushed face or racing pulse.
- When a player has a strong hand, they may subconsciously stare that his hand longer than usual, keep his hands over them to protect them, and look back at them more than once.
- When a player seems to be acting disinterested, usually attempting unsuccessfully to have a casual conversation to acting purposefully meek or mild ay mean the player is attempting to disguise a weak hand.