Poker Tells in Live Poker Games

This page describes common poker tells in live games when playing in casinos and at home with your friends. If you play poker online, you can read about online poker tells and PokerHo's tips for reading Internet poker tells. And if you don't want other players to read YOU, you can learn how to hide your tells.

Staring at the Flop: This is a very common poker tell. If a player stares at the flop, it often means that he does not have anything and is taking a extra moment to scroll through potential hands in his mind.

Quickly Looking Away from the Flop: If a player glances at the flop for a millisecond and then immediately looks away from the flop (and especially if he follows it up by looking at his chips), it may signal that the decision to bet was really easy (e.g., he quickly saw that he made a pair or better and plans to bet).

Staring at Another Player: This tell could mean that the player is nervous that the other player is going to call him or bet. Being able to read his eyes or other sign of anxiety will help support your analysis of this tell.

Immediately Calling a Bet: The player is trying to show strength, which may mean that he has a weak hand (but be aware of the reverse psychology phenomenon). A even stronger signal is when the player reaches for his chips even before the previous player has made his bet.

Looking Disappointed: This is a poker tell, but whether it is the real thing or an intentional false signal is up to you to decide. Disappointment is more common and obvious with large pots. The disappointed player may put on his sad face or exhale deeply (because he has been holding his breath since before the River was dealt).

Appearing Unusually Confident: This is a sign of strength, which means that he is bluffing (or otherwise trying to screw with your mind).

Looking at the Chips: When a player looks at his chips, it often means that he is planning to bet.

Visible Anxiety: This includes any physical manisfestation of the player's anxiety such as perspiration, facial contortions, shaking hands, heavy breathing, body posture, nervous glances, etc. Exhibiting anxiety may mean that the player is bluffing, or at least is expecting a relatively tough fight or challenge.