Top 5 Poker Tells to Eliminate From Your Arsenal
October 12, 2013 Leave a Comment
I notice a lot of amateur poker players give away a lot of unnecessary information (poker tells) when they sit down to play poker in a live setting. A lot of the “tells” I pick up on, are subconsciously being delivered to me by my opponents without them realizing. Some opponents can’t help to shake when they have the nuts/bluffing. Also, many opponents give away the strength of their hands by their betting patterns, and how they place each bet. This article will detail how to pick up on these small details at the table so you can experience more profit in the long-run, assuming you don’t make the same mistakes yourself.
Discussing Hands With Other Opponents at Your Table
One of the biggest flaws I find in most amateur poker players.
Discussing hands at the table gives your opponents the opportunity to size you up, and determine what kind of poker player you truly are. Based on the information you give by discussing your hand, I can judge how you approach poker and adjust each hand accordingly that I play against you. If I know you won’t call without the nuts, I am willing to commit my entire stack on a bluff knowing you will fold close to 100% of the time. Other players at the table pick up on this too, and they patiently wait to exploit these edges for maximum value.
This is the main reason I will not talk at a poker table. I will have my headphones in a majority of the time listening to music, but will mute that music when I hear opponents talk about hands. They have no idea I am listening, but I pick up a lot of useful information for future confrontations against them in hands. As I like to play hyper-aggressively, I know I can wait for a nutty type hand against a fish, and make my bets looks like a bluff. Subsequently, I know I can take someone off a hand if the “board gets scary” to my perceived hand range assuming our opponent is on the tighter side.
Showing The Table You Are Clearly on Tilt
Most players get upset when they lose. Some can’t handle the short-term fluctuations of the game, and they let it negatively affect them mentally. These negative emotions are DEVASTATING to a poker player’s bottom line of profit. One session of tilt can erase weeks of hard focused work, and is something you as an individual have to become aware of.
As a player, when I understand my opponent is on tilt, I will be opening my hand range a lot wider, hoping to see a lot of flops in position against our villain. Normally, opponents on tilt will attempt to “chase their losses”, and they are the complete opposite of patient about it. Hitting a big hand is always nice against these opponents, as they will frequently call you down to “look you up”. rather than take the obvious muck of a fold knowing they are beat. In one session at Parx Casino in PA, all 8 players are the table were simply picking on one “fish” who was simply having fun on his ipad.
He loaded up about $5,000 total chips in a 2/5 game (something that you will never see with a max $1,000 buy-in.) Everyone was nice to him, including the casino floor who knew his name. After the entire table made some profit off him, he decided to leave. As a table, we all looked at each other, smiled, and moved on to another game knowing we were all good solid players playing against a businessman who just wanted to play for fun and ultimately lose money. These are the type of opponents you need to pry on if you want to maximize your time investment into poker.
The Speed at Which You Place Your Bets
Timing tells are extremely subtle, and only picked up upon by solid strong players. I can determine what kind of hand you have based on how “fast” or “slow” you moved your chips when you had a strong hand, compared to a weak one. Consequently, I switch up my betting pattern times in different hands, and I also assume many other competent players do this as well.
A lot of amateur poker players try to act “weak”, when they are “strong, and “strong”, when they are “weak.” Most novice players won’t even pick up on this information, but the more observant and stronger poker players will pick up on this information,
and ultimately use it to their advantage.
As a counter to this concept, I like to vary how I bet when I have strong/weak hands to confuse my opponents into making mistakes. If I have played hand already against an opponent, and he could “possibly” have a read on me, I switch my demeanor to send false signals to his conscious and subconscious mind. Especially if I have beat this opponent out of a lot of pots, he is going to want to play back at me. Knowing this, I adjust accordingly in hopes of capturing his entire stack.
One of the biggest flaws of many beginner poker players, simply due to the fact that they fail to get maximum value on their made hands, and bluff too often and in bad spots. Viktor “Isildur1” Blom is probably the best bet sizer in the world. He is willing to jam all in with complete air if he knows his opponent can’t possibly call. He will also jam all-in with his strong hands, balancing his hand range, and making his opponents pay to see his cards. Viktor is aware when he can bluff, and when he is going to get called due to meta-game flow and a variety of other short-term factors.
Playing Too Passively, Instead of Aggressively to Maximize Profit
At almost any poker game in a casino, there will be that one opponent who wont play any hand except AA, KK, QQ, JJ, 10-10, or AK. They will only get involved with top hands, leaving everyone to realize that they have a small narrow range of hands, and if they can’t beat them, they fold accordingly.
As a super-aggressive player, your hand range at times can consist of any two cards in the deck, leaving your opponents no information to work with. They will eventually want to “look you up” as we just said, but if you are smart enough, you will know when you are about to get “looked up”, and can bet a bigger size in proportion to the entire pot.
Switching gears is of utmost importance. If you continue to employ the same style the entire session, you are easily exploitable to the strong opponents at the table. As much as strong players don’t like to get involved in pots, you will lose the pots you play against your opponent if you don’t become consciously aware that you are giving off information.
How do We Eliminate Tells?
If you are focused on your breathing, and observing the table the entire session, you give away NOTHING, but gain EVERYTHING you can. Deep breathing helps you stay relaxed and focused in the heat of the battle, which can be extremely stressful, especially deep in MTT tournaments that involve live changing money. At the end of the day, you are still simply playing a game, so don’t take things too seriously if you lose, but made the correct long-term +EV (estimated value) play.
Eliminate your poker tells by deciding when you sit down to play poker, there should be nothing else on your mind. Missing a minute detail about an opponent because you were concerned about the football game on TV can cost you money in the long-run. If you are running poker as a business, there is no room for lack of focus or judgement.
Good Luck at the Tables! 🙂