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Poker Tells/Behavior, hosted by: Zachary Elwood Discussions about poker tells, behavior, and psychology, with a focus on live poker.

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Old 10-24-2017, 08:07 AM   #1
6bet me
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How do I figure out my own tell?

I'm 95% sure that one of the regs I play with has a live read on me. He always seems to 3bet me preflop when I am opening light, but he never does it when I have QQ+. He also bluff catches me fairly frequently on rivers, yet the few times I have him coolered (eg. set vs 2pr), he tanks and mumbles to himself "you look so confident" before sigh calling.

I'm a winning player at $2/$5, but this guy truly crushes me to the point where I know that he can either see my hole cards or he can read me somehow.

I'm trying to figure out what the tell might be. I think it could be:
1) Timing tell - perhaps I make bets faster or slower when I'm bluffing.
2) Looking at hole cards preflop - perhaps I look at my cards a different way when I see AA.
3) Eyes - perhaps my eyes subtly move a different way when I'm bluffing.
4) Cutting chips - perhaps I cut chips in a specific way when I'm bluffing. Perhaps I use a specific denomination chip to signify a bluff.
5) Speech - sometimes I'll say things when I'm in a hand like "it's only money" before making a call. Maybe I'm doing this in an unbalanced way.
6) Shaking - I usually shake uncontrollably in big pots. I don't know how to stop myself from doing this.
7) Pulse/breathing - Perhaps I'm doing something here that I don't realise I'm doing.
8) Other hand movements - Perhaps I scratch or rub myself or wave my hand or something without realising it.

I need to figure out what my tell is so that he stops exploiting me. How do I figure out my tell? And are there any tricks to stop shaking or having a high heart pulse in big pots?
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Old 10-24-2017, 05:53 PM   #2
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Re: How do I figure out my own tell?

How often do you play with this reg vs without? and are you beating the other players while he is playing(toying you)? Your "table image" is a very important aspect at this point(if you play with him more than 65%), he could be steamrolling off of one hand in reality?! So your viewing this player as having the edge could create the tell were speaking of.
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Old 10-25-2017, 08:34 AM   #3
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Re: How do I figure out my own tell?

Its fairly difficult to find your own tells, so until you are more comfortable in a live setting i would just try eliminate all tells from your game altogether, most of what you described can be fixed pretty easily
Timing tells-tank often. I get you dont want to be that guy, but its worth it. Whenever i have a big river decision i will take at least 30 seconds regardless if my mind is made up or not
Speech,cutting chips,hand movements,eye movements-just dont do any of this. After a bet, dont speak, dont play with chips, just sit like a statue and stare at one spot/at your opponent
pulse,breathing Most players cant spot neck tells well so i wouldnt worry too much, although wearing a scarf is fine just to be safe
Shaking dont worry about this, shaking in big pots is normal and doesnt reveal strength of your hand
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Old 10-27-2017, 12:43 PM   #4
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Re: How do I figure out my own tell?

IMO there are just some players who you just 'know' somehow. It doesn't really make sense but I have a couple who purposefully mix up their play 'just for me' and I typically will know what to do.

The big thing is to not let it get to your head. Take it on aggressively by creating some false tells and maybe even doing something 'off' in a smaller pot in order to throw him off a bit when the the next 'real' pot comes along. GL
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Old 10-31-2017, 03:37 PM   #5
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Re: How do I figure out my own tell?

I highly recommend you stop cutting chips when you're in a hand. It's such a thoughtless physical activity that it's too difficult to realize when you stop doing it because you're bluffing/nutted, etc.

If I see myself still cutting chips after I put money into a pot, I make sure to stop immediately. I've gotten pretty good at breaking the habit.
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Old 11-01-2017, 04:42 AM   #6
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Re: How do I figure out my own tell?

You should start scripting your motions at this stake level and above.
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Old 11-10-2017, 09:48 PM   #7
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Re: How do I figure out my own tell?

I had a friend sit in on a session once, and asked him to specifcally look at me when I'm in a hand to see what tells I have. He noticed one pretty big thing that idk if I can control, but as least now I'm aware of it. If you don't have any friends who can do this, perhaps ask a friendly reg for a swap and offer to do the same for him.
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Old 11-11-2017, 01:28 PM   #8
Join Date: Nov 2017
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Re: How do I figure out my own tell?

Film yourself while you play with a go pro or something - play 10-15 rounds, document every hand you had in each round and the results and then look back and analyze to see patterns. Maybe your reg puts x3 raise pre flop because he always had a good hand when you didn't, who knows.

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Old 11-22-2017, 07:38 AM   #9
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Re: How do I figure out my own tell?

I would suggest there is a good chance you're imagining it.

do you have a lot of hours playing together?

Is he a good "thinking player'? If you think he is I would try to eliminate sizing tells first, then I would consider board texture and how he perceives my bets on different run outs.

The shaking hands will go over time, I rarely see it anymore but if I were to and I could correlate it with strong holdings it would be a massive advantage, of all the tells I think this is the most looked at because at some point or another everyone has recognised this tell in themselves, I don't think it would be the worst idea if you just shake with every hand you play until the natural "big hand shakes" dissipate.
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Old 02-14-2018, 01:31 AM   #10
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Re: How do I figure out my own tell?

Originally Posted by HawkesDave View Post
I highly recommend you stop cutting chips when you're in a hand. It's such a thoughtless physical activity that it's too difficult to realize when you stop doing it because you're bluffing/nutted, etc.

If I see myself still cutting chips after I put money into a pot, I make sure to stop immediately. I've gotten pretty good at breaking the habit.
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Old 06-04-2018, 09:59 PM   #11
Shai Hulud
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Re: How do I figure out my own tell?

I'm a bit late to the conversation but this forum is dead so forgive the necropost. Here's my 2c.

Having a competent and observant friend watch you as you play over a long session can help a lot. I played a couple sessions with a friend of mine and found two very reliable tells pretty quickly, and he wasn't aware of either.

The first was that he would tend to hold his cards a certain way pre-flop if he intended to fold. The second was that he looked super serious when bluffing but not when nutted. To correct the first tell, I told him not to look at his cards until action is on him. That eliminated that tell. As for the second, I told him either look serious all the time or relaxed all the time, and he became harder to read after.

There are some regs in my 2/5 games with very bad tells. I don't want to mention the tells as they're pretty specific and they might read the forums here. But it's possible you have some unique behavior when bluffing vs nutted for example. Maybe you look at your chips more quickly. Maybe you tend to smile in one scenario. Maybe you talk in one scenario. Maybe you lean back in your chair or some other physical movement. There's an almost endless number of things you could be doing. The solution is either have someone figure out what the tell is and eliminate it, or just practice behaving in totally unreadable ways.

Let's look at an example hand in 2/5. You're dealt two cards on the button. Two players limp. You don't check your cards until action is on you. You look down at XY, deliberately taking exactly 2s to memorize the cards, and you raise to 25. Both limpers call.

Flop (80) ABC

As soon as the limpers call, you should be watching them, not the board. This can help you gauge their reactions to the board and you don't leak any information. They both check. NOW you look at the flop. Keep looking at the flop. People have an instinct to look away if it hits them hard. You decide to bet. Think of the amount before looking at your chip stack. You decide on 50. Now you can look at your chips. Pick a certain method to cut chips. For instance, always grab chips with your left hand when possible, stack in multiples of 25, merge to one stack, and toss them forward with a splashing motion (this is what I do). So you make your bet. Now you have to maintain the same composure regardless of what happens. I find it's easiest to just stare at the flop watching the other players with peripheral vision.

For future streets, it's exactly the same. You make a routine. You stick with it. One thing I left out is timing tells. Theoretically, you should always take the longest amount of time you would ever take with a portion of your range in a given situation. This doesn't mean if your longest flop tank is 2 minutes you always tank 2 minutes. It means if your longest flop tank in this specific spot (being x/r on XYZ as BTN raiser) is t, you take t seconds. Your tanks on future streets will tend to be longer, so you have to act even slower. Theoretically. But there are some boards and spots where your decision is never difficult, so you can still act fairly quickly in many spots. I would always take at least 5s, but tanking 2 minutes as PFR HU on an AT27scdd turn is kind of silly. With your entire range, your decision is fairly simple and shouldn't require more than, IDK, 15 - 20s?

In practice, I try to act quickly in spots I think no information is leaked, and in spots where I'm often relatively polarized I tank (for instance, I've double barreled OOP HU on a river board of AJ87Ksddsc -- I have a lot of straights and sets if I jam but also busted flush draws). I used to just always tank but as you can imagine I got clocked a lot. I haven't been clocked in months and I think I'm still hiding timing tells pretty well, but no system short of always tanking the longest you ever would take can hide all information.

Make sure your posture during a hand is consistent. Also, don't talk during a hand unless you're capable of talking when bluffing or having monster hands. The easiest way, though not necessarily the best, to balance talking is just not to talk during a hand.

In the end it's all about routine. If your behavior is always the same, nobody can learn anything from it. Any action you do, there is only ONE way to accomplish it. Pick a way to accomplish it, and stick with it 100%. Like do you verbally say all-in or push in your chips? Since stacks can get pretty big I would verbalize it, but either way, always do it the same way.
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Old 06-15-2018, 10:29 AM   #12
Join Date: Jun 2018
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Re: How do I figure out my own tell?

I have some suggestions:

1. The best way to figure out your own live tells is asking a friend of yours that usually plays with yo as a huge favour. Had a good friend that helped me with some of my tells.

2. Try going out on breaks after hands that feld "fishy" and try breaking down your moves during the hand. After a few of those, you might find some pattern within your game that tells how strong are you.
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Old 07-18-2018, 02:35 PM   #13
Join Date: Jul 2018
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Re: How do I figure out my own tell?

Be like Durr and just hold the same position at all times.

One hand on the table, mouth wide open. No sudden movements.

I actually discovered some of my tells after playing live for a while, and I would purposely use it as leverage and make the same tells in opposite scenarios. My nostrils used to flare when someone would call my bluff bets, so I'd start doing it when I was excited that someone called me. Whether or not anyone picked up on this, idk. Hopefully they did lol
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