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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 10-23-2015, 11:11 AM   #76
TakenItEasy
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Re: Most reliable and useful tells

I don't believe in taking down new players for the max in a contracting poker economy so I'll keep this to experience independent tells.

Cash:
Player approaches the table and sits down with an incomplete rack and multiple denominations is always a table change, usually meaning a regular pro player. Don't confuse this with a player bringing different chips to the table as that's just a player who was playing in another game while waiting for their seat.

New player who immediately starts out as a table talker. Early moves are often a bluff. Disclaimer: this may not be used as much in the current environment.

Player who was involved in a long hand and needing to go to the bathroom gets dealt a hand while still stacking chips then decides to play is strong. Pretty obvious as a tell but it's funny to see.

Cash roll tell.
Buying chips from a large roll of hundreds doesn't mean much. Paying for food or drink with a large roll of small bills, is a good winning player (excluding casinos that offer food comps)
Winning sessions involve cash outs that always paid with the largest denominations but include some number of smaller bills most of the time. Singles are usually used to tip and hundreds go towards the real bank roll or go into a box at the casino. $5, $10, & $20 bills are kept in a separate roll for spending and good winning player will accumulate these faster than they tend to spend them. On the other hand loosing sessions typically don't involve a cash out after hitting a stop loss amount. Also pros don't usually cash out when down because it was time to leave since pros don't often operate on a schedule. Therefore large rolls of smaller bills is often a good indicator of a good winning player.

If a player is down to spending hundred dollar bills on food or drink, this may mean that they are suffering from a down swing and play tighter but also be more susceptible to tilt or blow-ups.

In a raked game, a player joining a game and posting in EP. This may look like a new player tell, but It's likely an action player who doesn't care much about 1BB and figures he migh look fishy for doing it. Its not a new player since the dealer would ask if they wanted to wait for the blinds and a new player wouldn't mind watching a couple hands play before joining, especially when they don't have chips yet and wouldn't know how to bet. It's highly unlikely to be a tight player because if they ever tried this then folded the first 15 hands, they would quickly realize it's not convincing anyone and just a waste of money. Disclaimer: I can't speak for $1/$2 games which I don't play.

Destination Casinos:
Young players with hoodies, t-shirts, or similar casual clothes are local pros unless there's a big tournament going on.

In Vegas, players who are dressed for hot weather are not locals. Poker rooms in Vegas seem like they are always kept much cooler than normal but this may be specific to the casinos I mostly played at which would be the Venitian or Rio (convention hall) during the WSOP.

Older players who know the staff by name doesn't necessarily mean they're local regulars as they may just be there on a long vacation. The content of their small talk will give away the local regulars i.e. "How was your vacation?".


High stakes:
Player who buys in for an odd amount is usually playing a single bullet.

Players who take full orbit breaks in time games are mostly rake game players who are trying to move up.

100BB buyin in uncapped games, is Internet player unfamiliar with deep stack play. This is especially true when the minimum is below 100BBs meaning there is no good reason to buy-in for that amount other than its a stack the player is familiar with.

Tournaments:
When joining a new table or a new player joins your table, in general, the number of smaller chips in their stack is an indicator how active the player has been. Be aware of players who unnecessarily bet with small chips as this can throw off this tell but those who do this are more often action players.

Players who notice an impending break will have a hand (no variance or marginal hands) if they decide to play. Make sure they noticed the break is coming before hand. Example, players usually count their stack or put away earbuds when prepairing for a break.

Exception may be a player who is planning on making a move on a hand that plays into a break since they can be more effective. A tell for this is a player who looks at the clock and sees an upcoming break but does not start preparing for it.

This is not a tell but please remember to never embarrass or tilt new players. This practically guarantees a new player won't come back. Also players who can afford to play a regular recreational game, often don't mind losing at an affordable rate if they can enjoy themselves away from work/family. Trying to tilt these players or run up their variance by not allowing them to run it twice or take chops or even targeting them to with highly exploitative big pot poker styles because they may present a softer target is long term -EV in a contracting poker economy.neven wealthy players won't put up with big losses for too long because it's no longer a recreational game.
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Old 10-23-2015, 01:57 PM   #77
SpewingIsMyMove
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Re: Most reliable and useful tells

Quote:
Originally Posted by TakenItEasy View Post
I don't believe in taking down new players for the max in a contracting poker economy so I'll keep this to experience independent tells.

Cash:
Player approaches the table and sits down with an incomplete rack and multiple denominations is always a table change, usually meaning a regular pro player. Don't confuse this with a player bringing different chips to the table as that's just a player who was playing in another game while waiting for their seat.

New player who immediately starts out as a table talker. Early moves are often a bluff. Disclaimer: this may not be used as much in the current environment.

Player who was involved in a long hand and needing to go to the bathroom gets dealt a hand while still stacking chips then decides to play is strong. Pretty obvious as a tell but it's funny to see.

Cash roll tell.
Buying chips from a large roll of hundreds doesn't mean much. Paying for food or drink with a large roll of small bills, is a good winning player (excluding casinos that offer food comps)
Winning sessions involve cash outs that always paid with the largest denominations but include some number of smaller bills most of the time. Singles are usually used to tip and hundreds go towards the real bank roll or go into a box at the casino. $5, $10, & $20 bills are kept in a separate roll for spending and good winning player will accumulate these faster than they tend to spend them. On the other hand loosing sessions typically don't involve a cash out after hitting a stop loss amount. Also pros don't usually cash out when down because it was time to leave since pros don't often operate on a schedule. Therefore large rolls of smaller bills is often a good indicator of a good winning player.

If a player is down to spending hundred dollar bills on food or drink, this may mean that they are suffering from a down swing and play tighter but also be more susceptible to tilt or blow-ups.

In a raked game, a player joining a game and posting in EP. This may look like a new player tell, but It's likely an action player who doesn't care much about 1BB and figures he migh look fishy for doing it. Its not a new player since the dealer would ask if they wanted to wait for the blinds and a new player wouldn't mind watching a couple hands play before joining, especially when they don't have chips yet and wouldn't know how to bet. It's highly unlikely to be a tight player because if they ever tried this then folded the first 15 hands, they would quickly realize it's not convincing anyone and just a waste of money. Disclaimer: I can't speak for $1/$2 games which I don't play.

Destination Casinos:
Young players with hoodies, t-shirts, or similar casual clothes are local pros unless there's a big tournament going on.

In Vegas, players who are dressed for hot weather are not locals. Poker rooms in Vegas seem like they are always kept much cooler than normal but this may be specific to the casinos I mostly played at which would be the Venitian or Rio (convention hall) during the WSOP.

Older players who know the staff by name doesn't necessarily mean they're local regulars as they may just be there on a long vacation. The content of their small talk will give away the local regulars i.e. "How was your vacation?".


High stakes:
Player who buys in for an odd amount is usually playing a single bullet.

Players who take full orbit breaks in time games are mostly rake game players who are trying to move up.

100BB buyin in uncapped games, is Internet player unfamiliar with deep stack play. This is especially true when the minimum is below 100BBs meaning there is no good reason to buy-in for that amount other than its a stack the player is familiar with.

Tournaments:
When joining a new table or a new player joins your table, in general, the number of smaller chips in their stack is an indicator how active the player has been. Be aware of players who unnecessarily bet with small chips as this can throw off this tell but those who do this are more often action players.

Players who notice an impending break will have a hand (no variance or marginal hands) if they decide to play. Make sure they noticed the break is coming before hand. Example, players usually count their stack or put away earbuds when prepairing for a break.

Exception may be a player who is planning on making a move on a hand that plays into a break since they can be more effective. A tell for this is a player who looks at the clock and sees an upcoming break but does not start preparing for it.

This is not a tell but please remember to never embarrass or tilt new players. This practically guarantees a new player won't come back. Also players who can afford to play a regular recreational game, often don't mind losing at an affordable rate if they can enjoy themselves away from work/family. Trying to tilt these players or run up their variance by not allowing them to run it twice or take chops or even targeting them to with highly exploitative big pot poker styles because they may present a softer target is long term -EV in a contracting poker economy.neven wealthy players won't put up with big losses for too long because it's no longer a recreational game.
To gauge someone's experience level, I look to their chip handling. Not the tricks they can do with their chips, but how they manage their chips. In a tournament, if they automatically stack their biggest chip on top or in front, they have some decent level of experience (natural instinct is to stack smallest chips on top).

When they place a bet, if they cut out the proper amount with very minimal effort, without having to look down and count out each chip, they are probably experienced.

The tip about dressing warm is also very true in Oklahoma. You can tell the regs, they are the ones walking in a 103 degree parking lot in jeans and a light jacket.
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Old 10-23-2015, 03:51 PM   #78
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Re: Most reliable and useful tells

I see posturing from players waiting to act as a tell of weakness. Whether it is an overagerated aggressive display of body language, or an exaggerated display of showing their chips, this is almost always a way to try intimidate an opponent into getting a free card. I see this mostly from recreational players that a somewhat experienced, but not very good.
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Old 10-24-2015, 11:59 AM   #79
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Re: Most reliable and useful tells

Quote:
Originally Posted by scelsi View Post
Verbalizing bet amount = strength.
This one just depends. If the player always announces the bet amount out loud then you can't really pick up on this as a tell. If they are announcing their value bets and their bluffs the only thing you can really pick up on is their voice inflection, volume, etc.

This is why I generally do not announce my bet amounts, just cut them out the same way every time and use the same betting motion every time regardless of whether I'm making a value bet, thin value bet, semi bluff or complete bluff.
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Old 10-24-2015, 12:24 PM   #80
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Re: Most reliable and useful tells

A somewhat reliable tell from weaker player is when they are sabre-rattling their chips, (putting their hands on their chips, picking them up, or somehow feigning that they are going to bet behind you) it usually means they are weak and want you to check. I will generally bet into people that put their hands on their chips like this in a weak way, as long as I know they are a weaker player and have seen them do it before. There are several casual regulars I play MTTs with that will do this a lot, one lady in particular when it is her turn to act before you she will put her hands on her chips and then quickly check if she is weak, and tends to bet big, even overbet the pot when she has a hand.

Pre-flop against a weak opponent if their hands are visibly shaking and they seem nervous and then fire a substantial raise it very often means they have QQ, KK, or AA. Obviously look at their bet sizing and patterns throughout the game, but if a weaker or nittier player is acting nervous, hands are shaking and they fire a raise it generally means they have the nuts and you should precede with caution. Post flop if they have a big hand like AA, they will fire a large flop bet and often their hands will still be shaking.
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Old 10-26-2015, 08:40 PM   #81
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Re: Most reliable and useful tells

(To everyone) What are your thoughts on snap calls? (Say on the flop).

I read that they are often marginal hands, rarely strong hands (they'd want to extract more value, and at least ponder a raise).

I'm thinking snap calls on a dry flop are more often hands like middle/bottom pair hoping to spike trips or 2 pair on the turn?
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Old 10-28-2015, 07:46 PM   #82
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Re: Most reliable and useful tells

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueLagoon32 View Post
(To everyone) What are your thoughts on snap calls? (Say on the flop).

I read that they are often marginal hands, rarely strong hands (they'd want to extract more value, and at least ponder a raise).

I'm thinking snap calls on a dry flop are more often hands like middle/bottom pair hoping to spike trips or 2 pair on the turn?
What a snap-call represents is situational, and also depends on whether the player is even aware that it is significant. A decent player may snap-call knowing that his opponent will analyze it. A weak player may do it solely because that's how long it took him to decide. Obviously the two calls would represent something different.

A snap-call on the river with a player or more still left to act is an interesting question too. I recently saw this in a large pot in 5-card PLO8 and immediately read the caller as having a one-way lock (which he did).
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Old 10-28-2015, 10:10 PM   #83
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Re: Most reliable and useful tells

I was at a table, someone snap called a raise and then said, "Wow, it is amazing how quickly I called that!" as if to scare the other player.
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Old 10-29-2015, 08:53 PM   #84
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Re: Most reliable and useful tells

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpewingIsMyMove View Post
I see posturing from players waiting to act as a tell of weakness. Whether it is an overagerated aggressive display of body language, or an exaggerated display of showing their chips, this is almost always a way to try intimidate an opponent into getting a free card. I see this mostly from recreational players that a somewhat experienced, but not very good.
In the low-to-medium fixed limit games I've played, this behavior on the river, particularly among the colorful middle-aged characters who frequented my games, frequently led to them showing down big winning hands. They were in the habit of celebrating early.
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Old 10-30-2015, 11:25 AM   #85
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Re: Most reliable and useful tells

Some pretty reliable tells, many documented in the past:

Shaking hands is usually a big hand.

Ho - Hum All In is usually a big hand- Someone bets or it is checked to a player and player who has the action, counts out chips for a call, then might slide them back in their stack, then count out some more chips, count up all of their chips, then they kinda shoulder shrug and say something like "I guess I'm All in"

There was some talk about fast calling, often times on flops/turns very fast calls on drawy boards is a drawing hand. See this on flush draw boards, you bet and are called very quickly, no flush on turn, they check real fast, then call turn real fast. If they pause on turn/river after quick calling then bet, this is a good indication that they hit.

Lastly, people have mentioned a few times about being asked "Will you show If i fold?", the other side that hasn't been talked about much and i actually ran into last week was. Heads up, player bets, I'm deciding in my hand head how much I am going to raise, villain assumes i am thinking about folding vs calling and V says "Don't worry I'll show if you fold" I have some thoughts on this but will wait to see what others think this means when V just says this while waiting on your action when you haven't even asked.

I had to hold back a smile as I thought it was funny he thought I was pondering call/fold when I was actually trying to figure out how much of a raise he might call.
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Old 10-30-2015, 05:27 PM   #86
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Re: Most reliable and useful tells

Good stuff! ^
Last night I had some of those come up myself
- I had a big hand (flopped boat) OOP. Bet flop, check-called turn and after pondering villain, I Hollywooded for a good minute, looked at my stack/counted it as if to say "Oh well I may as well shove here anyway!" and shoved. He folded.

RE: "Don't worry, I'll show if you fold", a few things;
- Sounds strong (weak hand?)
- Lots of people at my game are friendly and will show hands all the time, could well be a strong hand (nuts/virtual nuts) Not wanting to break another players stack (yes I've seen this attitude)

Either way I think it's kind of polarised between the 2, with my personal tendency to think it's strong.
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Old 10-30-2015, 06:12 PM   #87
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Re: Most reliable and useful tells

If I Hollywood, then close with the line "F*ck it, I'm All in" I have the nuts 95% of the time.
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Old 10-31-2015, 06:43 PM   #88
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Re: Most reliable and useful tells

I find the instant bet more reliable/interesting then the insta call. Yes the insta call usually means marginal hand like drawing. But remember they have also had time to think about their action while you were counting chips.

The insta bet when 1st to act is very interesting. Sometimes I see this happen just as the card hits the table. To me it signifies that they made up their mind before the card. This is often a bluff. They have nothing and can only win the hand with a bet. Even if you have the nuts you will take a second to see if the nuts changed. Also to figure out how this new card will possibly effect you opponents hand.

If the person quickly reads the board and bets big this is often a strong hand.
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Old 11-02-2015, 12:16 AM   #89
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Re: Most reliable and useful tells

Quote:
Originally Posted by zzxy9 View Post
Or, "I have a small to medium pocket pair and need to know if you have enough to make it worthwhile to set mine."
Much more likely set mining than overpairs IMO.
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Old 11-04-2015, 01:11 PM   #90
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Re: Most reliable and useful tells

If an old guy pounds the table and swears when the river card hits, it almost always means he just hit the nuts. ALways amazes me when someone falls for this.
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Old 11-04-2015, 07:26 PM   #91
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Re: Most reliable and useful tells

Funny, last week I had a young player do this on the flop (Ace high) after he 3bet PF. He folded to my donk. "****ing Ace always hits!" (He had done this earlier too.)

Man he could've come over the top of me and I'd have folded.
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Old 11-09-2015, 12:27 AM   #92
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Re: Most reliable and useful tells

One that seems pretty fail proof for myself is this.

When players are strong esp preflop and are just calling or jamming. Tend to do so then look away from the table asap. Almost as a way to act non interested in what is going on at all. This also can be applied to players on draws who hit. And many other areas of post flop play.
Rule of thumb if you are in a tough spot and the guy or gal you look at who just bombed is watching tv talking with table mate overall relax mode. Unless holding nuts muck.

On complete other side of coin, If bombed into and player goes into no breath solid death stare on one object on table. bottom pair is most likely the nuts. Just things I have picked up in time at tables.

Now if you want to get deep, run across people who know these things and use false tells to their advantage'. That's when you have found a real live poker game. But for your common 1 3 2 5 cash games in most casinos this little bit could save or make you a bit of coin.
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Old 11-16-2015, 08:43 PM   #93
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Re: Most reliable and useful tells

Fun one from over the weekend. Player shakes his head no then open shoves all in on the flop for 1.5x pot. Another Misdirection tell.

Hand: (1/2 NL)
Folds to MP who raises to $5.
Hero reraises to $15 from HJ with KQ
Button calls
SB old man calls.
BB folds.
MP Calls.

Flop($62)
Q95
SB crosses his arms, lowers his head slightly, then shakes his head no 2 times. Then shoves all in for $97.
MP folds, hero lols to himself and folds.
Button calls.

SB shows 99 for middle set and Button shows KQ off.
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Old 11-29-2015, 07:58 AM   #94
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Re: Most reliable and useful tells

Quote:
Originally Posted by HighOnPoker View Post
He went into tell lockdown so as to give me no reason to call him. Ironically, by trying to lockdown his tells, he gave off the greatest tell. I called and he showed top pair, mid-kicker.
And it was a merge and he tricked you into calling due to giving away a reversed tell on level 3 ?
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Old 12-28-2015, 08:19 PM   #95
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Re: Most reliable and useful tells

One of the biggest tells players have that is very difficult to control with conscious effort is their breathing and jittery or shaking hands when they hold a big hand. I noticed this at first as something that would occur to myself when I would look down at AA or KK etc... Your heart rate accelerates and the excitement causes your hands to shake a little. You might reach towards your chips more quickly or act a little quicker. As a player you must learn to master this reaction and to be aware of more amateur players reactions to it as well. More seasoned players will of course have their poker face already solidly made up. But you can use this to know when newer players have a monster or just smashed the flop,turn, or river.
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Old 12-29-2015, 01:33 AM   #96
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Re: Most reliable and useful tells

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRyno View Post
Since this section of the forum just opened up I wanted to start a broad thread on what everyone thinks the most dependable tells that they encounter are.
This tell only comes up in low-skill low-limit games, but it's the most consistent one I know of: the tiny river bet. I don't actually know what these guys are betting with because every single time it's happened, they folded to my raise. I'd assume it means they have the weakest possible pair. When a player bets $20 into an $80 multiplayer pot at the end they have just made you a gift of $100. It helps that the other players really can't call a bet AND a raise here.
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Old 01-03-2016, 09:20 AM   #97
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Re: Most reliable and useful tells

This is very reliable IMO. If they bet strong and you didn't have eye contact with them so far in a hand, you look at them and they twitch , move their head slightly, their face changes like they are not comfortable = they are bluffing. However, this can be reversed but not all are good actors. Don't look at them while you are thinking what to do, then look at them suddenly and if they twitch it means they are trying to stay cool in extremely stressful situation for them - bluffing. A lot of experienced players , properly rolled players will try to act like this and lead you to think they are understress, so this will work more with scared players, not rolled and stressed - they should be your target for this tell.
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Old 01-04-2016, 01:33 AM   #98
Lux Lucis
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Re: Most reliable and useful tells

Drug users almost always play at level 1 when high, includes drunks.
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Old 01-19-2016, 02:35 AM   #99
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Re: Most reliable and useful tells

You havent run across smart stoners. Were on level 3 without knowing it.
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Old 01-21-2016, 12:11 AM   #100
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Re: Most reliable and useful tells

what about the throat?

Lately, I see a lot of players try to hide their throat
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