Poker is a game of human interaction. You do not play it against a computer, you play it against other people. In such circumstances, physical tells can make a massive impact and affect your overall success at the tables. While your two cards will win you a hand on the river, it’s the information you get from the rivals ever since you sit at a table that can make a difference. This is, after all, why there are players who consider themselves much more successful in live poker than online.
The past decade has marked a booming growth of the online poker industry. Nowadays, you can play poker at hundreds of online rooms and hubs. One of the main advantages of online poker lies in lucrative bonuses, the best of which can be found on sites like AmericaGambles. Nevertheless, the online variant allows you only to analyze someone’s betting patterns, thus narrowing the information availability compared to a live poker experience in brick-and-mortar casinos. In this specific article, we are going to keep the main focus on physical tells that can only help you in live poker.
Spot an amateur
Before moving on to the list of 10 tells that reveal a player is bluffing, it is important to underline that you may run into a more experienced rival who will fake these tells. This is why you have to do the homework much before finding yourself head to head against a specific opponent. Recognizing an amateur in the sea of professionals is the key to this business. You want to keep the focus on the amateur, pay a close look at his moves and behavior in particular, and get involved in as many hands against him as possible. Why would you do it?
If someone lacks a genuine poker experience, there is a high chance he won’t fake the physical tells. He will just not be capable of doing it. To spot such a player, watch how he buys in, what he wears, how does he line up his stack, etc? If he does not seem to know what to do with chips, he is likely new to live poker. If he talks too much, he will likely play aggressively. It is even better if you know more about someone’s background. If you are playing against a rich man with modest poker skills, you will much easier catch his playing patterns and moves and use them against him. Moving forward, shaking hands is a big indicator of a strong hand, especially with beginners. The best part is that they can’t even control or hide it.
Anyways, let’s jump straight into the list of the 10 of the most obvious physical tells utilized for hiding a bluff.
10. Level of Attentiveness
If someone is calling a waiter or looking at his phone, he/she likely has a weak pre-flop hand and you can afford to underestimate them on a big board.
9. A Fake Smile
Only a small portion of people can properly fake a smile. It is thus very easy to recognize someone who does it at the poker table. Just think, why would someone fake a smile if he/she has a strong hand? Wouldn’t they want to hide that information?
8. Mouth Covering
In general, anything a person does at the table may indicate a weak hand. A player with the nuts will not do anything with his hands. If he is nervous, though, he could cover his mouth or put hands on his head.
7. Checking Hole Cards after the Flop
This could be a very reliable sign of a bluff. A player with a strong hand will certainly remember it very well right after seeing the cards. He will usually have the odds and chances calculated in his head without the need to check the cards again. If he does so, he has likely spotted a potential draw option. He does not have nuts at that point.
6. Holding Breath
This one depends on the type of player you are dealing with. Usually, you go for the opposite reaction to discover the bluff. If someone is loud by nature and suddenly holds his breath, he is likely afraid of getting a call. Note that skilled players can use reverse psychology and use the opposite reaction to trick their counterparts.
5. Acting too quickly
A fast reaction is an act used by someone to intimidate you. Rivals who do so want to cause fear, they want you to think they are strong. This is why acting quickly is widely considered as an indicator of weakness. If you have a strong hand, you’ll want to take time and make the other player think you are weak.
4. Putting Chips into the Middle with Force
Again, if you want to encourage your rivals to fold, you will put your chips into the pot in a strong fashion. More skilled players may also use this as a reverse psychology trick, but if you are playing against an amateur and if he does so, there is a great chance he is bluffing.
3. Table Talk
If someone talks too much during a hand, he wants his opponent to assume that he is relaxed and has a good hand and vice versa. It does not necessarily have to be the case, but false bravados are very common at poker tables.
2. Eye Contact
Eye contact is one of the crucial elements of live poker. To be successful at reading someone’s look, you have to know more about that person’s habits. If someone stares at you, it usually means he is not afraid. If a player is avoiding eye contact, though, he might be less comfortable about his hand.
1. Trembling Hands
Trembling hands are the biggest indicator of a bluff. Professionals do not have this syndrome, but recreational players just can’t hide this massive sign of nervousness. Note that some people are constantly nervous, though. However, if someone’s hands suddenly begin to tremble after they made a big bet, there is a huge chance they are bluffing.