Reading Poker Tells
One of the hardest things to work out when you are a beginner at Texas Holdem are the signals that other people are sending you when they play poker games. These signals are called tells (because they “tell” you about what’s going on inside the player’s head). In casinos or poker nights, some players’ tells come through when they get excited during some poker hands and can’t help showing they have a good hand. Other tells express the opposite – that cards are more disappointing than they had hoped. Reading poker tells can make the difference between a good poker player, and a poker star. It can make the difference between knowing when to quit a hand you have no business being in, or when to stay in the hand you actually have a good chance of winning. In short, learning how to read tells can make the difference between walking away with the pot of chips in Texas Holdem, or losing your shirt.
Common tells can come in many forms, and it takes some practice in poker to read them. Facial movements, twitches around the mouth, around the cheeks, the eyes, or sometimes it’s the hand movements that give people away in a casino if they are more confident or deliberate than usual. Or in online poker (and even in the casino), the speed of play can be a tell. Is your opponent placing in their chips, or calling or raising more quickly than normal? This is a tell you can read in poker online. Even professional players who like to sit still as a rock during poker games have tells, especially when they get tired. Paul Phua says you have to look harder for them, but they are there.
Paul Phua thinks that too many beginners just play the cards they have, and don’t look enough at the context of the other players. How many players are playing, and what are their positions around the poker table? This is a key question we always need to ask when playing Texas Holdem. But also, what do those players do when they get good hands and bad hands? If you can read a player’s tells, that gives you good information on how to play your Texas Holdem hand. So it’s worth studying other players to work them out, and studying Paul Phua’s video on how to get better at reading poker tells!
Please read our video script here on Reading Poker Tells.