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Poker Tells: 21 Tips and Secrets of Poker Tells

Top 21 Poker Tells Tips

Here are tips and pointers to help you make the most of poker tells. It covers observation (watching other players), how to use tells, hiding tells, bluffing, reliability of tells, how to resolve conflicting tells and more.


- Don't be in a hurry to look the cards. Watch the other players first.

- When it's not your turn or when you fold, keep an eye on the action. Be as interested as when you are in the hand.

What to Do with Tells

- If a player is tight, bluff often and bet seldom.

- If a player is loose, bluff seldom and bet often.

- When the tells suggest a player has a strong hand, you have these choices: a) if your hand is weak or marginal, fold; b) if you have the nuts, let him bet so you win more; c) if you were thinking of bluffing, don't.

- When faced with a player bluffing with a weak hand, you should call their bluff even with a marginal hand. Play a wider range of hands.


- Wear sunglasses to hide your eyes.

- Memorize your cards so you don't have to double-check.

- If you are tight, do not arrange your chips so neatly.

- If you are playing loosely, stack your chips nicely.

Bluffing Tells

- Bluffers act unnaturally. They try to get attention when they bet and want to be invisible the rest of the time.

- Non-bluffers act naturally. They try to be innocuous when betting and are at ease the rest of the time.

Reliability of Tells

- Generally, poker tells are more reliable among novice players than experts. The latter may try to conceal them.

- However if a player is very unskilled, they can be unreliable as a tell is only as good as a player's understanding of their hand. If they do not know how good (or bad) their hand really is, the tell will mislead you.

Natural and Fake Tells

- When a poker tell is genuine, it only takes a moment, then it's gone. The player is not trying to draw attention to the tell.

- If a poker tell is an act, it is usually overdone and prolonged in order to get your attention.

Good Players

- Don't make it obvious to a good player that you read their tells. If you do, they will disguise their tells more next time.

- Good players like to play dumb when they have a good hand.

Bad Players

- Bad players are where the money is. Go to them.

Profitability of Poker Tells

- It is more profitable to identify a weak hand than a strong one. Recognizing a strong hand lets you save a bet. But identifying a weak one can let you win the whole pot. You get to play a wider range of hands that you might otherwise not play.

Conflicting Tells

- When tells seem to contradict one another, the one that is harder to fake is the more reliable one. For example, sweating cannot be faked, but the tone of voice can be easily changed. The head can be moved, but the eyes don't lie.