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Poker Tells: Nervous, Hesitant and Sudden Interest Tells

The following may be considered "emotional" poker tells.

Nervousness

Do not misread nervousness. That could be one of the most costly mistakes you will ever make. If you think bluffers appear nervous, you are dead wrong. It is when players have the nuts that they get nervous. When bluffing, a player tries to look as cool and confident as possible.

- Generally, nervousness is a sign that a player has a big hand. When a player is nervous and you can tell it is natural, you can be sure they have a monster. This isn't fear; this is excitement at the thought of winning big or finally breaking even (depending on how the night has been for them). Trembling hands, sweat, shaky voice, changing skin color, etc. Watch for such noticeable changes in a player's behavior. True nervousness can neither be faked nor hidden.

Interest

The stronger a player's hand is, the more genuinely interested they are in the game.

- When a player sits back on the chair, with or without folding their arms, they are in for a good wait. This player will just watch the action passively until they are dealt a very nice hand. As with all tight players, be glad when they fold and respect them when they participate.

- When a player folds many hands and then suddenly looks interested, chances are they have been dealt a good hand. The tighter the player is, the better the hand must be for them to be interested after a long wait. If they play this hand, beware.

- Adjusting posture for a moment is a sign of sudden interest. If a player has been slouched on their chair and then straightens up, it's an indication of sudden interest.

- If you have seen a player's hand at showdown and it was poor, check their reaction when the pocket cards are dealt in the next game. Look in their eyes. If you see heightened interest, the cards are probably no better than the last. (Though too long a stare is probably an act.)

Hesitation

Hesitation is pretty common in high stakes and no limit games. It is less common in low stake / limit games. The reason is obvious: With less money at stake, it is easier to make decisions.

If you catch an opponent in a low stakes game taking an unusually long time to wager, you can be sure it is genuine. They are really having a dilemma.

Hesitation is not common among loose callers.

- When a player hesitates after your bet, they are having a tough decision. You have two choices: a) try to manipulate them into acting as you want, or b) do nothing and keep them guessing. If they are a novice player and you think you know how to induce a call or fold, do it.

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