unnaturalusr
unnaturalusr
Joined: Jun 23, 2012
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October 18th, 2012 at 11:10:13 PM permalink
Does anyone here regularly try to read other players' non-action tells? By that I mean players' facial expressions or body language, not the way they play their hands. How successful are you, and how often do you notice a tell?
vendman1
vendman1
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October 19th, 2012 at 5:48:32 AM permalink
I try and look for them all the time. Am I successful...marginally. Most poker players are reasonably good about hiding obvious tells. You'd have to play a lot of hours with someone to pick up on more subtle tells. But when it works it's gold.

Funny story, about the ultimate tell. Live sit-n-go tourney we were down to about 15 players, one guy at my table was looking at his watch a lot. He obviously has someplace to be. His girlfriend/wife shows up (and she was smokin) sits on his lap mid-hand and starts whispering in his ear. He whispers back, and promptly goes all in. I was already out of this hand. For some reason the other players fold. He wins the hand. The next hand he goes all in again post flop, out of turn, and before the 3 card even hits the table. I figure this guy is going all in on anything so I call his all in (I was the only caller I believe)...He had bupkus...like 7 5 offsuit...I had two over cards like 10 Q, with no pairs on the board...not a great hand. The guy looks at me and says "how'd you call an all in with 10 Q"...I said "your girlfriend looks anxious to go". He just laughed as he lost.
unnaturalusr
unnaturalusr
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October 19th, 2012 at 11:17:25 AM permalink
Haha, that's a funny and very blatant tell.

Unfortunately, I'm not very good at spotting tells. I've played about 20 hours actively looking for tells, and so far, I've only noticed one, and it happened when I was out of the hand.
AcesAndEights
AcesAndEights
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October 19th, 2012 at 11:23:15 AM permalink
Quote: vendman1

I try and look for them all the time. Am I successful...marginally. Most poker players are reasonably good about hiding obvious tells. You'd have to play a lot of hours with someone to pick up on more subtle tells. But when it works it's gold.

Funny story, about the ultimate tell. Live sit-n-go tourney we were down to about 15 players, one guy at my table was looking at his watch a lot. He obviously has someplace to be. His girlfriend/wife shows up (and she was smokin) sits on his lap mid-hand and starts whispering in his ear. He whispers back, and promptly goes all in. I was already out of this hand. For some reason the other players fold. He wins the hand. The next hand he goes all in again post flop, out of turn, and before the 3 card even hits the table. I figure this guy is going all in on anything so I call his all in (I was the only caller I believe)...He had bupkus...like 7 5 offsuit...I had two over cards like 10 Q, with no pairs on the board...not a great hand. The guy looks at me and says "how'd you call an all in with 10 Q"...I said "your girlfriend looks anxious to go". He just laughed as he lost.


Similar thing happened to my buddy, except it wasn't his girlfriend but his ride back home from the tribal casino :). His ride (also my friend/roommate/landlord) comes in to the poker room and is like "time to go!" So he pushes all-in but actually has a decent hand and wins the pot as at least one person called him, seeing the obvious situation. It was a cash game so he left right after that hand.
"So drink gamble eat f***, because one day you will be dust." -ontariodealer
DJTeddyBear
DJTeddyBear
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October 19th, 2012 at 12:03:42 PM permalink
Quote: unnaturalusr

...I've only noticed one, and it happened when I was out of the hand.


That's the best time to pick up tells.

Maybe it's the people I'm dealing to, but I'm a dealer in a pub poker league. I get to see a lot of the same people all the time.

When I was a player, I hardly picked up any tells. Now that I'm a dealer, I'm noticing them a lot more.
Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? 😁 Note that the same could be said for Religion. I.E. Religion is nothing more than organized superstition. 🤗
ncfatcat
ncfatcat
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October 19th, 2012 at 12:52:16 PM permalink
I had a friend in a poker house tournament sting someone with that. He got a call and said "I know, I know honey, I'll be right there" He then pushed all in with his pocket aces and laughed at the caller which caused large problems at the table.
Gambling is a metaphor for life. Hang around long enough and it's all gone.
konceptum
konceptum
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October 19th, 2012 at 1:11:43 PM permalink
When I played poker, I believe that 90% of my success was based on tells. However, I wasn't always consciously aware of them, it was more just noticing that a person acted or did things slightly differently in certain circumstances. I've always been told that I seem to have an intuitive sense of things going on around me, and I suppose that helps.

That being said, I've run into players that I just can't understand at all. I find myself staring at them hoping to notice something, a twitch, anything. Some people may be very good at hiding any tells at all.

If you're going to want to learn tells, the only thing I can think of is to just study people. Not just at the poker table, but in any situation, no matter who you are talking to, and look for strange mannerisms, or just things that look out of place. At the poker table, smokers have huge tells. A person with someone watching, especially a girlfriend or boyfriend, gives out WAY too many tells. People who are eating or drinking break up their pattern when certain cards hit the table. I've seen some people wearing sunglasses, because they feel it hides their eyes and thus eliminates tells. They're wrong. Watch their lips and their fingers. In a flop game, when the flop hits the board, you should not be looking at the table, but rather at the player(s) you are worried about the most. Most people will have an instinctive reaction upon first seeing the cards that they might then try to cover up later. So watch them as the cards hit the table, not the cards or the table.

All of this is for subtle tells, of course. The more obvious tells are out there, and sometimes you may not even know you are seeing them. The most obvious, at least to me, is the person who looks at their hole cards (in a game like Hold'em) when the flop hits the board. Let's say the flop is three hearts. A person who stayed to the flop with two hearts in the hole knows they have a flush and how high it is and whether or not it's the nut. They have no need to look at their cards, and usually won't. On the other hand, the guy who stayed in with two high cards, one of which is a heart, now has to look at his cards, to remind himself of which one was the heart, so he can then know how high of a flush he might back into.
Triplell
Triplell
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October 19th, 2012 at 3:56:01 PM permalink
I never pick up on body language tells, as people often fake these and they can be really inconsistent.

Something that I often did pick up on was certain play styles. For instance, I sat down at a 1-2 table. I make a pretty good stack of cash right off the bat from semi-bluffing with the nut flush draw and I picked up 2 other callers for a triple up when it hit.

From then on out, this guy thought I was always full of shit, and he was the big stack at the table (probably had about $1200 in front of him). After getting called all the way down to the river by him twice, I basically decided I was only going to play made hands with him... This worked out well, as he damn near called any two cards preflop, and then called most bets down if he had any chance at winning the hand *ie, he had an ace in his hand...so he could catch an overcard.

Probably the best poker I ever played was against this guy. I bet my hands when I knew I was ahead and got paid off and I folded as soon as I figured he was ahead. Walked away from the game with over 2 grand, and I've never really had close to that much success since.
unnaturalusr
unnaturalusr
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October 23rd, 2012 at 11:40:11 PM permalink
Thank you all for your replies.

Do you think that it is worth taking time to improve one's ability to read tells, or is this time better spent learning other aspects of poker?
Boney526
Boney526
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October 24th, 2012 at 12:04:44 AM permalink
Depends which concepts. If you've got the basics down, slowly start looking at more advanced things. (tells are one of them, and pretty important) It's tough to find great tells, but you will notice them sometimes. When you do, take full advantage. But be prepared to be wrong or get drawn out on sometimes.

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