A “tell” is a change in a player’s behaviour or demeanour that gives away information regarding that player’s assessment of his hand. A player can gain a significant advantage if he observes and understands the meaning of a particular player’s tell.
It is sometimes possible to portray a “fake” tell (also known as reverse tells) that will mislead an opponent who notices the tell into taking an incorrect action.
An example of a tell would be a player appearing disinterested in the hand before making the call. They will do this to not give away the real strength of their hand.
Online Poker Tells
Playing on the internet is different from playing live. Perhaps the biggest difference is in the area of poker tells. In a live game, you can watch a player’s face, how they put in their chips, or have them count down their all in bet. Online, you cannot do this. But, there are other tells to watch for.
Generally speaking, your opponents will often try to appear strong with a weak hand, and conversely, act weak when they have flopped the top hand. However, on the internet, most tells relate to the speed at which an opponent bets.
For example, a delay and then a check usually indicates weakness. Most online games allow you to bet instantaneously (ie: raise any). This is usually a sign of strength.
The Best Book on Live Tells
Reading Poker Tells by Zachary Elwood is on the list of must-read poker books for beginners and serious players alike. In the book, a great deal of emphasis is given to correlating a poker players tells over time, so that you can form a conclusion yourself as to whether the tell suggests they’re weak or strong.
This book came out in 2012, and it’s the first major contribution on the subject of poker tells since Caro’s Book of Poker Tells: The Psychology and Body Language of Poker by Mike Caro. Check out the author of Reading Poker Tells’s Youtube Channel to watch analysis of different televized live poker hands, so that you can gain more in-depth insights into poker psychology, as well as pick up on some of the most common poker tells.