One of the biggest weaknesses that new to intermediate poker players tend to have is obvious tells. A tell is some action or indication that you're either strong or weak, and mostly comes out in live poker. It isn't always something obvious like a twitch or humming a tune. Then again, sometimes it IS as obvious as shaking or nodding your head a little bit. You might not even know about it.
In order to detect these poker tells, I want you to get a nice big mirror. Now pretend that you're playing poker online or live. Deal yourself some cards and watch how you play in the mirror. Some things to watch out for are hand gestures, the force or speed with which you're betting, the amount that you bet as it relates to the strength of your hand, and facial expressions. Some examples of top poker tells are:
Once you've detected your flaws, eliminate them. Again, in front of a mirror, practice putting in a standard bet, at a standard speed, as you would in a live poker game. Do this dozens of times in front of the mirror, until your motion is smooth and fluid, whether you have the nuts or you have nothing at all. Your every motion and utterance should be standard to minimize your poker tells! If you like to raise to 3 times the big blind pre flop, you should be doing that with Aces or with 7 2 offsuit, so as to not give away a tell about the strength of your hand. Of course, there are times to break these rules, but as a standard... stick with the standard!
Once you have a standard raising motion, work on your check. If in a live poker game you tap the table twice, slowly, you need to be able to do that at the same pace, with the same gesture, every time. When you move your card protector onto your cards, it needs to be with the same motion each time. Online, strive to be robotic! Try to take a standard amount of time to think about a play, and then execute it.
Keep your hands steady. Keep your eyes focused on a single point, like your card protector or the dealer, when it isn't your turn to act. And for goodness sake, never check your hole cards until it's your turn to act! Don't give players in front of you a tell that they didn't even need to work for. Online, don't chatter it up in the chat box one minute, and then clam up when you get a good hand. Keep your rate of chat the same... or just don't chat at all.
Lastly: New players should NEVER show their hands unless required to do so. It's worse than a tell, it's free information AND it can often be a tell to boot!
That's it for now. Work on your tells in front of a mirror until you have no tells. Then you'll be on your way to poker greatness.
By Bill Ricardi
- Poker Expert
Article courtesy of Vegas Poker 24/7 rakeback program.
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