How do you spot your own tells?

This drives me nuts. I know I give away too many chips at the table, and my big problem is being impatient, but… I’m sure there’s more. How do you discover your tells, online or off? What should I be looking for in my replays?

Hi Gatzby, I always get red on my neck and face…don’t know how to stop it…maybe I should wear a scarf & ski mask? :smile: I’m impatient too…just have to ask myself, do I want to play or to win?

Hah, yeah, I’m never sure if I just want to play, or want to win!

I think my last tell was spilling my drink at the table. I was put in the Corner of Shame for days.

just ask yourself what can beat me, and go from there. than judge the bet.

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A tip for losing less chips might not be all tells, it might be playing too many hands, especially calling marginal hands pre-flop, committing you to throw in more chips later. Check out some starting hands charts, and read up on that, you’ll learn a lot.

Also, about tells, really online the only tells you’ll find are in their betting. Checking the flop and betting the turn when a big card comes, they either made a pair or they are trying to make you think they made a pair; that’s on you.

If you want to read about live poker tells, a fantastic place to start is Caro’s Book of Poker Tells by Mike Caro. If you’re near a B&N, I’d bet they’ve got a copy. It’ll teach you a lot about spotting live tells.


Thanks for the book recommendation! I’ve liked what I’ve read of Caro so far, so definitely a good thing to pick up.

I think you’re right; I definitely play too many hands. I also like harley57’s tip: Ask what can beat you and go from there. Good way to memorize the value of hands too.

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Online the only tells so to speak are bad or repetitive betting patterns, and weak (especially pre-flop) play.
After that, play play pre-flop and post flop poker.

On a real table, that is a different animal. Best advice is control your breathing, mix up your play, do the math, and pay attention to the whole table.

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in other words sniff it out with a shinny nose like that, lol


The problem with tells is that they can be faked.

One fairly reliable online tell is bet timing. For example, when someone waits until they are nearly out of time, then bets or raises, they usually have a hand. It basically means one of 2 things; that they are trying to figure out what amount you will call, or they are trying to look weak and indecisive. Of course, they can also be petting the cat and not paying attention too.

Conversely, fast betting often indicates weakness. They are trying to look confident and strong when they are weak.

Bet size can also be a tell, though it’s not as reliable. For example, if someone check/calls the flop and turn (especially if the flop contains 2 of one suit or a fairly obvious straight draw) then they bet big when the river is a blank, they often are bluffing a missed draw. Of course, the river you thought was a blank might also have made them a set, so you never know.

To answer the original question though… get Caro’s Book of Poker Tells, learn the most common tells, then make sure you don’t do any of them… unless you are purposely trying to mislead your opponent.