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Tells are hints to a player’s hand that they give off by accident (or on purpose if they’re trying to trick you) through body language, verbal comments or by their actions. Tells are usually made in response to the player’s hand or the action of the game. Players who have total control over their mannerisms make excellent poker players as they are difficult to read. But it doesn’t happen overnight you need lots of practice to control subconscious reactions. A beginner player will hardly be able to contain themselves if they have a royal flush and will certainly experience an increased heart rate, sweaty palms, and so on. These are tells and you should look for them in other players and try to avoid them yourself.

Here’s some advice for limiting the tells you give off:

• Practice! Since very strong hands rarely show up, you need to play a lot in order for those cards to show up. After a while, you’ll be able to control yourself better when holding an unbeatable hand and make it harder for your opponents to figure out you have the nuts (the best hand).

Playing online is an affordable, entertaining and convenient way to practice. Poker Stars has free tables that cost you absolutely nothing to play. Even though nobody can see you, maintain a poker face so when you’re playing against live players, you can keep your tells to a minimum. Also check out our section that covers online tells.

• When you look at your cards, memorize them don’t fidget & keep looking at them.

• Don’t fiddle with chips, jewelry or anything else.

• Stay calm. If you have a great hand and play too aggressively, people will know you have a good hand and will fold (which means less money in the pot).

• Beginner players are notorious for acting in the opposite manner of their hand. That means they act like they have a weak hand when it’s strong and strong when it’s weak since they’re trying to fool everyone. When you first start playing poker and feel the need to act, don’t do this it’s what the other beginner players would do and they think you’re doing the same thing.

• Don’t talk about the current hand or ones you’ve already played as this gives the other players clues to how you play certain hands.

Here are tells you should look for in other players (and of course avoid doing them if you can):

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• Don’t look at your cards right after receiving them. Instead, use those few seconds where everybody else is looking at their hole cards to observe the players’ reactions to their hand. This is an excellent opportunity to gage the value of the opponents’ hands.

• Blushing. It’s hard to control and some find it impossible not to blush. But if you see a player blushing, it could indicate a strong hand.

• If a player reaches for their chips before their turn, their eagerness to bet may reflect a strong hand. Bluffers sometimes do this to throw you off, so keep that in mind.

• Players may pay more attention to games when they have a strong hand. For example, if they pull their chair in and sit up straight, butt out their cigarettes, finish their drinks or any other activity that suddenly directs their focus to the game, you know they might have excellent cards.

• Be observant of other players’ vocal patterns and tones especially if they change suddenly during a hand that they’re playing aggressively as this could indicate a strong hand.

• Watch other players’ eyes particularly if they look at the pot, their opponents’ chip stack and their own stack. Usually this means they have a strong hand and are counting how much they’re going to win.

• A pulsing jugular vein (the big one on the side of the neck) indicates a rapidly beating heart, which happens to beginner players when they have a very strong hand.

• Check out how they put their chips in the pot. If they put them in like they don’t care and with little interest, they’re probably trying to hide a strong hand. If they’re more aggressive and obvious with how they put them in, they might bet bluffing.

• Players who stare at the flop usually have weak hands since they need to look at the flop longer to ensure there aren’t any cards there to make a strong hand.

• Players who look at the flop and then immediately look away can be a sign of a strong hand especially if they look at their chips right after.

• Impatient players who can’t wait to play their hand is usually a sign of a great, but not strong hand. Players with strong hands are more cautious and will try to be as inconspicuous as possible including not being impatient.

• A player who covers their mouth after betting may be bluffing. (It’s a normal human response to lying.)

• Players who direct their bet at a particular player may be trying to intimidate them into checking.

• If a players stares at another player particularly after the river they may have not gotten the cards they wanted and have a weak hand. Staring at the opponent is a way to intimidate them into not betting against you.

• If a player immediately calls your bet without any hesitation, they might be hiding a weak hand. They’re hoping that their aggressive calling will make you think twice before betting into them in the next round.

• If a player ‘accidentally’ shows you one of their hole cards, they’re probably bluffing.

• If a player shows their hand on purpose at the end of a game and it’s a strong hand, they might be setting you up for a future bluff as they want you to think they only play strong hands.

• In non-flop games, if a player double-checks their two hole cards as soon as their up-card is dealt, the up-card might work well with their hole cards.

Also take a look at our section that covers online tells. Even though you’re not able to see the physical response of the players, there are other tells people give off that can be picked up over the internet. You can start playing online right away at Poker Stars to put your new knowledge to work! They have all types of games playing throughout the day with free tables so you can practice before wagering your own money.

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