Poker psychology -Part 1

Weak hand or a strong hand?

All of us wish for X-ray glasses, don’t we? Not just to spy on nearby colleagues, but also to avoid wondering our opponent’s cards at the poker table. Science doesn’t seem to provide any aid in the coming few years, but indeed we can. We can get an indication from players as to what their hand might read. These are called “indication tells”.

A conscious or unconscious signal is called a tell. For instance, the way someone looks or a gesture can reveal some information about their hand. A traitorous twitch of the eyebrow can also reveal a bluff.

A poker table always brims with tells. A close look is all you need. This article will help you out with some common tell details that players have.

The unconscious tells

An unconscious tell and a deliberate tell are the two types of tells. A tell that somebody makes when he feels he is unobserved, or does not know he is doing it is an unconscious tell. For instance, if a player is covering his mouth with his hand, particularly frequently, it’s an indication that he does not have a strong hand.

On the other hand, a deliberate tell is where one intentionally tries to convey something. For instance one might tell a story, so to speak, and figuring out whether what he is saying is true or not is a task. Deliberate tells will be detailed in the next part.

This article will cover the unconscious tells. We all have our little giveaways: when we are nervous, we run our hand through our hair; some of us waggle our feet or bite our nails. The nature of our clothing can also indicate an unconscious tell


You never get a second chance to make a first impression. How a person carries himself and what he wears also reveals much about him. Your opponent’s playing style can be revealed by how silent or loud he is. The way he stacks his chips may also be of note. If his chips are unorganised, he is more likely to vary his play and not scared to take risks.


The player’s posture also can depict the nature of his cards. When one unconsciously changes his sitting position, such as leaning forward, it likely indicates a strong hand. With a weak hand players often show less body tension, for example, having hanging shoulders.


Most of us are under the assumption that nervousness is a sign of a weak hand. But at the poker table, if the nervousness is an act, then quite too often indicates the player is holding a monster. Imitations of real nervousness are usually greatly exaggerated and can easily be detected. If your opponent acts nervous in a critical game situation, it is an indication of a strong hand.


A player’s breathing changes are almost never intentional. Their breathing pattern can be a very meaningful tell. This tell works better the closer you get to the player. An attempt to avoid breathing loudly is a sign of a weak hand.


It is obvious for bluffers to try everything to appear as calm and inconspicuous as possible. The reason for this is known as the “calling-reflex”.Players who are inexperienced like to see a showdown whereby they can look for signals that might give away their opponent’s hand.

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