Poker psychology -Part 3

Conscious tells

In 1978, the poker legend Mike Caro wrote:

Mostly, people can not live how they would like. During schooling, they had to do homework, which they hated, […] As grown ups, they must live with people they don’t like, pretend to feel good when gloomy, pretend to have things under control, despite being insecure and uneasy.

These people are actors. They pretend to be a total different person which they are not. At the poker table, they disguise subconsciously under the motto: “If I do not adjust myself, people will see my true nature.”

How does a player react with a strong hand? Most will try to act weak. What is a bluff? Players attempting to appear strong. The opponents will not notice you are acting if you are good at it. If they are good at it and understand your tricks, then you sure have a problem.

Unfortunately, not many players are good actors. Here is a simple, basic method for attempting to recognise deceit, observe not only what your opponent is doing now, but also what he has done in the past. Now ask yourself: does it make sense?


This tell can be seen in various forms, with beginners more prone to exaggeration. There are similar situations when people behave as though they want to throw their hand away when it is not their turn.A sigh, drooping of the shoulders or sulking can reveal pretend weakness. Players who pretend to be weak have a strong hand. If a player consciously looks away during a hand, it is usually dangerous. To provoke action, he pretends as though the hand does not matter to him. This is most likely to happen when the flop is dealt. A glance at the flop and then a quick look to the side is an indication of strength.

Most players generally make quick decisions. When someone ponders for a very long time before making a huge raise, they want to pretend it was a very tough decision. Usually, you can easily sniff out strong hands.

Identifying faked strengths can be more risky though it is quite profitable. Nevertheless you can save a lot of money if you can rightly use the tells to identify faked weaknesses.

Usually players with strong hands will encourage you to put chips in the centre, whereas players with weak hands will want to discourage it. Below are few best signs:


When someone reaches to his chips whilst it is his opponent’s turn, it is usually an intimidation attempt. On the other hand, it’s usually a sign of strength when a player constantly plays with his chips suddenly stops when it is your turn.


Players who do not hold dangerous hands, generally tend to make rigid, shrewd glances at their opponents. The sign of weakness is when you are signaled “I know what you are upto because I’ve watched you closely”


If an opponent takes a long look at his cards or the board, he is probably playing a weak hand. Likewise, if he takes a long time before betting, probability of him bluffing is high.

If an opponent repeatedly looks at his starting hand after making a bet while you reach for your chips, you can expect a bluff.


With a hope of their opponents to continue with the hand, players with a strong hand wait patiently. If they want to abort the action bluntly, he probably has a weak hand.


All in all ,tells do not confine to any hard and fast rules. They are not as clear as we would like them to be. Thus, looking for several opponent tells can be of help. If they all sync, then it can make your decision easier.

It becomes quite complicated when tells contradict each other. However there is a solution this too. Often, player’s actions will be conscious to only to one aspect. Find out which tell is an act and try the opposite of what the player wants you to do!

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