Texas Holdem Poker Tells

I am going to begin to make a list of poker tells. Now a disclaimer is necessary, no tell is correct 100% of the times. A tell is only useful if it either allows you to bluff the player out of the pot or makes you call with a hand weaker than you otherwise wouldn’t. I will try to rate each tell on their risk level (amount of money you must invest to make the bluff), level of game they occur in (one tell in a 15-30 game may mean something completely different in a 3-6 game), percentage of times the tell is correct. This section is going to help you find what to look for. It’s going to be your job to analyse them in your own games and see which ones are most relevant for you.

It’s very important that you make a solid play the majority of the game. If you don’t have respect at the table or your opponents are not going to fold their hands, these or any bluffs success rates are very low and not worth attempting in the long run. However used very sparingly, even if you get caught, they will make you extra bets when you have the stone cold nuts. The small number of pots that your going to win because of your bluffs minus the number of times you get caught should be profitable. But if you bluff too often you can lose all the money in front of you.

The psychology behind many tells is that they are unconscious movements or gestures. Those are the easy tells. The more frequent tells are when they DON’T do something. This could be that a player talks all the time during a hand and now they have made a bet and they are very quiet. This is usually the result of large amounts of adrenaline going through their body. It also causes their hands to shake, face or ears to turn red, blood vessels in throat to visibly pulse, large amounts of saliva to be produced (player then must swallow), or as a result when a person is talking they suddenly chock up because of all the saliva. The problem with these tells is that the adrenaline is caused sometimes when a player has a big bluff or sometimes when they have a monster and don’t want people to fold. These are things that don’t have a formula they will only become obvious when you’ve played many hands of poker. But taking note of them every time they happen and remembering what the player had will help you to pick up on these things faster.

1) Dropping poker chips during a bet

My first and most favourite tell for a live game is; Dropping of poker chips during a bet. If they are dropping chips during a call its not useful information. I would rate this success rate at about 80%. This means they are very unconfident in their hand however they wont always fold. Things that affect the accuracy of this bluff are the limit of the game they are playing in. The higher the limit of game the more accurate the tell. If a person is a beginner at using chips they are going to drop chips often. What you are going to want to do is quickly re-raise them and make sure you pay attention to their reaction. they should look very angry but make sure they don’t look like they are making a crying call ( Call which they feel they are losing but they are always going to call to the river-AKA if you have aces and the flop is 9-K-K). Your going to want to make sure that the flop has limited number of draws because if they improve their hand they may still call you. Now this bluff is going to have a high amount of risk. Even though it is correct a large percentage of the time it’s going to cost you several bets to win the hand.

2) Long pause before a river check

One of the most profitable tells is the long check before a river check. This will mean two things they are scared of something that came on the river or they want you to think they are scared of something. Usually if they are really scared they quickly pause and then check because they did have a good hand and are a good player then they would have already have thought of what they are going to do if a “bad” card such as a 3rd flush card, comes out on the river. So what they are usually trying to do is to get you to check behind them to either save a bet or if on the turn get a free card. I would put the accuracy of this bluff at 70%. The information is usually correct but it doesn’t mean that their going to fold. All it says is that they don’t want you to bet. Then nice part about this bet is that its a small investment that will have a high success rate of winning the pot. It will also tell you that if you have a reasonably good hand and a scare card comes on the river and they pause long then check they are trying to say they made their hand. If they really did they would have either bet or checked quickly so they can check raise you. This is a perfect place to make a value bet. You are probably going to get called so if you bet you are marginally hand you will usually have them beat by just a little bit. That extra bet is pure profit through skill.

3) When someone does not use the auto raise buttons in late position

There is lots of tells with these buttons, but here is one thing to help you in your blinds. The situation is for the people that are on either the button or one away from it during your big blind. Pay attention to those people and weather or not they use the auto raise button. If they don’t then this lesson won’t apply. If they do use them often your going to want to pay attention to the times they don’t. The less times they don’t use the buttons the stronger the confidence for the tell. If everyone has folded to them and it pauses on them for just a second then they raise it usually means that they have at best a marginal hand. If it goes to them and they pause for a few seconds its to make you think they have nothing and they may be very strong. This is a high-risk bluff because it calls for you to 3 bet them either right away or to raise them on the flop no matter what comes out. Also you are out of position during the entire hand, which is never good. This may result in forcing bets again on the turn and river as a result a high investment to win two small bets and stop the stealing of the blinds. I would never recommend this in a medium or low limit game, only games where the river is shown less than 75% of the time.

Don’t Miss Bets in Texas Holdem

In Texas Holdem everyone knows how to win with aces, also with a lot of patients and solid play a player can be a winning player. The next step on the way to being a great player is to get the absolute maximum amount of money out of every hand. That means betting when you think your winning by only a little. If you think the person has AQ and you have AK you want to bet your hand for the value of the hand, his call is what you would call an extra bet. The bet is Extra because most people would check the river. There are many different types of Extra Bets. Its important that you remember that your betting for value on hands that your winning by only a small amount. That means if you bet you need to be able to think of a few hands that they can call that you beat. If there is no hand they can call the river that you beat, and all hands that beat you they would call the river then its very important that you check, because there is no value in the bet. You are either winning the hand, or they are going to call and your going to lose an extra bet.

Another way to get an extra bet is by checking when you are in front of your other player. Here’s the situation: you have a hand like AQ and raised the pot pre-flop with one cold caller behind you and the blinds have folded. If the flop is small like 2-3-7 with two hearts there is a good chance you are winning the hand but don’t want them to out draw you. So you bet the flop and they call the bet. The turn is a 7 so 2-3-7-7 your hand is probably still good so you can bet again the turn we will say the river is a 4 not the flush card, so You have A Q with the flop 2-3-7-7-4 If you are going to bet the worst hand he would call you with is ace high. Because you raised before the flop the hands he is going to call you with are usually at worst A-9 or A-10 but if you bet that river usually they wont call with those hands. So you are betting hopping that they have A-J and that they call you. If they have AK they will usually call the river with that flop, AK if they were going to fold it would usually be on the turn. If they have flopped a pair or have a small pocket pair there is no way their going to fold. So as a result the river bet is a waste of your money. If you check the hand on the river they are going to bet if they have a pair, AK but they might also bet if they had missed their flush. They might also bet because they think you have nothing and plan to fold. So by checking you are off setting the losing hands with the chance they are going to bluff at the pot. Any time you find that if you bet they will only call with a hand better than yours. And they wont fold any hand that is better than yours. You should always check and possibly call to catch them in their bluff. Be very careful you don’t get in the habit of calling the river with weak hands.

Texas Holdem Position

Position is by definition the order in which people act during the hand. First position would be the small blind and last position would be the button. The later you act in a hand the better position a player is in. This will be explained more a little later. In smaller games position makes less of a difference than in larger games but when trying to learn the game knowing how to use position to your advantage will both save you money and make you extra money. For its most simple reasons acting last you will be able to have more information about what others have from the actions players take in front of you. During this hand you will have this advantage each of the 4 rounds of betting. Thus compounding your edge.

To give an example of how position plays apart of a hand ill use two players who both have AK suited. This is one of the best hands you can have in holdem. If the first person (player 1) raises and the second person (player 2) re-raises (3-bets) and everyone else folds and player 1 just calls the 3 bets. The flop is all small cards 2 2 7 and player 1 checks and player 2 bets this puts the player 1 in a very bad position because he has no idea what the other person has and if he decides to call he may be drawing very slim against KK or AA. Because of a strong possibility that a player may have a medium pair (88-JJ) the correct play is to call the flop. Now the player 2 seeing that player 1 has only called he can assume that player 1 doesn’t have a pair, thus his AK is the best hand. The turn then comes out a 9 and player again checks as player 2 then bets what he thinks is still the winner. Player 1 is then forced to fold because the pot odds wont allow him to call the larger bet. That’s one example of how position plays a part when two people have the same hand. One of the most common moves in holdem is raising with position to “get a free card”. Example: 5 people are in the hand and you are on the button with KQ of hearts and nobody has raised the pot pre-flop. The flop comes down 9-10-2 two hearts. The first person has bet into the field and one person has called. Because you act last during the hand you can raise, hoping its enough to scare others into just calling. If they do just call and not raise then your move has worked. If they re-raise then its failed but you will still have outs to win the hand. Assuming that both players have only called your raise you see the turn card. If it is not one of your outs; a heart, Jack which both give you the nuts or second NUTS ( the best possible hand with the board cards) even a King or a Queen would give you a strong hand, and both players check to you then you can check. This is your free card because if you had only called the flop the same player would usually bet the turn as well. Costing you 1 bet on the flop and 2 bets on the turn = 3 bets. By raising the hand it has only cost you 2 bets. It becomes even more profitable when you hit your outs. Because you will then be holding the best hand and would earn one more bet during the hand.