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A Handful of Poker Tells: Part One of Four

This is the first part of a four part mini series on Poker Tells.

The best way to look at
poker tells is within two distinct categories: unconscious and deliberate tells. Being able to understand the difference between these signs can be of great importance for serious poker players and is well worth studying for use in face-to-face games. The first half of our examination of poker tells will focus on typical examples of unconscious tells.

Unconscious tells are the type that you’re most likely to notice in an amateur game where the table is comprised of competitors who have not yet trained themselves to properly conceal these signs. They’re categorized by the player’s lack of control over the noted behaviour and occur without deliberate intention.

Nervousness is often thought of as a sign of a weak hand when in fact the opposite is true. A competitor that seems wary is most likely adopting the behaviour as a way to conceal a strong hand and, luckily, fake nerves are often easy to spot.

Another easily noticeable unconscious tell is found in an opponent’s posture. Players with a strong poker hand are more likely to sit forward or tense their shoulders because they are concentrating on how to best utilize their pocket. A relaxed competitor is more likely to be holding weak cards and will sit back in their seat or display dropped, hanging shoulders due to their psychological resignation for the duration of the hand.

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