Texas Holdem Poker Lessons: Poker Tells

Knowing is half the battle. Using playing signals known as "tells," you can assess the situation and adjust your game accordingly. This Texas Holdem Poker Lesson lists the most common tells.

Physical Tells

These are signs you can read in a traditional casino. Make sure you don't give away these same tells.

Peeking. Any time community cards are dealt, a player may take a peek at their hole cards. This usually means they are seeing a connection between those cards and theirs. For example, they may think they have a flush on the flop, but they are not sure what suit their cards are, so they double-check. To avoid this tell, make sure you memorize your hole cards once you've seen them, and do not look again (unless you want to send a false signal).

Tension. In anticipation of a big win, a player may start sweating or breathing heavily. The skin changes color, they adjust their seat and so on.

Interest. Many players cannot hide their level of interest in a round. If they are looking to make a great hand, they are very focused and watchful of every move on the table´┐Żbut not when they have a poor hand. Yet beware of the pro who knows how to feign interest, or lack of it!

Chips. Beware of a player who glances at the chips. Someone is getting ready to unleash a monster.

Neatness. Tight players like to keep their chips in neat stacks, and their seat posture is conservative. Loose players look disorganized.

Try to recall the times when a player had a winning hand, and how they acted. If, after some time, you see them behaving in that way again, watch out!

Betting Tells

How a player acts in a betting round makes a statement about their hands. Below are example betting signals.

- When a player calls a bet, chances are they are not very confident with their hand and are just "limping" along to see more cards. - When they raise preflop, they may have a great starter. - If they were aggressive in one round and check in the next, the last card dealt wasn't what they had hoped for. - If folding preflop often and suddenly raise, they have a great hand. - Raising and re-raising may be a monster or a bluff. - If a player folds when they can check, they either don't understand the rules of the game or they haven't been paying attention. - A delay in acting often means they are having second thoughts. - When players call fast and very few fold preflop, the table is loose and easy for you to play. - When players fold often and few get to see the river, the table is tight and difficult to play.


Tilt basically means a player has lost their composure during the game. It often happens to psychologically weak persons who suffer a wave of big losses and then try to make up by playing aggressively. It can also happen to a player who folds only to see that they would have had a monster had they stayed in the hand.

- When they are clearly upset - When they are normally tight and suddenly turn loose - When they turn aggressive after a series of bitter losses - When a showdown reveals the player has been playing a mediocre hand (unless they are the maniac type)

Tells are a goldmine of information. Make the most of them and the game is half-won.

This concludes the Texas Holdem Poker Lesson on tells.

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