Playing Texas Hold’em is all about choosing your battles; you do not always have to outplay them, but you pick your battles and exploit them. Being able to recognize a tell that one of your poker opponents exhibits is the key to picking the right battles. Always keep this in mind when trying to read an opponent:
Pokerphile Rule #1 – Weak means strong, strong means weak.
Poker tells of strength.
Acting uninterested while in a hand.
This is tricky. Some players who are acting completely uninterested within a hand are doing so legitimately because they have absolutely no interest in it whatsoever (i.e. their cards suck), whereas others are doing so because they’re holding a very strong hand. How to we discern between the two? Well, we can tell by a. whether they bet, and b. when you make eye contact, whether they look away immediately. The underlying principle here is that they’re trying not to look provocative or aggressive at the poker table in order to suck out a call.
This poker tell is commonly misconstrued to be indicative of weakness. Wrong. If a poker players’ hands are shaking while he’s making a bet, (s)he’s got a very strong hand! Players who exhibit signs of nervousness (you may notice a few other individual tells of your opponents) typically hold a strong hand.
This is a sign of nervousness/excitement. As I’ve already said, nervousness indicates strength, and you should call with nothing shy of a strong hand.
Glancing at their chips.
The turn card falls, and you notice an opponent quickly glance at the turn, then their chips, and then look away. They’ve just improved their hand and will be looking to bet. If they check, expect a check-raise.
We must also be wary of players glancing at your chips. They’re also ready to bet and just want to calculate a. how much you’d be willing to call or b. how much it’s going to be to send you all-in. Fold.
It’s Player A’s turn to make a decision (call/fold/raise), and they’re taking their time and look like they’re thinking. Well, they are. If they raise, get out of the pot.
Poker tells indicative of weakness
It’s safe to say that I’ve never seen this tell at a casino, or at any poker cash game where a significant amount of money is involved. The player will bet, then stare you down. This is aggressive behavior and is supposed to make you fold. You now know better, raise over the top!
This is a very useful tip for a completely coloured flop (i.e. 3 spades drop). You notice Player B and D check their hole cards. 75% of the time, both will be holding 1 (if not 0) spades. Basically, poker players will remember the values of their cards (i.e. K, J) and will only remember the suit if both are the same.