Poker Room Newbie Tips – Read Your Opponent Body Language

Posted by Dave on August 6th, 2012 filed in Poker Tells, Poker Tips

Embarrassing fall downs and temporally tattered self esteem, is almost unavoidable for the beginners among you. Of course there might be an elusive moment of gilded spot light, but don’t be mislead by it. It is a pure luck! So perhaps just to back up yourself, delve into some good tips offered at and rest assured they will not let you down in the moment of truth:

Keep Your Eyes Open for Poker Tells

Players have a tendency to give away clues while they play through body language. A smart and experienced player looks for these signs in order to give some indication of what type of hand the player has.

Common Poker Tells

Eyes: Players who have very good cards will sometimes stare at them for a longer period of time than usual. They may also look around to see if the other players are likely to fold by checking if they’ve only briefly glanced at their cards. In another instance, a player who connected after a flop with the board may glance at his chips to help him think of a betting strategy.

Hands: Players whose hands tremble may mean that they have a great hand of cards. Also, look at the way they stack their chips; if they stack them neatly, they are probably more conservative in their playing. Aggressive and loose players usually are less careful with their stack of chips.

Signs of Anxiety: Look for dilated pupils, unconscious muscle flexing, higher voice pitch when speaking, abnormal breathing, and an increase in heart rate to show anxiety. These indications can help call bluffs.

Body Posture: Pay attention to the way a player sits. Aggressive players who bluff with confidence may sit up straight and lean slightly forward, and players who slump in their chairs may be indicating a lack of confidence and a weak hand.

Important: Experienced poker players are aware of these common tells and may fake them to mislead new players.

Observe Your Opponent’s Playing Patterns

A player will many times stick to the same routine without even realizing it, and when they happen to have a good hand, they deviate from their usual playing habits. This indicates right away that they’re hiding something, which can give you the advantage if you observe them carefully enough to pick up on the discrepancy.

Repetitive Betting Patterns: Closely observe how your opponents bet, including the amount and in what position they’re making the bet. For example, if a player regularly folds after being re-raised, then many rounds later he suddenly decides not to fold, you should take the change in routine as a clue that he may have a good hand.

Unpredictability: On the flip-side, players who are aware of their tendency to develop a playing routine (always betting on the same types of cards, etc) should switch tactics to confuse other players. In this way, the player does not develop a set routine and therefore does not give any indication as to what hand he has if he suddenly acts differently.

Intelligent Betting

Being a good poker player does not just revolve around how well you bluff; making intelligent bets can also play a huge factor in your poker game.

Defensive Betting: A player can bet defensively to avoid calling a bigger bet in the future.

Re-raising: This can be used to check if your opponent has a credible hand.

Knowing When to Stop: Pay attention to the board and the actions of your opponents to know when to fold. To continue betting money regardless of these indicators will result in losing money. Consider the skill level of those who you are playing against and adjust your betting limits accordingly.


Learning how to bluff is one of the cornerstones of poker, and it’s an art that takes a great deal of finesse. When bluffing, you have to choose the appropriate time against the right type of players. Bluffs should only be used when the risk of being called is fairly low, which means that the most effective bluffs are the ones that are used sparingly and wisely.

Player Positioning

We believe that the positioning of the players around the poker table should play a large role when choosing what strategy to use. A perfect example would be the Button position, which gives a player the advantage of acting last after having the opportunity to observe all the other players and their moves. You then have a much better chance of correctly figuring out your odds and can make the best move based on your calculations.

If you would like to read more about beginner poker tells, please read this previous article for more information.

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