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There is a lot of excellent information about poker tells, like a player who acts strong is weak, etc. But how do you identify the specific poker tells of the players at your table?
First, you have to sit down at the table and make a concerted effort to find poker tells. I can not tell you how many times I notice a poker tell of a player and no one else at the table is paying attention. Instead, the players at the table are watching TV, eating their food, talking to friends, etc. I do all of these things at the poker table--but I do them between hands or after I know my opponents well.
Second, the biggest mistake you can make is to try to watch every player at the table like a hawk. Looking for specific poker tells is not like identifying the table image of your opponents. There's just too much information being hidden from you.
Third, the key to becoming excellent at finding poker tells is to focus on the two players who can improve your results the most.
Therefore, my two key tips to becoming great at finding poker tells are the following:
1. Study the actions of the player to your immediate left.
When it is your turn to act, sneak a peek at this player. Does the player look at his cards before or while you are looking at your starting hand?
If he does, start making mental notes of any moves he takes when he folds and when he bets. Often the tells are simply patterns you spot from these moves. For example, determine if these moves are a reliable indicator of a fold or bet:
- Where a card protector is placed
- When a player grabs for chips while you are still checking out your cards
- How a player subtly moves his cards after he peeks at them
2. Study the moves of the player who is most active, that is, the player who enters the most pots pre-flop with raises.
This is an important player for you to watch since he is going to be the player you are most likely going to face. Study his moves carefully. Note his betting patterns.
Determine what he does when he is strong and when he is weak. Does he speak when he is strong? What about his facial expressions? How does he place his bets on the table? What does it mean when he says "raise" as compared to when he just raises without saying a word?
If you believe you have identified something, take a mental picture. Next, you want to confirm this possible poker tell with one more hand. If you think you have identified a poker tell, use it!
I hope this helps. Once you are an expert at studying these two players, you can try to add in one more player. But, it's not critical because by knowing the specific tells of these two key players will improve your results. Heck, this is something I can guarantee!