If you watch the eyes of many players, you will notice they take longer to look at big hole cards. It may only be a little longer, but if you pay attention it is “noticeably longer.” This is why many players wear sunglasses or caps when playing in poker games, because they know that the eyes rarely lie, even their own!
If a player is looking to bluff in order to steal the pot, he may look to his left to see if the remaining players who have yet to act, have quickly glanced at their cards and are likely to fold. Occasionally a player may try to ask you questions about your hand, knowing that people rarely lie while they look someone straight in the eyes. Why put yourself in harms way? There’s no rule that say’s you have to answer anybody asking you questions at the table! Screw’em! Ignore them and stick to your game. You don’t lay down in front of cars in the road; same theory here. Don’t create a situation for yourself where your going to get run over.
Your facial expression may give you away. Many pro poker players try to disguise their entire face by wearing a cap and looking downward or covering their mouth with their hand. This is to avoid the stare down that poker players are famous for. It may show that you have unhappiness in your face when your hand is weak, and you may exude a show of confidence when your hand is strong. Constantly changing your facial expression is a good thing as well.
This is a true read of your opponent’s voice and an action when they play weak is strong and strong is weak. In its basic form, this usually applies to novice players but frequently applies to pros as well. Basically, players tend to be like actors, and when they have a monster hand they tend to look disinterested. Alternatively, a player increasing the level of his voice while raising the pot, and trying to look intimidating, this May be an attempt to bluff.
Anxiety typically occurs in people when they are confronted, or anticipating confrontation. Psychologists have called this the fight or flight stimulus response. Physical changes begin happening including flexing of muscles, pupil dilation, increased heart rate and or dry throat. In poker, when someone has a big hand they are typically ready for confrontation and can show some of these signs. You may notice the player’s voice become slightly higher as he or she makes a comment. Some players in the game will stare at the vein on the top-side of your face to see if your blood pressure changes. During a bluff, the player may demonstrate anxiety or they may look quite comfortable. If you can master these tells to play opposite of other players expectations this is a huge asset to your game.
If a players hands are trembling this is a product of anxiety, beware of a player whose hands are shaking! This tell of nervousness can represent a HUGE hand.
Glancing at their chips is relating to the eyes again. It is very common for players to quickly glance at their chips if they catch a really big hand after the flop. This may be a subconscious reaction, but the player may be already planning his attack.
Taking a second look or peeking at their hole cards on flop. Some players will take another look at their hole cards when for example the flop comes Q 9 6 of diamonds Typically the player is looking to see if that Ace they had was a diamond or if they have a diamond at all, because he remembers only the two cards but not the two different suits.
Watch for repetitive betting patterns especially in online play. This is usually the most revealing of tells and is based on the way a player habitually bets during particular situations. For example, maybe the player always checks when he has made a good hand allowing other players to bet it for him so he can let you bet what you feel comfortable with, OR, a player may regularly fold after being re-raised as he was in with a weak hand to begin with.
Some players show obvious changes in their posture based on their attitude/hand strength. For instance, you may notice after the flop that they sit up straighter in their seat when they have a strong hand or their shoulders drop/slump when they are not as confident when they have a weak hand. You may also notice that a player who is bluffing leans forward in a confrontational way… remember strong is weak!
When you first sit down at a table and begin to study the way the players stack their chips. Loose aggressive players typically maintain unorganized and or a sloppy stack of chips, while tight aggressive players keep very well organized and neat stacks of chips.