Learn how to read the most common poker tells with this easy guide. By the end of this guide you will know what to look for when playing live poker with friends and family – and what you can do to minimize your own poker tells. Enjoy!

Poker Tells – Guide

Live poker is becoming  increasingly popular and assessable with our app EasyPoker – which allows you to play live poker games with friends and family.

After years of sitting alone in the dimly lit rooms of traditional online poker you must now once again learn how to read your opponents by looking them in the eye – and what not to do when you flop the nuts!

We recommend checking out the EasyPoker app to  practice your poker face in games with friends – anytime, anywhere.

Poker Tells
Virtual Poker Game with Friends

This is a complete guide on common poker tells and how to read your opponents. We’ll look at common tactics of poker players – and what police and detectives look for when investigating cases and interviewing suspects.     

Most Common Poker Tells

If you’ve seen the movie Casino Royale you know that James Bond figures out Le Chiffere’s tell. This tell is pretty obvious (finger to temple and eye twitch) and it might not be as easy in real life. But the way Bond finds out about the tell is something you need to learn in order to become the poker champion among your friends.  

As you can see in the video “When He Bluff’s” Le Chiffre plays a week hand but end up winning after the river card. This event of luck is actually unlucky in the long run, as it uncovers his tell. 

This is later uncovered in a conversation between bond and Vesper: 

Bond: Le chiffre is bluffing.
Vesper: But he had the best hand.
Bond: Which he got off the last card.

The take away from this is to learn how your opponents play and analyze when they end up getting the winning hand – and know how they act after that. This is easier said than done, but it’s actually really fun to do – especially when you end up knowing exactly how to play your opponents.

Some common tells to get you started are listed below. 

😩 Acting Weak

This is a very common tell among new players. Sighing, shrugging or a gloomy face might be an indication of a strong hand.  

🙇 Straightened Posture

Player sits differently or suddenly have a straightened posture – This is an indication of a strong hand. Be aware.    

🙃 Unusual Speak Patterns

If a player who normally talks a lot suddenly clamps up – or the other way around. This can mean that he or she has been dealt a strong hand or has hit the nuts.

👄 How Players talk 

When a player bluffs he might have a hard time talking or is trying not to answer questions – or takes a long time to do so. This is because he does not want to give out any tells. Ups.   

⏱ Impatient player

Look out for players that suddenly appears impatient and really wants to get on with the game. This is an indication of a strong hand.

🤑 Overly Confident

If a player makes a loose or fast bet this might be a sign of overcompensation. He does this to look strong and confident – but it’s actually a strong indication of a weak hand. 

😶 The “Freeze” Poker Tell

Players that “freeze up” right after doing a bet is often bluffing. If the player is afraid of triggering any tells, he or she will try to sit as still as possible.  

🤩 Suddenly awake – Classic Tell

When a player suddenly seems more energized this often means that he or she has a strong hand – and is ready to battle.  

🙄 Eye Contact

Having a strong hand usually make players more calm and more likely to look you in the eye. If they have a hard time looking you in the eye or have flickering eyes they are likely to be bluffing. 

⏳ Acting time

If a player takes longer than usual to check – he is often thinking about betting or checking. This is a sign that he has a hand that might be strong. 

Meanwhile players with weak hands often check pretty fast. 

👀 Looking at their hand 

If a player keeps looking at his or her cards, this might be an indicator of a strong hand.
Watch out for this.  

Be Aware of Bad Players

You can be the best player at the table and know all the tells of your opponent. You have them right where you want them – but then they end up calling your awesome bluff. All because they have no idea what they are doing…

You can’t read a poker player that basically has no idea what’s going on in the game. This is the kind of player you typically meet at home games with friends and family. Make sure your opponents has at least a basic understanding of the game and hand strength before trying to read their tells. Consider showing this video guide on how to play poker before the start of your home game.

Don’t be an actor

Now that you know these common poker tells – don’t try to act them out. You will look foolish and even bad players will be able to spot your lies and acting. 

Instead you should use this information to think about how you can bring continuity into your way of playing. The more continuity you have – the harder it is for other poker players to read your tells.   

Read Poker Tells like a Detective

FBI, CIA, Detectives and similar officials need to be able to tell whether someone is lying or telling the truth. They can figure this out just by looking at their “Poker Face”, body language and their eyes. Here are some psychological techniques used by officials all over the world – it might help you read your opponents tells.

Facial muscles 

When a person is calm their facial muscles are relaxed as well. And what makes people calm? Yes, having everything under control – and not lying.

But as soon as we see something or someone we do not respond positively to, our muscles around our face tens up. This can be lips that tighten up or even disappear, licking of the lips and cheek muscles tightening up. The nose can also move a bit upwards when we experience distress.

If the lips quickly purse up it’s a sign of a person disagreeing or thinking about something alternatively to what is said or happening. This could be the reaction to a bad flop or some simple talk around the table.

The forehead is also a great way to tell how a person is doing psychologically. If it’s tense or sweaty – then he might be lying and uncomftable. 

Touching the face

Another sign of distress is touching the face. This can be mild facial massaging or stroking. This is a clear indication that something is bothering a person.

The Eyes

If a person reacts positively to something (great cards etc.) their eyes tend to open up just a bit extra while the eyebrows will slightly raise

If we experience something negative or unpleasant people often squeeze their eyes a bit.