Tips on using tells

These are just a few miscellaneous tips on observing tells that I couldn’t easily fit into other sections.

– When you first sit down, you should make it a habit to study the loosest players for tells first. Because they are in more pots, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to study them and chances to play with them.

– Study your own tells to learn about other people’s tells. Notice what you do when you bluff. Notice how you act when you value-bet. I have learned the most about tells by studying myself.

– The importance of intuition is over-rated by beginners. Good players primarily base their reads and actions off of information they’ve observed and correlated to specific situations. If you “go with your gut”, it should be in very close situations, where there is no solid information for or against a decision.

– Even in situations where you are certain you are going to call your opponent’s last bet, it can be advantageous to study your opponent for a moment or two. It’s a good chance to study the player’s post-bet behavior and correlate it immediately with his hand strength. (Don’t take too long to call with a lock, though, or you risk pissing someone off.)

– The real value of sunglasses is not because they cover up your own tells. Their real value is that they hide the direction of your gaze. Wearing sunglasses allows you to study people as much as you want, without cluing them in to how much you are watching them. If they don’t know they are being watched, they are less likely to “raise their shields” against you.

– In games with very annoying people, you can wear headphones with the music turned off. This lets you get away with not talking to people, and you’ll still be able to listen to the conversation around you. You’ll also find that people will be more loose with their words when they think you can’t hear what they’re saying.

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