Five Basic Kinds of Poker Tells

Poker tells are clues you can get about a poker player and their hand just by watching their behavior. To help you understand poker tells, let's break them down into categories. With this listing, you will know better how to spot tells next time you are in a poker room.

Please note that these poker tells are for live or "brick and mortar" poker only.

Poker Tells - Body Language

Body language tells us a lot about a person whether or not they are playing poker. In poker, mannerisms and acts are extremely useful tells.

Generally, a player who is unnaturally still and quiet is bluffing. They hold their breaths. They are afraid of being found out. But a player who looks genuinely nervous and trembling usually has a monster hand. They are excited at the thought of winning, something that can be avoided when playing at online casinos.

Body language can also tell you what kind of poker someone is going to play. Players who are sloppy with themselves tend to be loose players. Quiet and reserved persons play tight poker. Braggarts and trash talkers tend to be maniacs who bet and raise with any hand. But the most dangerous type of player is one who does not exhibit obvious tells. That should tell you they are experienced. They will play tight but when they do play, may do so aggressively.

Poker Tells - Chips

Keep an eye on how your fellow players stack their chips. The more neatly arranged their chips stacks are, the more vulnerable a player is to bluffing. This type of player does not like to gamble much. They will only play sure hands and will fold at the faintest sign of trouble. But if you bet and they call or raise to you, you can be sure they have a powerful hand.

Players whose stacks are messy care less about their wins and losses. Often these are amateurs just there to gamble away their money. These are the amateurs. Play good hands and take advantage of their frequent calls.

You should beware when someone sees the board then glances quickly at their chips. They are ready to bet.

Poker Tells - Cards

Players will look at their cards throughout a game for a variety of reasons. They may do so to check if they are connecting with the board. Or they may be trying to deceive you into thinking they are holding strong cards.

Accidental exposure of cards rarely happen. If they occur, it is most likely a ploy to make you think what they want. If a weak card is shown, they may have a strong hand, and vice versa.

Poker Tells - Betting

Players who like to chat and then drop out of conversation may have a good hand. They are interested in the game now and need to focus.

Breathing patterns are hard, if not impossible, to fake. Listen for changes in breathing. A player who seems to have stopped breathing altogether may be bluffing.

Poker Tells - False Tells

False tells are shows that players put on with the intent to mislead other players. Someone with a monster hand may pretend to be uninterested in a hand by looking away from the table. Bluffers do the opposite and stare too hard at the action.

Betting acts are also false tells. Weak bets may mean a strong hand, strong bets mean weak hands.


Poker tells let you win with more than just your cards. Practice reading these tells and take advantage of it. You will win more consistently.

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