Body language is an important part of the game of poker. However, it is also important for non-players to know what they are up against. A lot of poker players have their own tells or signals that they give off while playing poker. They are often subtle and difficult to spot so it’s important to have a list on hand in order to study them when playing against someone new.
You do not need to be a player in order to learn these 7 poker tells that will help you gauge your opponents’ strengths and weaknesses during the game. There are some tells that are universal among all players, while others are more specific based on the type of player they are
When reading someone’s body language, you have to get a baseline to really understand how to read their tells. For example, we can do this in a few rounds of poker.
The first thing we need to do when readying ourselves as poker players is as we join the table and we meet everyone playing for the first time.
Reading Body Language Real Time Game Play
Joining The Table
When people join the table, we look for any signs of discomfort in each player. This is the first time you will be meeting these people so they will be naturally checking you out to see if you’re a threat.
We want to get a good baseline on the player, how do they sit, where are there hands are, what does there blink rate looks like?
We need to observe and notice as many body language tells as possible in the first few minutes when joining the poker table.
Body language analysis starts the moment you walk into the room and see your opponents for the very first time.
It can be stressful when you meet people for the first time, especially when playing poker at such close quarters.
When we are starting to gather data on each player, this is called poker intelligence.
So you can get a general read on everyone’s body language as the first round is being delt. Don’t be tempted to pick up your cards let everyone take a look at their cards.
The first thing you want to take into consideration is where their hands are as they touch the cards.
Do they press down on the cards? This could be more valuable to them or they are free and loose with the cards, meaning they are less valuable.
Thinking about the hands when we like things we move the hand forward when we don’t like things we move the hands away.
The first round is over you will now know who won the first round. Take note of how their body language looks when they have won a round or lost. Are they folding their arms if so check out their thumbs are they in or out? You are looking for changes from their baseline.
This is where you will gain more poker intelligence. Sixty to seventy percent of the information we need is already out there. Remember not to look at your cards or the card the dealer plays you want to look around the table, you want to see the reaction as they take in new data. Because you’re going to see that reaction again.
You should now have a good baseline on everyone in the game. Remember you are looking for shifts from comfort to discomfort. There are many body language tells you will pick up on it would be almost impossible to list them all in a single game of poker as every player will have a different set of nonviable ques.
We have listed seven of the best body language poker ques to look out for when playing in a game.
Seven Top Exper Body Language Poker Tells
The first thing we look at are the hands of a player most players will use their hands to indicate if they have a good poker hand or not. They will use their hands to show when they are ready to play or not.
When poker players have a strong hand or see something they like, they will release their hands as if they are ready to act. If you see the hands holding the table and they suddenly appear, then when the flop is drawn you know they are ready to act it’s more than likely they have a good poker hand.
Another example is if the poker player turns their hand to the chips or rubs a part of their body. This is called a pacifier and is a self-soothing behavior. Remember we are looking for anything that is not part of their normal body language.
The hands are one of the best sources of information available to any poker player, and something you should pay attention to.
When we are relaxed, our lips are pliable and conformable. The minute we see something we don’t like, the lips will become tighter or they will completely disappear or compress. You may also lip biting or licking
The top things to look out for are lip compression pull down this is when someone really makes a mistake.
The lips are pressed together… As this happens, the muscles within your mouth will cause your top lip to be pulled away from the nose
slightly and allow your bottom lip to set unobstructed against your teeth.
Another sign of stress is a compressed lip that is slow to leave the face. They are really concerned with what is going on and trying to hold their emotions in. The greater the tension or stress, the greater the need to keep the lips compressed.
Seeing someone touch their face is natural, but when you see someone stroking their face or massaging their chin, this is known as a habit. If you notice this body language behavior in a player, they are likely trying to relax by stimulating the nerves in the face. Remember context is key here we need to read people closely.
We need to pay attention to the noise because this is one of the areas where we can pick up on things quickly. If you see someone’s nose wrinkling upward, this is a sign that they are disgusted with what they are experiencing or seeing at the moment.
It will only be visible for less than a second, but if you spot it after a hand has been dealt or something has changed on the poker table, then you know something is up with them.
There are also other things we can watch for as a simple brushing of the nose or light touch is a signal for stress. Remember we have to read the novables in the context of what has just happened in the game in order to make a good read on the person playing.
Another powerful noise cue is a rapid inhaling through the nose, which usually means something bad is about to happen or that someone is about to deliver some bad news. In the context of poker, if you see this happen, you know that person doesn’t like what they’ve just seen.
Take note of the eyes at the start of the game. You will see that each person’s eyes are nice and relaxed. As we notice something negative, you will see the eyes around the eyes become tenser.
If you are close enough to see the pupils, note dilation when we like something we see the pupils will dilate. Pupils will constrict when we see something we don’t like the look of.
The pupil constriction is easier to detect in blue or light-colored eyes. You have to take into account the environment you are in—whether it is dark or light—when taking a baseline of the pupils before starting your poker game.
When you see squinting of the eyes, this provides focus. We focus on things we don’t like. This is one of a few parts of the body that we have no control over, so it is a really good way to read other people’s body language cues.
The average blink rate is between sixteen and twenty blink per minute, depending on lighting conditions and humidity.
Blink rate is an indicator that can tell you whether or not someone is interested in what they are seeing. When someone’s interest peaks, the blink rate will slow down. Conversely, when people are stressed about something, their blink rate will start to go up.
Take note of blink rate in a game to up your body language game.
The forehead can give us many clues, for example, forehead tension. When the muscles suddenly tense up, this is a high sign of stress. Take note of this nonverbal cue, was it after the card was picked up or as the flop was played? Think about where you saw the forehead tense up.
People under stress will also press their hand on their forehead pressing their hand on the head will relieve tension or pulling a hat down over their heads just above their eyes is a good sign of stress.
There are many more than 7 poker tells you to need to know, but the simple things to remember are when people go from comfortable to uncomfortable. If you have found this page helpful, you can learn more about body language and how to read nonverbal cues here.