I will admit, I’m not the most knowledgeable when it comes to physical tells, but I do believe they can sometimes prove very valuable in low-stakes live games. Inexperienced players who are unaware of their body language give off a plethora of tells that can reveal their hand strength. Here’s three basic tells to look for when playing against inexperienced players. Keep in mind that these tells may or may not be true for better players who are aware of their body language.
TELL #1: Leaning back with crossed arms. This one is a classic. When someone leans back comfortably and crosses their arms, it usually indicates confidence in their hand. Thus, when an inexperienced opponent makes an aggressive action (a bet or raise) and assumes this posture, be more inclined to think that he has a strong hand.
TELL #2: Taking a long time to check in big or multiway pots. When opponents take a long time to check, it usually indicates at best a medium strength hand. Few players take a long time to check when they slowplay, so when someone takes a long time to check it usually means they’re afraid to bet. In such situations, you should be more inclined to think your opponent has a weaker hand and value bet thin or bluff accordingly.
TELL #3: The tank/raise. Of all the physical tells out there, this may be one of the most reliable. When an inexperienced player is facing a large bet and pauses for a long time before raising, they almost certainly have a monster hand, usually the nuts or near-nuts. They’re so confident in their hand strength that they’ll act like they’re weak by tanking before making a raise. In such instances, be more inclined to assume your opponent has a nutted hand and fold more of your weaker hands.
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