May 16th, 2009 by Sammy
Poker tells can often be one of the most dangerous handicaps a poker player is faced with. While one can prepare for a number of kinds of card hands and lay strategies in place, mastering the art of concealing one’s emotions is a tricky task. Maintaining an impassive and neutral expression in the face of extreme emotions such as anxiety, elation and nervousness can be difficult; yet hiding these tell-tale signs is of ultimate importance because their presence can clue the opponents onto your strategies. Hiding these indicative signs is of ultimate importance and in this article we give you some advice on developing fixed practices to counter these clues.
In order to be able to conceal emotions from revealing all and mastering the practice of concealing these revealing signs it is important to first understand what habits and practices actually act as indicators. They are manifested in the form of behaviors that can either be seen or heard and can be used by strong players to gauge the strength of their opponents’ hands. Most newcomers to the field betray their state of mind and thus their playing position by unconsciously responding to their card hands and reacting on a mainly instinctive level.
These clues are broadly classified into three categories, on the basis of their form. When players react in the form of emitting sounds such as sighs or gasps the indicators are classified as audible. If the player has a noticeable physical reaction such as slumping of the shoulders or the chest expanding, the clues are said to be ‘visible’. And if the manner in which the play bets during the rounds is used to gauge the strength of the hand, the clue is classified into the category of ‘betting indicators’. Betting indicators become most important in the context of online games of poker where visible clues and audible reactions from the players cannot be used to discern the quality of the game.
In order to be able to conceal these tells you need to be able to recognize their source. Once you have come to identify certain behaviors as exclusive to arising out of nervousness or anxiety, you need to isolate these behaviors as unwanted and the work on controlling them and thus eliminating them. It is important to recognize the exact point at which these specific habits begin to establish so that you can nip the bud right away in the beginning.
Since it is not always easy to limit reactions and stop them from surfacing it is advisable to develop a routine that you can establish as yours so that other players cannot tell the difference between your different behaviors or emotions. This means creating some standard ways of laying your stacks of chips, picking up and scanning the hand of cards, laying the cards on the table and so on. This way, if you have a fixed way of behaving, the possibility of reacting to an unprecedented development instinctively is lowered significantly.