Three Of The Most Common Poker Tells

When playing poker, it is very important to be able to identify as many common poker tells (signals that betray a person's hand) and patterns as possible.


Tells are actually significantly more common than they are believed to be. Nearly everything a player does will shed some light onto what they are thinking and what they are holding. These indications can be unconscious; things they do that they don't even realize they are doing, but are a result of their hand. They can also be conscious; things individuals do purposely, usually to try and throw other players off and make them second-guess their own plans. Fortunately, the most common poker tells are easy to identify and act upon.

Conscious Indicators

Conscious tells can perhaps be better understood as acting, and are always used to send an incorrect impression about the actor's status. The two most common ones are pretending to be weak and pretending to be strong. Unsurprisingly, these occurrences usually mean the opposite of what they appear to; when someone acts defeated, they generally have some strong cards and are trying to encourage a call or raise from their opponent. Similarly, when someone is pretending to have a better hand than they do, there are clear signs. For example, staring at an opponent, trying to intimidate others by reaching for chips on someone else's turn, or looking at a hand for a long time are all intimidation attempts that usually indicate a lack of confidence. These should always be noted and acted upon to gain the upper hand.

Unconscious Indicators

Unconscious tells are generally far more useful than conscious ones because the key to them is that the player does not realize they are indicating anything. These can be as simple as running a hand through the hair, which is a sign of nervousness. Even a player's first impression says a lot about their tactics. Unsurprisingly, many people have taken advantage of this and will consciously pretend to be nervous, even when they're not. Exaggerated nerves are usually false. Another thing many do without realizing it is trying too hard to be as calm as possible when they are bluffing. A lot of unconscious tells come from the eyes. One of the most valuable indicators of wanting to bet is quickly glancing at the chips, while a player who diverts their eyes from their opponent is one who is trying to hide their fear over their cards.