Sports & Gaming

Masking Tells

Daniel Negreanu

Lesson time 12:11 min

Daniel walks you through his methods for masking tells including how to maintain a consistent physical baseline, practice the perfect poker face, and protect your cards.

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Topics include: Wait Until It's Your Turn to Look at Your Cards • Regulate How You Look at Your Cards • Protect Your Cards in a Uniform Way • The More You Do, the More You Give Away • Practice a Consistent Physical Baseline • You Don’t Need a Good Poker Face to Play Poker


OK, so now for the fun stuff, right? We're gonna talk a little bit about body language, physical tells that you might be giving away, and ways to spot them in other players. And one of the first things that we're gonna focus on is obviously, you know, looking at our cards. And let's say, for example, you're sitting in a nine-hand table. Many of you are curious what you have. So you know, you pick your cards up real quickly. You look at them. And you know, you wait for your action to come. Well, often what happens there is when you look down at a bad hand, you are not paying attention. If anyone's being perceptive and they noticed that you looked to your cards, and now you're having a conversation, or you're ordering food, or you're on your phone, or you're not paying attention, they're gonna know that you're not gonna play. So why does that matter? Should it matter? It's like, well, who cares? You're not gonna play anyway. It matters because when you do look at your cards and don't do that, you're way more likely to like what you've seen. So if you normally, you know, look at your cards, and then you just kind of do this, and all of a sudden, you look at your cards and go, whose bet? Oh, it's on you? It's on you? Oh, yeah, then it's not my turn. You're giving away the fact that, before these players even act, that you have a strong hand. So if, for example, the players on your right were gonna, like, steal and bluff, you've actually prevented them from doing that. Now, you could mess with this. Like, you could actually do some reverses here and pretend that you're doing that to people. But I wouldn't play that game just yet, especially if you're a beginner or intermediate. For the most part, just wait till it's your turn to look at your cards. All right, so obviously when you look at your cards, this is an important consideration in terms of what you're giving away because, while you're looking at your cards if you're waiting for your turn, everyone else at the table is looking at you. They're watching you. So how you look at your cards can often give away some information in terms of how strong the hand is. So I'm gonna look at my cards right now, and then I'm gonna ask you if you think I have a strong hand or a weak hand based on my reaction. OK, so I'm gonna look at my cards like that. OK. So that was the first one. Now, we're gonna do the second one. You tell me which one you think is stronger. I'm gonna look at my cards again. All right. So of those two, which one would you be more worried about if you saw an opponent doing that? Well, if you said the first one, you'd be correct. Typically, what players do when they really like their hand is-- so, you know, they're chatting, and they're talking. They're like [CHATTING SOUNDS], oh! Whoa, whoa, whoa! I don't want anyone to see! So they'll put their cards back down on the felt so that no one sees and they're excited about what's about to happen, whereas when someone's ofte...

About the Instructor

Put yourself across the felt from Daniel Negreanu, the biggest live tournament poker winner of all time. The six-time World Series of Poker champion teaches poker strategy, advanced theory, and practice through hand-reviews of his winning games. Learn how to sharpen your mental game through demos on reading opponents and spotting tells. Join Daniel at the table to increase your win rate, grow your ROI, and get your game “in the money.”

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Daniel Negreanu

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