Sports & Gaming

Spotting Tells, Part 1

Daniel Negreanu

Lesson time 11:20 min

Daniel teaches his exact process for determining if a player is bluffing and reveals the physical tells he’s spotted in opponents that have made him the most cash.

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Topics include: Look For Deviations From the Norm • Chip Shuffling • The Eyes • The Timing of Movements • Quiz: Spotting Tells • Closing Off


You know during this section, I'm trying to show you examples that are extreme, but you have to understand that they're going to be a lot more subtle when you actually play at the table. But when you start to learn what it is that you want to look for, it will become easier and easier to spot those subtle tells. In addition to that, at the lower limits, players have much more pronounced tells. And as you get higher, people learn to mask them better. So as a general rule, when we're looking for tells, essentially what we're looking for is behavior that is different than the norm, right? So another good example of this, and this one's pretty accurate for the most part, and I remember when we're talking about this, there are no absolutes, right? You know, some people may use this kind of stuff to fool you if they think they can throw you off something. But one of the ones that I've found to be most accurate, is imagine you're playing against the player who typically, you know, they don't really look at you. You know, they kind look of look at their chips, they check, they bet. And then all of a sudden on the turn they check and the action is on you, and all of a sudden they're like-- their body language is, like, forward, they're looking at you, like, giving you the, you know, the mean mug look. What would you think that would mean if you were to gauge what that is likely to mean? So normally he doesn't look at you, now he's checked the river, and he's staring at you like he wants to eat you. Well, typically in this spot they're trying to send this glare, this message of strength when it's actually quite the opposite. They're looking at you trying to show this moment of strength when they really don't want you to bet because their hand's weak. So if you are in a situation on the turn where you're not sure if you should check or bet, and all of a sudden the player stares you down like that, you can rest assured that more often than not he's folding. If you've played in a poker room pretty much anywhere in this country or the world, you're going to hear the sound of crickets. You're going to hear, as people are talking and playing, chips shuffling. It's pretty common for most poker players to fidget in this way. And you can actually glean a lot of information based on how people are shuffling their chips in key situations. For example, you only watching the chips shuffle and all of a sudden say for example, you notice that after a big bet, the chip shuffler all of a sudden freezes and stops. OK, they may be doing this consciously, and they may do this every single time. But again, you want to look for that because it could mean that they're uncomfortable and they're not trying to bring attention to themselves. So they notice that they were shuffling chips and they stop. A much more subtle and effective thing to look for, because this is one that can be controlled. People, you know, stopping their shuffle is something they're doing co...

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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