Sports & Gaming

Spotting Tells, Part 2

Daniel Negreanu

Lesson time 09:18 min

Daniel delves deeper into his analysis of body language and demonstrates how craftier opponents may try to trick you with the notorious “reverse tell.”

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Topics include: Be Wary of “The Speech” • Betting Motion • Breathing • Oral Fixations • Reverse Tells


With few exceptions, most players who are willing to do some table talk during a hand are going to do so when they're comfortable and when they're feeling strong. That's not always the case. Some people have, as I said, mastered the art of chit chat while they're bluffing, and they feel comfortable doing so. And some people actually just end up feeling more comfortable when they talk a lot. But for most players, if you see something like this, we call it the speech. If you see the speech before the all in-- like something like this, for example-- well, I got to get home to dinner anyway. It's late. I'm all in. Or something to the effect of, ah, I just don't feel like playing anymore. Let's go all in. Or, well, this hand is as good as any. I might as well go all in. All three of those things are the speech, if you will. And the speech is usually downplaying the strength of the hand by deflecting and saying, well, I've got to do dinner, so that's the reason I'm going all in. Or I'm not really that strong, but might as well. So most often when people are willing to say something like this or talk, you should be aware of that speech. Now, again, this is something that a lot of players are going to counter, and they'll do the speech and reverse it on you. But more often than not, if you see a random-- especially an amateur player-- pull the speech all in play, you better get away from your hand. One of other points in a poker hand where you're going to be giving away information is when you choose to actually make a bet. And there's a lot of ways that you'll see players do that. Sometimes you'll see a player take chips, and they'll just splash them in the pot. That same player, other times, may decide to just gently put them in this way. And often, if you pay attention to this sort of thing, you'll develop patterns, or you'll see patterns in terms of which one is stronger and which one is weaker. Now, one of the things I look for occasionally is when someone is splashing their chips, I'm watching the elbow. And when an elbow extends all the way and stretches, that's essentially-- subconscious tells you to say, listen, get away. I'm very strong. Run. Whereas that same player, if they-- instead of fully extending the elbow, they put the chips down this way and don't extend the elbow, that's them being more inviting. So why would they be more inviting? Because they want you to call. Why would they be more aggressive with their arm? Because they want you out. So that tells you that's weaker than this. There's also things that you probably don't even realize that you do occasionally when you're betting. So say, for example, I'm in a hand against you right there. So I'm going to bet these four chips. And instead of betting them towards you, I bet them over here. What would that signify to you? Now, what that means, typically, is that's a weaker hand. They don't even have the guts, essentially, to look you in the face and make the bet. So o...

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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