Poker is not only a game of skill with the element of luck in there but its about having the ability to be able to extract and absorb information from your opponents that are seated around you.
Just imagine if you had enough information from each player that is seated at the table with you, so much so that you could determine what kind of hand that they are holding and if they are looking to play the hand or not.
Winning in this manner would be too easy, I mean if the player was to tell you what they had verbally every hand, you would never lose more than the blinds as the action progressed would you?
Being a successful poker player means that you need to be able to obtain information from your opponents but lets face it, their not about to shout out their cards every time the dealer starts a new hand are they?
So if the player aren’t going to tell you what their holding, how are you going to get this information as well as prevent making the same mistakes that your opponents are likely to do?
Firstly, you need to see that information is given off in a number of different ways, its not just verbal communication that reveals what a person is thinking, body language, betting patterns and other tell tale signs will always give you some indication towards that hand that a player is holding.
Obtaining information from opponents is obviously harder to do due to the fact that the person is not sat right in front of you, so your not about to see the grin that crosses their face when they have a huge pocket pair delivered to them by the dealer, so you need to think deeper into methodology and how your going to get them to reveal information that you can use and exploit to your financial gain.
Online poker tells are more based on the actions of a player, so you need to be truly ready to play a game if you are going to have the concentration you need to be able to monitor both their play and their actions on the site, simple things such as betting patterns that could become evident during the session or they start typing within the chat box if they are holding a hand that they are looking to fold, simple things like that or signs into what a player is looking to do but you need to be aware that they are happening.
Offline poker, or live poker as its better known, is easier to absorb information from your opponents because there are so many signs that a player can give off just by sitting at the table.
Are they laid back in their chair? Could this mean that they are ready to fold their hand and not get involved in the action or is this their signal that they are holding such a strong hand that they are relaxed as the action happens?
Why do you think that so many poker players who play live poker action are wearing caps, hats and sunglasses? Its not because the lights within the venue are too bright and its definitely not a fashion trend, its to hide their telling signs from becoming obvious.
If you get the opportunity to see a real live game in action, you will see so many players who are asking questions to other players on a regular basis, the aim here is not to make small conversation or even to get a verbal answer from you, its more to make you react in a completely different way.
The simple asking of a question can leave a player feeling pressured and on the spot and asking a question such as “Have you got an ace?” isn’t going to get you a response of “Yeah” is it?
If you find that your playing at a table and someone asks you this question, its time to completely freeze and do nothing, don’t give that player anything to work with, simple things such as a smile or double blink could give them enough information to know that your holding a strong hand that more than likely contains the card that scares them the most.
If your asked a question, its time to fire the spotlight straight back to your opponent that’s just asked, reverse the probe for information and ask them a related question right back, “Do you think I have an ace?” or “Why, would that leave you heading to the rail?” would mean that they are now feeling that your trying to take information from them.
When possible, the best thing to do at the poker tables is to remain quiet, okay you can ask for a drink and you can chip in with your thoughts on the last hand but never while playing a hand should you be engaging in conversation, its just too risky.
Professional poker players such as Phil Ivey are fully aware of the threat that giving off tells can offer and so he has spent years working on ways to conceal those tells from his opponents.
You will never see him sat at a poker table in a cap and sunglasses, the fact of the matter is that he just doesn’t need them, instead he has been able to create a way to reverse the probe for information without saying a simple word, something that helps to make him the most feared poker player in the world.