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Real Life Examples of Tells:

We had Zach Elwood, author of the critically acclaimed book “Reading Poker Tells” answering questions from the forum recently, and we thought we’d condense his gems of wisdom into some sections. Here, we have some of his real world examples of tells.

“Yes, I definitely have some stories. I’m actually kind of sad I didn’t write down more stories from when I played more frequently. One of my bigger regrets. Just recently I played in a $100 tourney where I called basically a triple-barrel shove for a large amount by a guy on the river with a pair of 6′s, mainly based on his demeanor. He was the most aggressive player at the table and I’d been studying him the whole tournament, and I noticed he was much more still and avoided eye contact when he was bluffing. So after he makes his large bet, I watch him for a few seconds and see that he doesn’t look at me at all, and is also much more still than he usually was when he had hands.

I have been in that situation a lot.

Not too long ago, I made a very bad move when I read a guy for weak based on a small smile he had, and I shoved all-in pre-flop for $1,600 after he made a $400 pf raise. He had AA. Like all of my worst reads, though, that one was based on me not observing him long enough. He had just sat down and I tried a “cold-read”, which I don’t recommend in my book. As it turned out, he was a player who smiled slightly every time he got involved in a pot, basically.
That drives home the point I make in the book, and which I almost always adhere to; not to try to read people without studying them for a little while first. Everyone is different.”

“Most memorable hand was probably when I folded pocket 2′s on the river for no bet in $5-10 PLO. It was a $1,000 pot against 2 opponents who’d called my flop and turn bet, and I never figured there was a chance in hell I was good. All I had to do was turn my cards over but I mucked. They both had flush and straight draws w/ no pair. Valuable lesson for me; never assume you’re beat. And never fold for no bet.”

Do you have any examples of when you were able to read a villain’s soul? Or have you ever made a read based on a tell, and got it horribly wrong?

Let us know your stories, and join in the discussion.