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Painfully Obvious Tells

There are certain times at the poker table when you just know that your opponent is full of it. While sometimes it's a gut feeling with not much evidence to support your hunch, other times it seems like he or she is practically wearing a sign on their forehead that displays their hole cards. It's not just inexperienced players who are displaying such painfully obvious tells - there are countless players who have been using the same lousy manipulation tactics for years. While of course some of the more modern players will try to replicate these tells in order to fool you into calling, the following are examples of classic tools used by clueless players.

Strong Means Weak and Weak Means Strong

This is a classic, and one that almost everyone in poker has encountered at some point or another. Basically, it's just what it sounds like; if a player acts strong, they are weak. So, if your opponent is staring you down with daggers in their eyes, they are likely bluffing. However, because this is such a classic bluffing tell, keep in mind that many players will act overly strong in order to induce a call when they have a good hand, which is called a reverse tell.
Conversely, when a player is acting completely disinterested in the hand or staring off into space when there is obviously something going on that is worth their attention, you can assume that they have a strong holding. Players will even go so far as to feign a yawn to appear nonchalant when they are holding a monster.

"I'll Show If You Fold"

It's fairly humorous to see this one in action. Picture this scenario: you're contemplating a call, hoping to get a read on your opponent but not sure what to do. You realize you might not have the best hand and decide to air on the side of caution. Just as you are about to fold, your opponent blurts out "I'll show if you fold." You immediately call and win the pot with your mediocre holding.
Basically, your opponent just told you that they are dying for you to fold, and attempted to give you an incentive to do so. Because some players in your situation would call just to see what their opponent is holding, they might fall for this line and throw the winning hand away at the promise of seeing the hand without investing more money. Some players in your situation will even go as far as asking their opponent, "Will you show if I fold?" in an attempt to trick them into giving away information. Keep in mind though, that offering to show can be used as a reverse tell by savvy opponents who are on to this trick.

Holding Their Breath

The expression "don't hold your breath" takes on new meaning here, as it is a telltale sign of a bad bluffer. While many players wear sunglasses to hide their eyes at the tables in an attempt to avoid giving off tells, the other parts of their body do a lot of talking for them. Many players will unconsciously hold their breaths after making a bluff, which is a pretty reliable sign and not often used as a reverse tell.

Getting Ready to Leave

Some players will do almost anything to try to induce a call from their opponents, including putting on ridiculous shows. Many players will humorously call for chips while their opponent is contemplating a call, to send a false message that they are about to lose. Others may push all in while making an announcement that they "have to go home anyhow." A dramatic player may even get up and put on his coat while his opponent considers calling. All of these tactics can be fun to watch but are not very effective against a knowledgeable player.


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