Giving Tells

Once you learn to reading tell to put your opponents on a hand, you can begin working on controlling the tells that you give out to other players. By becoming more aware of information that people unconsciously give off, you can begin to limit the amount of information that you give away freely to your opponents.

Ideally, you would not give off any tells at all—your opponents would have nothing to go on except for your betting strategy. Unfortunately, this is almost impossible to achieve, especially in a brick and mortar setting. However, by becoming more aware of your tells, you can reduce the amount of information you leak in two ways.

First, you can work to prevent yourself giving the tell. No matter how hard you try though, there will still be some tells that you give off before you can catch yourself. As a second approach, you can reduce information by deliberately giving the same tell at the wrong time. Let's consider an example that arises in online poker as well as in the brick and mortar setting: decision time.

Inevitably, it will take you longer to make some decisions than others. Your opponents will notice this. For most players, borderline hands take the most time to decide, so your opponents will tend to call when you take a long time to decide. You can overcome this problem by taking a long time with some of your premium hands. Naive opponents will continue to call, only to feel the pain when you turn over a great hand. Observant players may start to catch on and will sometimes fold, which that means they will sometimes be folding when you have a borderline hands.

By giving the tell with a mixture of borderline and good hands, you reduce the information your opponents can extract from the tell and create a win–win situation for yourself.

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