The Top Ten Most Common Poker Tells

The following article, written by professional poker player and
bracelet winner Dutch Boyd, runs through a list of the top ten most common poker tells exhibited by players in a live poker game.

Some of these are advanced poker tells never seen in print before. They are sure to improve your poker game and help you win more money at the poker tables!

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Common Poker Tells

by Dutch Boyd

The following is a list of some of the most common poker tells I've run across in my poker playing career. Each player has a unique set of tells, and these will certainly not apply to everybody. But these should get you started in compiling your own playbook of poker tells.

* A Shaking Hand
This tell is very common for newer poker players. It occurs when the player bets. There hand will shake when they put their chips out. This is not an intentional tell... and it almost ALWAYS means a huge hand. They have hit big and are excited.

* Checking Their Chips
This is another very common poker tell. Right after the flop, a player glances down at their chips. It's very quick and subtle... to catch it, you have to be watching the players eyes right when the flop comes out. It means they connected.

* Staring Through the Flop
This is the opposite of the above tell. If a player glances at their chips when they hit big, then they will often stare at the flop when they miss. If a player is looking at the flop like he's trying to find some sort of hand in there, it means he missed.

* Checking Their Holecards
This occurs most often in texas holdem when a flop comes out all of the same suit. The player checks their holecards. They are checking to see if one of their cards matches the suit on the board. It usually means that their cards aren't suited, and that they do NOT have the flush... but they may well have a flush-draw.

* Asking for Clarification
Anytime you hear a poker player ask the dealer for clarification, it usually means they have a big hand. Questions like "My bet?", "How much is it to me?", or "What's the bet?" usually indicate a strong hand.

* Excessive Rudeness
Anytime a player is rude to you right after a bet, it almost always means a big hand... they are trying to piss you off enough to call them.

* Being Too Polite
The opposite of the above tell, anytime a person seems nice or polite to you right after a bet, they are probably bluffing.

* Choppy Conversation
If a player is having a conversation during a poker hand and his talk is choppy, as if his mind is on something else, it usually means he is not too confident in his hand. This correlates to a weak poker hand.

* Smooth Conversation
Conversely, if a player is talking without missing a beat while in a hand, it means he is not overly concerned about the hand he is playing. This is because he feels comfortable and usually means a big hand.

* Raising the Dealer
This is one of my favorite tells, so I saved it for last. Sometimes, you'll play with someone who will sometimes stare right at the dealer and announce their raise and other times just put chips out there. When they are "raising the dealer" as I call this tell, they usually have a super weak hand. It's a classic case of acting strong when they are weak. Of course, it can also just mean that they don't have the right denomination of chips, so look at their stack before you reraise them!

To contact Dutch, visit his professional poker player blog at