False Tells and Deception in Poker

Deception is an essential part of poker. False poker tells are actions from players meant to deceive their opponents. The objective is always to get the latter to act in their favor.

Knowing the rules of poker and how it is played, it is easy to see why deception is often desirable. In the event that you make your monster on the flop, you usually want to keep as many players in the pot as possible so you can win more unless it’s a scary board that can improve other hands. The last thing you want is for them to sense you have a monster and fold. So what do you do? You try to hide your excitement and act as normal as possible.

On the other hand, you may be late in a poker tournament and the blinds are getting high. You know that playing tight would only cause the blinds to eat up your chips. So you have no choice but to play more hands and bluff. You then act as you would when playing a strong hand, hoping your opponent would fold.

Typical False Poker Tells

Typical false tells may be called “weak is strong and strong is weak” tells. When a player shows various negative expressions like sighs and frowns, or when he or she tries to look unimpressed by the board, it often means they are faking. They want you to think they have a weak hand when they don’t. Also, note pauses when they are betting. A player may pretend to be having second thoughts when in fact they know perfectly well what they are going to do.

Just the same, a bluffing poker player tries to look confident and intimidating by talking boldly, exaggerating their betting gestures and looking tough for (and this is the key) nobody in particular. They want to look like they are spoiling for a fight, but you know it’s fake because they are not aiming their feigned aggression at a specific opponent. They may also stare at cards and chips for a long time to make you think they are really “into” the poker game.

It is easy for an experienced US Online poker player to spot false tells. Bad players and even some good players tend to over-act their false tells since they want you to make sure you SEE whatever it is they want you to see. Look out for this and don’t be fooled.

The Key to Using False Poker Tells

Now what if it’s you who wants to make use of false tells? The key is to not make the mistakes that bad poker actors make. Don’t fake it to the point it’s obvious you’re acting. Make your false tells look natural. Say if you want to pretend to look back at your cards to see if you connect with the board, try to look the way you do when you REALLY have to check for a connection with the board. The problem there is we often don’t know what we do when we are NOT acting. So analyze your habits and mannerisms, and learn to simulate them as needed.

You can also use false tells in the “obvious” way. If you’re in a table of suckers, put up some amateur acts like saying “I suppose I’ll bet” (when you got a monster) or shouting “I’ll bet” (when bluffing) loud enough for the whole casino to hear. Who knows, someone might fall for it!

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