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Avoid Tells That Can Give Away Your Hand

The term "poker face" gets thrown around a lot but there's much more to concealing your cards than your facial expressions. A hat, headphones and sunglasses will take care of masking your facial tells but a professional poker player can pick up on several other tells beyond any physical gestures. Simple subconscious tells such as the way you hold your cards or the size of your bets can reveal a lot about your hand so be sure to keep reading to find out how to hide these obvious tells.

Looking At Your Hole Cards
Once you're dealt your hole cards flip them over and memorize them. Taking a second look at your cards after the flop, or after a raise, sends a message to the table that your hand is weak. After all you wouldn't need to look twice if you had pocket aces.

If you flip over a strong hand do not immediately start counting your chips to see how much you're going to bet as this represents strength and you'll scare away other players. You should always have an idea of how many chips you have left so instead consider your bet amount as the action comes around to you.

Looking At The Flop
Always be consistent when you look at the flop. If you look away immediately and start counting your chips it says you've made a strong hand. If you stare too long at the flop it's most likely because you've flopped a draw and you're calculating your outs and how much to bet. By acting consistently it will be harder for other players to determine what you're holding by how you look at the flop.

Looking At The Players
Much in the same fashion that you would not look directly at a player if you were holding a strong hand, avoid looking at the player if you are attempting a bluff. Many players do this in an attempt to intimidate the player but against professional players it will have an adverse effect.

Holding Your Cards
Avoid holding or touching your cards after you've looked at them. Holding your cards or fiddling with them is an indication that you are ready to fold and will often induce a raise from your opponent.

Acting Uninterested
Many beginner poker players attempt this 'reverse tell' of acting uninterested in a hand; looking away, slouching in their chair, fiddling with their chips, sighing loudly, in a bid to mask the strength of their hand. It doesn't take a professional poker player to see right through this tell however and you won't get much action this way.

Verbal Cues
Unless you're Daniel Negreanu avoid talking while you're involved in a hand. Regardless of how much of a smooth talker you think you are, no matter what you say can reveal something about your hand. If you talk about the weather it can be interpreted as you being uninterested in the hand and having a strong hand, if you talk about your hand you're revealing that you're weak. Do yourself a favor and keep your yapper shut until the hand is over.

Betting Patterns
Beyond the physical and verbal tells nothing says "I have a strong hand" or "I'm attempting a bluff" more than your betting pattern.

Vary your bet amounts in every position. If you constantly raise on the BB players will not respect your raises and they'll start looking you up more often. Similarly if you always check in early position players will raise you to push you off your hand. By constantly changing your betting patterns in position you will keep players constantly guessing.

You shouldn't always bet the same amount with a certain type of hand either. If you always bet 5x the BB with a strong pocket pair or 3x the BB with a suited connector you're giving the other players too much information.

What's important to remember about poker tells is that they work both ways. While you're a step ahead of the average player after reading this article your opponents will most likely still be showing these common tells so be sure to keep a look out for them and play accordingly.