Fri, 14 June 2013
Reading Poker Tells is being called the best book about poker tells by many players, both amateur and professional. Besides cataloging the most common poker-related behavioral patterns, the book gives a mental framework for analyzing and remembering poker tells.
From the Author:
I have always been primarily interested in the psychological aspects of poker. I like studying people, figuring out their personal strategies and tendencies, and trying to use that knowledge to my advantage. I love calling a big bluff, betting someone off a hand when I sense weakness, and reading the psychological ebb and flow of individual players and the game as a whole. I think poker is a tremendously deep game; the more I have studied it, the more psychological complexity I find.
I used to play poker for a living. Now I just use it as a supplemental source of income. Several factors went into my decision to stop playing professionally. The most important one was related to anxiety/stress; I realized that I basically was not mentally cut out for the life I was trying to lead. I’ve come to believe that some people are just better-equipped for the cumulative stresses of professional poker playing. Better-equipped than I am, for sure. Just as I believe that the psychological aspects of the game are under-rated by most players, I also believe that a proper psychological mindset is key to being a high-stakes winner. (I’m still undecided if the proper mindset is always inherent or can be learned.)
This blog is focused on poker tells, but don’t take this to mean that I think tells are the most important thing in the game. I don’t. They’re a very small part of the game. But I do believe that the importance of tells is vastly under-rated by even a lot of experienced players. And I think that being good at reading tells is one of those things that can make a very good player a fantastic player.
I don’t believe this subject is well-addressed by the mostly-inferior books on poker tells and poker psychology out there. In my opinion, Mike Caro’s book from 30 years ago is still the best book out there on the subject, which is not saying a lot. There have been several other misleading, badly-written, and just plain stupid books put out over the years, mostly by people who are not poker players, or who do not play significant stakes.
This is all very strange to me. I know there are plenty of players like myself who use tells on a regular basis to get an edge on the competition. And there are plenty of superior players who know more about this subject than I do. I don’t pretend to be a guru on poker tells. The things I know are common tricks of the trade to many professional poker players. But nobody’s writing about it. I don’t know why; it might really be due to the fact that most good live players are having too much fun taking people’s money to sit down and write about these things. (And if it wasn’t for my complex, love-hate relationship with poker, I’d probably be doing a lot more playing and a lot less writing.)