How good is your poker face? Not the Lady Gaga song, but your actual poker face? You might think you have it down, but there are always tells. In fact, the best poker players have fake tells to throw other players off.
Want to know more about how to spot a poker fake tell? This article delves into what tells are and how you can use them to improve your poker game (and poker face too).
What Are Fake Tells?
All poker players, both in a casino or online poker, give away subtle hints about their position within the game. This is done both consciously and subconsciously, depending on the player’s experience. The more skilled and experienced the player, the better they can assess their hands during gameplay play and hide or verbalise their cues through different actions. However, your tells do not need to be indicative of your position. Using fake tells can disarm others to your advantage.
Fake tells are actions players take to induce an opponent to make a play. They aim to create trust in the observed action, even though the player performing the action is aware that the action is fake.
In acknowledging that verbal and non-verbal tells are available to observant opponents, a poker fake tell seeks to redress the balance by controlling what the opponent observes and hears. It can be a very effective strategy for winning in marginal situations.
When it comes to setting up fake tells, the main thing to know is that there is no one universal way to implement a fake tell. There are many different types of actual tells, and fake tells and the rules don’t apply here. The signs and behaviours can vary from player to player. They may be genuinely trying to bluff you to think they have a good hand, or they may want you to consider what they are doing to throw you off. You just need to be able to spot or flawlessly execute a poker fake tell whether the cards are dealt in person, or you are playing online poker.
Poker Tell Actions
Before you look at fake tells, you need to be able to identify different tells people use during poker games. This is through their interaction with dealers, cards, chips or the room around them. Once you know what you are looking for, you can work on separating the actual tells from the fake tells.
Poker tells include:
- Acting impatiently (indicates strength)
- Changing the size of their bets
- Increase in fidgeting
- Changes to their breathing pattern
- Excessive gulping or swallowing
- Voice changes
- Other changes from previous hands and behaviour
While it isn’t always obvious what a tell means, there is always a reason behind it. For example, if subconscious tells are coming through, it might mean that a player is inexperienced and unsure how to proceed to enable you to use this to your advantage. If the change is noticeable, this is a significant indicator that they are giving off signals.
This is easy to spot when playing in person; however, when it comes to online poker games, there may be long pauses before making their next decision or inconsistency in their gameplay and changes in bet size.
You need to be aware of everything that is happening within the game and not just your own hands and behaviours. How others are playing is a good indicator of any tells they are exhibiting and how their luck is panning out. They may also be reacting to any tells you may be giving out whether you think you are or not. This is the true meaning of poker face. Not giving away anything and remaining focussed on your behaviours, only displaying tells at the correct times.
Using Fake Tells
Profile your opponent before conducting a fake tell. Can they detect the incorrect information you provide them with? Fake tells present both a chance and a risk because only strong players will be able to see them. A weak opponent will not be able to catch a tiny false tell because they are already focused on surviving.
You can’t go overboard when it comes to selling your tell. You’re walking a tight line here. It’s best to fake a tell only once so that a skilled opponent doesn’t catch on and use it against you. Fake tells can be helpful, but don’t overuse them; instead, use them in conjunction with well-timed poker bluffs.
Using A Fake Fold
When you are in a big blind, you may have to wait for the next player to take action. There are many times when an uninterested player will fold without any fuss. Faking a fold can be started by acting unconcerned about a hand and then raising just before the bet is due to be called. If an alert opponent spotted your seeming weakness and recognised your raise was not consistent with your weak behaviour, they re-raise your bluff to take advantage of it. If you only fold when you have a strong hand, you have a decent chance of winning a large pot if you re-raise when you have a good hand.
Fake Tell for a Continuation-Bet (c-bet)
Early poker strategy recommends raising pre-flop before placing a continuation bet, also known as a ‘c-bet,’ on the flop. An example of a pre-flop c-bet fake tell is when a player raises and then appears reluctant to make another bet on the flop before the predictable call of the c-bet. They hope that their opponent would seek to gain control of the hand by betting in response to their perceived vulnerability. This is an excellent tactic against aggressive players who don’t require much persuasion to gamble. Then, with a powerful re-raise, you’re back on top.
Fake tells can be an effective way to take control of the game of things that aren’t going your way. The best use of fake tells is sparingly in conjunction with solid game strategies and genuine tells to ensure no one spots your fake tells to ensure success. However, it takes practice and perseverance to hone your poker fake tell skills and identify other players’ tell and potential fake tells.