Tells are when your opponent does something that gives the strength of his hand away.
These can be physical or pattern based.
It is important to remember that tells are not 100% correct and are very arguable. Some players believe they are not very important while others believe they are essential.
If you do happen to pick up a tell on your opponent, do not let him or anyone else know, no matter how happy or proud you are of it.
The old rule of thumb is, if they act strong they are weak. If they act weak, they are strong. While this saying is certainly not 100% accurate, it still has a lot of truth to it in the game today. This is especially true when playing against weaker or more inexperienced players.
Here are some other tells to look for when playing.
Dry Throat – If your opponent clears his throat, or other throat based activity. A natural human reaction to nervousness is a dry throat. Opponents who swallow hard or have a hoarse throat when speaking are usually nervous, possibly because they have a weak hand or are bluffing.
Snap Call, Snap Check – When an opponent calls your bet quickly then quickly checks to you on the next street, he usually has a marginal hand. He is trying to act strong so you will not put him to the test with another bet. This does not mean he will fold, but it likely means he is not super strong.
Forceful physical bets – When a player throws chips into the pot with force while he is betting, this may be a tell that he is weak, and trying to convey strength.
“A blur of blinks, taps, jiggles, pivots and shifts… the body language of a man wishing urgently to be elsewhere.”
BE WARY OF REVERSE TELLS
This is not very common, but is important to not be fooled by a player using a reverse tell in hopes that you read him as strong.
Better players will use reverse tells sometimes.
If you’re playing a weaker or more inexperienced player, he most likely is not using a reverse tell.