False Tells by AVP Resident Pro Benton Blakeman
False Tells are an advanced concept that are often utilized in middle limit and higher limit games by players who are familiar with each others games. By definition, a false tell is just a poker tell that is done on purpose by a player to give the wrong information about the strength of their hand to another player to achieve the desired result of getting called by or eliciting a fold from their opponents. While some people may consider false tells a very small part of their game, others, like myself, utilize this on a daily basis when playing with the same group of thinking regulars everyday.
Giving off false tells can be done in several ways. The simplest of ways is to do the opposite of a well known tell. An example of this would be utilizing the "staring tell." Most books of tells will state that when a betting player stares another player down they are using intimidation in an effort to get that player to fold, thus meaning their bet is a bluff. So in order to give a false tell, if we make a bet that we really want called, staring down a player who understands tells may very well help get us that call that we desire. Just starting them down won't make them call with terrible hands, but it may just give them the extra incentive to call if they are borderline between calling and folding. Use caution though, because if you try to use a false tell onse someone who is clueless about tells, staring them down may actually intimidate them into folding which isn't what we want. The key is to know your opponents.
Another way to give off a false tell is by creating one. I mean by this is knowing our exact movements and feelings in the past, and re creating them in a different situation. For example, if you're caught bluffing, pay attention to how you breathed, shuffled your chips, where you looked while waiting on your opponents action, and any other little thing that your opponents may be watching for. Now, knowing these things, try to replicate them exactly the same the next time you're making a big bet for value. This will often help you get a call by an observant player who is assuming that since you acted this way while bluffing earlier that they now have a "bluffing tell" on you. Remember that once you show them the goods that this whole game of cat and mouse will start over, as they will realize that their tell was wrong and will start looking for new ones.
Learning about tells, false tells, and how best to use all this information is one of the things that makes poker fun for beginners and keeps poker fun for advanced players. Always remember that when you see a tell to take it with a grain of salt and not to live and die by any one tell because you never know when you're just running across a savvy player who's doing it on purpose.
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