Revealing the Hand: 5 Common Tells You Can Spot at the WSOP

Daniel Negreanu Phil Ivey

The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is the crown jewel of the poker calendar, where players from all walks of life gather to test their mettle and chase glory.

And with poker being a game of skill, strategy, and reading your opponents, one crucial aspect of the game is spotting tells.

These could be subtle physical or behavioral cues that can provide useful information about an opponent's hand strength. In this article, we explore five common tells you can spot at the WSOP, giving you an edge in the quest for a gold bracelet.

Timing Tells

Timing tells can reveal valuable information about an opponent's thought process. Certain players may act quickly when they have a strong hand to portray confidence, while a lengthy deliberation could suggest weakness or uncertainty. Observing a player's consistent patterns of quick or slow decision-making can help you decipher their hand strength and potentially exploit their tendencies.

Body Language and Gestures

Adrian Attenborough

Physical tells, such as body language and gestures, can be crucial for figuring out how strong or weak someone's holdings are.

Be sure to focus on an opponent's facial expressions, posture, and hand movements during key moments in the hand.

For instance, a player who suddenly becomes still and tense may have a strong hand, while fidgeting or nervous tics might indicate weakness or anxiety. It's important to note that experienced players may deliberately display false tells to mislead their opponents, so that's always something to keep in mind as well.

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Bet Sizing

One of the most telling cues at the WSOP is a player's bet sizing. Generally, when players exhibit consistent patterns in their bets, it can provide hints about their hand strength.

For example, a small bet might indicate weakness or a marginal hand, while a large, confident bet could signify a strong hand. However, it's important to consider each player's individual style and adjust your analysis accordingly.

This is one of the main tells you should be looking out for when playing against weaker opponents at the WSOP.

Eye Contact (or Lack Thereof)

The eyes are often considered the windows to the soul, and they can reveal a lot at the poker table.

Maintaining eye contact or deliberately avoiding it can be a significant tell. A player who confidently maintains eye contact will likely possess a strong hand, whereas avoiding eye contact might indicate that someone is bluffing.

However, it's essential to exercise caution, as some players are adept at disguising their true intentions through deliberate eye contact manipulation.

Verbal Cues and Speech Patterns

Verbal cues and speech patterns can provide valuable insights into an opponent's mindset. Pay attention to any verbal statements, such as sighs, hesitations, or changes in tone. These cues might indicate confidence, frustration, or deception.

Moreover, listen for inconsistencies in players' statements, as they may inadvertently reveal their true hand strength or intentions. Skilled players can use their words to mislead, so it's crucial to analyze speech patterns in addition to other tells.


You need to be an observant person to pick up on poker tells. Furthermore, you need to use poker tells as part of your information gathering and not as the only component of it. Pay particular attention to the hands your opponents showdown after acting a certain way. What did they do before and during a hand where they showed a strong holding? What about when they were caught bluffing? Build a mental database of your opponent's tendencies.

Also, be aware some players are incredibly clever and will act weak when strong and vice-versa.

Finally, do not only observe these tells in your opponents but be aware you may be giving off similar tells. Keep your actions uniform regardless of what you plan to do in the hand, and prevent opponents from picking up information about you and your holdings.

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Calum has been a part of the PokerNews team since September 2021 after working in the UK energy sector. He played his first hand of poker in 2017 and immediately fell in love with the game. Calum's proudest poker achievement is winning the only tournament he has ever played in Las Vegas, the prestigious $60 Flamingo evening event.

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