You have a friend with whom you play regularly. You want to help each other get better, and you frequently discuss strategy, hands, etc. You've picked up on a tell of his.

Do you ...

  • Tell him about it?
  • Keep it to yourself and exploit it?
  • Let him know you have something on him, and then beat him mercilessly with it until he figures it out?
  • Something else?

To further complicate things, imagine this friend (whom you do want to see succeed--just not against you) is entering a major event soon. Would you give up this edge you could have on him?

5 Answers 5


If you want to see him become a better poker player, tell him. If not, keep it to yourself.

  • 3
    +1, this is super simple and true statement;-)
    – Svisstack
    Commented Jan 14, 2012 at 0:25

If you want to help each other get better, you should tell him. Play against each other hard, but away from the table you can both benefit if you are each other's ally. If you tell him about his tell, you might be surprised when he reciprocates and tells you about yours.

  • 1
    This is a great example of the classic trust exercise. Most only give trust after getting something out of the other party first, which is often worse for all involved. +1 for taking the first step. Commented Jan 13, 2012 at 21:19
  • If he isn't aware of his own tells, should I expect him to be aware of mine?
    – corsiKa
    Commented Jan 14, 2012 at 3:03
  • @glowcoder It's easier to spot flaws in others, so why not?
    – Erik B
    Commented Jan 14, 2012 at 11:31
  • @Erik I guess that hasn't been my own experience. I've always been much more aware of the things that I do as opposed to what my opponents do.
    – corsiKa
    Commented Jan 14, 2012 at 21:00
  • +1 for helping your friend get better. I've enjoyed learning along with my group of poker playing friends, and learning tactics and strategies that each one brings to the table. We have a great time playing against one another, but beyond our own table, I view us almost as a team, going out and conquering the world. It's good and fun to contribute to my friends' success.
    – Marvo
    Commented Jan 19, 2012 at 1:42

I'd tell him, as long as he tells me when he figures out my tells. It's a great way to help each other grow.

That being said, I'd tell him after the game I figured it out in.


Assuming we are at basically equal skills or he is not taking more money than I can afford from me(which if he is I would have another problem):

I absolutely tell him. Exploiting a tell will not help me improve. Finding new tells will.

If he has been exploiting our friendship to suck my extra cash dry, then I would probably make him sweat out a few games where I can exploit it though.


I would tell the friend that he has a tell, but not "tell" him what it is. Instead, let him figure it out. (Maybe drop a helpful hint from time to time.)

If you "tell" him, you've cured just one tell. If you train him to find his tells, you've cured him "for life." (Like the difference between giving a man a fish and teaching him to fish.)

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