Lets say that you have identified a shark at your table. He plays TAG by the books and has been consistently winning at a slow and steady pace. It is obvious that he has knowledge of poker and it can be assumed that it is possible that he knows the common tells as well. Avoiding these people(when possible) is a key factor to winning poker IMHO. So would giving the shark false tells help you win a hand?

I'm not talking about sighing loudly or doing anything that could be considered intentional. I'm talking about a simple adjustment of body posture, time considering a bet, eye contact, and subtle face emotion(maybe not possible, because it requires a change in the subconscious...).

Example: being constantly bet into while holding AA, and seeing no chance for a flush, straight, or full house. You showing a weaker demeanor and thinking about some thing that could incite your own sadness could help him bet into you all the way?

  • 3
    I think you're concentrating too hard on this "tell" idea. There are more effective ways to adjust strategy to target a specific type of player. Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 22:04
  • I just finished reading Caro's Book of Poker Tells. I think it's a good read. It has a catalog of common tells, and will give you an idea how to use them to mislead your opponents.
    – Roman Mik
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 22:21
  • Yes, there are more reliable strategies than tells. But I want to do this the oddball way. Because if it works then I feel more accomplished, and if it fails, I had fun being an oddball
    – yaki moto
    Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 15:45
  • 2
    If you want to be an oddball, then be an oddball. But don't pretend it's making you a better player! I'm betting that those two axes (poker skill and oddballness) are totally orthogonal. Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 18:49

4 Answers 4


It's certainly possible to fake tells. However whatever you will show will be a tell, and good players will take note of it. Experienced players at high stakes may fake tells too sometimes. Now, I think faking tells is possible maybe at the beginning of the game when you are fresh and stakes are still low. As you go further in a tournament, or after 5 hours spent sitting at a cash game, it's hard to fake tells. When you are close to the bubble, and you raise and get reraised, you are focused on your game, you are stressed and you can't really fake your natural behaviour. When you are playing say $1/$2 and there is $300 in the pot, you are not holding the nuts, it's difficult to fake.

I believe the best strategy is to try and remain neutral in any case. Whether you are bluffing, holding a very strong hand, try to not show any tells is probably the best strategy. But as I said, as stakes become higher, you can't really fake your natural emotions. Your hand will shake a little as you move your chips for example, if involved in a big pot. Your heart will beat very strongly, and your heart beat will be very apparent via your vein in the neck. Even if you try to convince yourself that you don't care about taking the $20k for the 1st place, your heart will still beat hard and you will reveal unintentional tells.

There is this video you can see on youtube about a hand that involves tom dwan and phil ivey. Tom Dwan is all in on a total bluff. And Phil Ivey is taking long minutes to make a decision. There is a lot of money in the pot. $500k+ if I remember well. Stakes are huge. Tom Dwan tries to reveal no tell. He tries to stand still as a statue, eyes wide open, staring one precise point on the table, not blinking eyes. The level of stress is so high that at a moment you see a tear coming out of Dwan's eye. Other players not involved in the hand noticed that and asked him what was going on with his eye after the hand was played.

Even the best players, when stakes are high can't fake tells, and even fail at showing no tell at all.

  • I had to go watch that hand which lasted over 9 minutes and wound up with Ivy laying down 6s to nothing at the river.
    – user1934
    Commented Feb 26, 2015 at 1:32

I believe fake bet patterns work best for inducing bluffs. At the lower limits that I play, you frequently see players raise preflop, continuation bet the flop, then check the turn if called and they don't have a strong hand. If you are actually holding a monster and think a TAG is floating you, then go ahead and copy this pattern. You'll often get an extra bet from the TAG on the turn that you would have missed if you had bet the turn. Just call then bomb the river if it looks like a possible draw missed. Emulate what the fish do with weak hands.

If you know your opponents well and are aware that they look for the classic Caro tells, like looking uninterested when you have a big hand, then you can sometimes use these tells against them by doing the opposite. So when you're bluffing, look at the TV and act uninterested. When you're strong, sit still and stare at the flop. Try bluffing while you're in the middle of eating.


Maybe, but experienced players pick up the subtle false tells. Misdirection needs to be very practiced to be effective, and may be better practiced on the weaker players.

To a strong player liked you described, just the fact that you have a mood change during a hand is a tell. They still see it as animation and will react accordingly.

Having said that you are on the right track. Becoming expert reading tells, being able to misdirect tells, and hide tells is very powerful stuff in poker. It is my favorite part of the game.


You can definitely do this, but I wouldn't call it a "strategy". Example: Years ago I was in Vegas at the Mirage. I hadn't been to Vegas in over 2 years, but one guy at the table I recognized from the last time I was there, so I assumed he was a pro. Soon after I sat down I had a decent hand (flopped top two). It was just the two of us left and I was pretty sure he was going to fold when he checked to me on the river. I bet and gave the tell tale look of a bluffer. He noticed it and called. (We were playing $20-$40 limit.) I showed. He swore, knowing exactly what just happened. He gave me no action the rest of the night. So, yes, you can do it. But it's not a strategy because it only works once. Was it worth milking the extra $40 out of him on that hand? Probably not.

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