Toward the end of the film Rounders, the main protagonist, Mike McDermott, decides to play his $20k bankroll against Teddy KGB in Texas Hold'Em, after the latter taunts him. After an indeterminate amount of time, KGB has apparently won a large part of it back, but then something happens.

At the flop, 3♦ 5♠ A♣, Mike, who, holding A♥ 5♦, has top two pair, gets ready to bet, but hesitates for a moment. Then Teddy grabs an Oreo from his rack and splits it open while holding it to his ear.

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At this moment, Mike realises something. He decides to check instead, which prompts KGB to make a big bet. Mike then folds, turning over his hole cards, saying

I'm laying this down, Teddy. Top two pair. It's a monster hand, and I'm gonna lay that down 'cause you got two-four, and I'm not gonna draw against a made hand.

The two-four would give KGB a straight, of course. Then KGB gets upset that Mike didn't call, indicating that he indeed has a straight. Mike then narrates

The rule is this: you spot a man's tell, you don't say a fucking word. I finally spotted KGB's. And usually I would've let him go on chewing those Oreos till he was dead broke.

That KGB's tell is connected to his Oreos is pretty obvious. Is his tell simply that he eats an Oreo when he's got the upper hand, though? I find it hard to believe that such an obvious tell would go unnoticed for so long by a seasoned poker player like Mike. Or is KGB's tell more subtle than that?

I've noticed that, when KGB holds a strong hand, he splits an Oreo while holding it to his ear. This also happens at the beginning of the movie, in the hand that makes Mike go bust:

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However, when Teddy is bluffing, trying to represent an Ace against Mike's pocket kings, he splits an Oreo while looking at it instead:

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What is Teddy KGB's tell? Is it indeed that he listens to the sound of the Oreo splitting when he holds a strong hand?

  • 4
    First time I saw this movie, I thought the tell was that Teddy KGB decided what to do based on which side the cream-filling ended up: left half of the biscuit or right half :) . Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 11:02
  • So then why did Mike say he couldn't wait around all night while KGB was eating Oreo's after KGB threw his Oreo's against the wall when he lost a hand. Shouldn't Mike have been mad if he had lost his ability to read his tell? Couldn't this mean Mike was not affected because there is another tell entirely we are missing, just as we are led to believe the side of the Oreo the cream was on was the tell,1 level deeper some think eating the Oreo on good hands was the tell, one level deeper, but Mike didn't care about the entire Oreo tell system. So now that we are inception level deep, what was the Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 5:23

5 Answers 5


When he was bluffing or weak he only broke open the Oreo, but didn't eat them. When he had the best hand or was strong he'd eat the Oreo. Basically he was rewarding himself with a cookie when he made the best hand or was very strong.

Also there are a bunch of other tells from the first scene where Mike and KGB play. They're constantly talking trying to act weak, when they're actually strong, by saying things like:

"Position raise. I call.” - KGB

"All right, I’ll call the 2 grand, I’ll gamble." - Mike

"Okay, Teddy, I’m gonna call you, or else I won’t respect myself tomorrow morning." - Mike

Basically trying to plant the idea in the others head they're only playing their hand because of position, or because he wants to gamble, but in fact they're strong and want the other to think they have a weak hand.

  • Good point about KGB putting the Oreo back in the box after his bluff fails. Howevrer, in the film, when KGB says "It's a position raise. I call.", he's actually got a monster hand.
    – jub0bs
    Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 12:57
  • 3
    I know, that's my point. He's trying to act weak by talking, but he's actually strong. Basically he's trying to make Mike think oh he's just calling because he thinks I'm raising with anything, so he is calling wide here. Likewise Mike hits a monster and get's coolered, but he's talking to keep KGB in the hand by making him think he's gambling. You see bad and or new players doing this a lot in live. Talking when they're strong to act weak. I edited my answer to clear that up a little.
    – Grinch91
    Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 13:01
  • I have no idea what you're talking about...;) nice spot, fixed >_<
    – Grinch91
    Commented Sep 27, 2015 at 15:10
  • Confirmed in this GQ video: youtube.com/watch?v=NNWEWFWtJ1Q&t=24m20s
    – jub0bs
    Commented Jun 11, 2021 at 12:41

I believe Teddy's tell has to do with how he responds to "check".

Oreos was a tell, but not the main one. This is because Mike laid down the "monster hand" when Teddy still had most of chips, and Teddy immediately threw away the Oreos. However, Teddy kept losing despite not showing his Oreos tell.

His real tell might be how talkative he is after check.


The tell is that he separates the Oreo cleanly…frosting only on one side. Must take extra composure for that to happen. They zoom in on the Oreo both times in the closing game, so you can see the difference.


I thought it was the direction that KGB rotates the cookie to break it? I believe earlier on it the movie, KGB rotated the right side of the cookie counter clockwise, and lost the hand (I think that's when he told Mike to "take it down"?). However at the end, KGB rotated the right side of the cookie clockwise. The direction could be opposite of this, I'm going off memory.


The reason KGB didn’t use the Oreos for rest of game was also because he used mechanics to make his straight and mike caught it. That’s why mike said “I’m not gonna bet against a MADE hand. KGB knew he got busted and that why he didn’t use the Oreos and said “ok mr son of a bitch…let’s play some fucking card” which meant he was going to play straight up with no more cheats or mechanics because that’s the only way he could win against mike who was a much better player than KGB

  • 1
    There's no indication of any of that in the film or in the script. By "made hand", Mike simply means that he knows KGB isn't on a draw, that KGB's hand is already strong. See en.clubpoker.net/made-hand/definition-300
    – jub0bs
    Commented Aug 2, 2021 at 6:50

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