The book is getting close to being done. It’s working title is currently ‘Reading Poker Tells’. Maybe I’ll throw on a secondary subtitle; something like, “and other psychological tools”. I’ve sent out the current version of the manuscript to several poker friends for comments, and I’m awaiting their reviews. The main thing I want to do is to communicate the concepts in a simple, easy-to-understand way. I also want to organize the types of tells into a well-thought-out, organized structure, which is harder than I thought it would be. Getting the book to the point where it’s at now has been difficult; much harder than I imagined when I first set out writing it more than a year ago. I thought I’d be done with the manuscript in a couple months and have it self-published a few months after that.
I did have a version of the manuscript ready within a few months, but I overestimated how pleased I’d be with my first draft. My first draft was far too meandering and didn’t tie the concepts together well enough for my taste. After reading what I had, I realized a lot of improvements I could make, and basically started over from scratch.
The real difficulty in getting this book done is that I want it to be far more than just a list of common tells. Recognizing the common tells, and the different ways they can manifest themselves, is important. But I think the most important thing is having a conceptual framework for learning and observing and remembering tells. What I mean is; the meaning of tells, even in one individual person, varies greatly depending on the situation.
For example, a player might have a specific tell that he shows after he bets. He might have another tell that looks exactly the same, but that occurs while he is waiting for his opponent to act. These are two completely different situations, and a player without a good way to internally organize this information is likely to be confused. The framework I am creating is based around certain situational categories. I think that it will be the best method of thinking about poker tells that’s out there.
There are a lot of experienced live poker players who are probably not consciously aware of how they categorize tell information. They do it, but it’s more instinctual and they probably don’t break it down consciously. That was the challenge for me. I had a lot of things I commonly look for when I play, but I did not have these things in an easy-to-reach conscious format. There were things I looked for instinctually, and didn’t think about too much. The book-writing process has been a process of trying to put these things into words and categories, and that has been difficult.
I don’t expect to sell many copies of this book, considering how many poker players seem to underestimate the importance of physical reads these days. Really, my biggest worry is that Phil Ivey or Barry Greenstein or Jen Harman or somebody like that comes out with a very good poker tells book and no one ever notices mine. But I’m going to be proud of it, and that’s all I really care about at this point. And getting it done so I can actually have some time to play poker instead of just writing about it.
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