“I played live $1-2 and saw tells popping up everywhere. I started to almost feel sorry for some people who were just so obvious.”
–Brian Bell, poker player
“If you do not read this book, you are doing your game a disservice.”
–Lori Kolstad, poker player
On this page there are several options for purchasing my first book: Reading Poker Tells. This book has sold more than 16,000 copies and been translated into three languages.
Excuse me, but you have a poker tell…
The main reason you should read my book, Reading Poker Tells, is this: you have poker tells. I don’t say this to insult your game; I’ve discovered reliable tells on very experienced players (including a recent WSOP Main Event champion).
Everyone has tells. How much they’re hurting your game can vary a lot; depending on how obvious your tells are, and how observant your opponents are. Maybe you’re a very experienced player and your poker tells are super-subtle and not an issue (congrats if so). Or maybe your opponents aren’t that good and don’t know what to look for, so it’s not negatively impacting you. Or maybe, just maybe, some of your opponents are more experienced than you and are occasionally able to read you better than you’re reading them.
Players are getting better…
Poker players are getting better at this stuff. Just as players have gotten better strategically, they’re improving their understanding of behavior. I’ve gotten many emails from readers of my book that say something like: “I had no clue I was doing that behavior until I read about it in your book!”
For better or worse, I’m helping make the games harder. Players are getting tougher to read and getting better at reading other people.
“I highly recommend this book for anyone who plays live poker, but unfortunately for the author, I will not be recommending it at my local cardroom or mentioning it to any of my poker friends because I like to keep my edges as large as possible.”
– Patrick Sorenson, poker player, AKA “That_Pope”(from Amazon review)
Reading other players…
When you have a strong understanding of poker tells, you’ll be able to find information in your opponents’ behavior and use that information to make better decisions. To make a fold when you otherwise would have called. Or to call a bluff when you otherwise would have folded.
But I’m not going to bullshit you. In all honesty, understanding poker tells is just a small part of playing strong live poker. Strategy is so much more important. Understanding poker tells is, as Dan Harrington called it, the “icing on the cake” of the game. I often talk to amateurs who act as if poker tells are the most important thing in poker, and I always strive to make them understand that they should be focused on improving their strategy first and foremost.
But having said that, when you’re a serious player, every edge matters. Even if opponent behavior only impacts your decisions two or three times a session, those better decisions add up substantially over time. And some players will have very obvious tells; when you’re up against those players, your edge can be quite large.
So even though poker tells is admittedly a small part of poker, if your goal playing poker is to win money, it’s probably something you should focus on at least a little bit.
“It’s hard work to find tells, so many people don’t do it. This book just made it a lot more simple, condensing years of legwork into one easy read.”
– Abe “Limon”, pro player
What Makes This Book Different?
One question I often see is: “Why is this book different than the other poker tells book out there?” Or: “I’ve read Mike Caro’s Book of Tells and Joe Navarro’s Read ‘Em and Reap, and they were good, so why should I read this book?”
I think the main thing that has distinguished my book from the pack is that it presents a framework for thinking about poker behavior. It is more than just a list or compilation of poker tells; it gives you a mental structure for thinking about and classifying behavior.
One of my main motivations I had for writing Reading Poker Tells was due to having some specific thoughts about how important the situation is for classifying and categorizing behavior.
For example, a player making a big bet is in a much different situation than that player when he’s merely waiting for an opponent to act. There are different motivations and different emotions in those two moments. You cannot compare these two situations; they are completely different.
And I found it strange that nobody had ever written about these distinctions, because they seemed very clear and very important to me. So Reading Poker Tells includes a system for classifying behavior, which helps you understand it, compare it, and use it. More than the specific tells I talk about, I think this classification system I’ve created will be my most important contribution to the game of poker.
Many people appreciated this more structured way of thinking about tells and found it very useful. This accounts for testimonials like the following:
“What I really loved about your book is the concept that everything is situation-dependent. Your classification of the different situations was very valuable.” – Amir Lehavot: pro player, 3rd in 2013 WSOP Main Event
“I’m a fan of Mr. Caro. I think his book moved human understanding forward. But I think that this is likely to prove as big a step forward, or more so.” –Thomas Foster, poker player
Understanding human psychology helps in life
And, as an added bonus, improving your understanding of human behavior can help you in “real” life, not just poker. Here’s a quote from a poker player who’s also a doctor:
“Interestingly enough, your book has made me a better doctor. I work with many nonverbal children with developmental disorders who can’t just tell you what they want and how they feel. Sometimes facial expressions and other forms of body language are all you have to work with.”
-James Miles, MD
Reading Poker Tells Book Packages
The Reading Poker Tells ebook is available in several packages, from a basic package to packages containing more bells and whistles. Details are below. All packages include a special discount offer on buying my second book, Verbal Poker Tells.
I’m confident that you’ll get a lot of practical value from this book, because I’ve had so many players tell me that. This is why my books have a money-back guarantee; if you’re not satisfied with the book, for any reason, just let me know and your money will be refunded, no hard feelings.
Basic Package, $19.99
This package includes:
• Reading Poker Tells, all major ebook formats (PDF, EPUB, and Kindle). The book is yours, forever, with no digital rights restrictions. (Details on file formats.)
• Additional bonus content: 5 of my most popular poker tells articles and an MP3 of an audio interview with Jared Tendler discussing poker tells. Value: $10. (Details here.)
• A discount on my Verbal Poker Tells ebook, for $15 (paperback book is $26.95)
Book, Guide, and Video Package, $59.99
This package includes:
• Everything in first package above.
• A 32-page guide called “Poker Tells Guide to Windy City Poker Footage.” Value: $20 (Details here.)
• A bonus private link to a video of a 80-minute poker tells seminar presentation. Value: $50.
Elite Package, $129.99
This package includes everything:
• Everything in last two packages.
• One-hour phone/Skype call discussing Reading Poker Tells book content, poker behavior, or whatever you like. Value: $100. (Details here.)
If you want to learn more details about the book before buying, keep reading more below.
About Me, The Author
My name is Zachary Elwood. I’m a former professional poker player and have played poker seriously for more than 12 years. I’m the author of two books on poker tells: Reading Poker Tells and Verbal Poker Tells. I’ve also worked as a poker tells consultant for a WSOP Main Event final tablist. I’ve written poker strategy articles for such publications as Bluff Magazine, PokerNews, and All-In Magazine. I’ve conducted live poker tells seminars in Las Vegas during the WSOP.
About the Book
Reading Poker Tells is 227 pages long. Purchased on this site, it comes with a bundle of all popular ebook formats: PDF, EPUB, and Kindle formats. The ebook bundle has no digital rights management; the files are yours to use as you wish.
Here are just a few of the topics covered in Reading Poker Tells:
♠ The common poker tells shown by amateurs
♠ More subtle tells that experienced players may have
♠ Situations where tells are likely to be displayed
♠ Common verbal statements and their likely meanings
♠ A practical way to categorize and remember tells
♠ Methods of manipulation and deception
♠ How to recognize and avoid “angle-shooting”
♠ Strategies for becoming unreadable
♠ Other tips on poker psychology
Go to the bottom of this page for a complete Table of Contents of the book.
“Reading Poker Tells is one of the most helpful poker books I’ve read.” – Andrew Brokos, professional poker player, co-host of Thinking Poker Podcast
“Elwood’s Reading Poker Tells is clearly the best book on this aspect of live play.” — Mason Malmuth, poker author & co-owner of Two Plus Two Publishing and Poker Forum
“Elwood has established himself as an authority on poker tells. His book is the current gold standard. Personally, this book earned its cover price tenfold for me the first day after reading it.” –Ed Miller, pro player and poker author, www.NotedPokerAuthority.com
“Reading Poker Tells is far and away the best book on live reads. I recommend it to everyone.” –Max Steinberg, pro poker player
“The first refreshing look at live tells in poker since Caro. The hypothetical situations covered in the book prepare you for almost every conceivable situation in live poker where players give off information…a treasure trove of tells.” – Jonathan Aguiar, aka FatalError, pro poker player
“Anyone who is a fan of Caro’s book will find this 21st century update easier to read and understand, as well as far more useful.” –Paul “Vookenmeister” Gordon
The Table of Contents
Below is the complete table of contents for the book Reading Poker Tells:
- Poker Tell Theory
The importance of tells in poker • A system for interpreting tells
General poker psychology • Waiting-For-Action Tells: Weakness • Looking at you • Grabbing chips defensively • Indicating a fold • Staring at bad board cards • Staring at weak hole cards • Defensive expressions and postures • Shuffling cardsd • Fake smiles • Exclamations about board cards • Waiting-For-Action Tells: Strength ª Looking away from you • Looking disappointed • Looking away from good cards • Pre-loading chips • Real smiles • Acting strangely early in a hand • Relaxes eyes • Glancing at chips • During-Action Tells • Bet-timing • Betting motions • Exaggerated betting actions • Announcing a bet • Making speeches • Shrugging and uncertainty • Looking at the dealer • Aggravated expression while betting • Betting in the dark • Trembling hands • Post-Bet Tells: Weakness • Stillness • Avoiding eye contact • Silence • Looking down after betting • Fake smiles • The little smile • Concilatory actions • Staring at board cards • Threatening to flip a hand over • Talking you out of calling • Grabbing chips defensively • Getting fidgety • Hands near mouth • Post-Bet Tells: Strength • Looking at you • Looking away from you • Getting loose • Real smiles • Acting strangely • Looking irratated, worried, or fearful • Talking • Handling cards loosely • Acting ready to muck • General Verbal Tells • Disclaimers • Listening to players who are out of hand • Liars and truth-tellers • Expressing fears of a bigger hand • Complaining less
- Deception and Manipulation
Influencing play in multi-way pots • Acting like you’re going to bet • Acting like you’re going to call to prevent a bet • Acting like you’re going to call to induce a tell • Stalling before putting in a bet to get info • Showing your hand to gather info • Conversational probes • Lying about your hand in a friendly way • “Good bluff” • Image-building • False tells • Becoming unreadable
About me • Common criticisms of using tells • Tips for using tells
Want a Free Glimpse of Reading Poker Tells?
Want to read a sample chapter before you buy? I understand completely. Below, you can get a free downloadable chapter of Reading Poker Tells.
In this sample, I’ll share:
- A sample Reading Poker Tells chapter on defensive chip handling and defensive hand motions. You’ve probably seen players who act like they’re going to call if you bet. This chapter delves into the subtleties of this behavior and how practically useful it can be.
- Free 5-Day course on verbal poker tells: an email course to help you understand some of the primary ideas and concepts behind observing and acting on your opponent’s verbal behavior (based on my book Verbal Poker Tells). When you sign up, you’ll get 5 days of lessons.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have a refund or money-back guarantee policy?
Yes! After you purchase Reading Poker Tells if you are, for any reason, dissatisfied with the book, simply reply to your receipt requesting a refund within 60 days of your purchase and I’ll refund you in full. I want to help you improve your poker game and I stand behind every product I sell.
When you order Reading Poker Tells, you’ll be joining thousands of poker players who have improved their poker game through a better understanding of poker tells, poker psychology, and general poker behavior.