word type: poker slang

  1. An unintended action that reveals the strength of a player's hand. Tells can be physical, verbal, or habitual actions.

Rounders Quote Fiesta!

They wear their tells like signs around their necks. Facial tics, nervous fingers. A hand over a mouth. The way a cigarette is smoked. Little unconscious gestures that reveal the cards in their hands. We catch everything. If a fish acts strong, he's bluffing. If he acts meek, he's got a hand. It's that simple. -Mike McDermott in the movie Rounders.

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. But I don't have that kind of time. I've only got till morning. -Mike McDermott in the movie Rounders.

Rounders Video!

The famous Oreo cookie scene, featuring the above quote.

You Should Also Know...

While you obviously can't pick up on physical tells while playing online, that doesn't mean that there aren't tells to be found. The main type of online tell is the timing tell, meaning that you may be able to get some information about an opponent's hand based on how long it take him to act. For example, a long pause followed by a raise typically means the person has a strong hand and they were just making it look like they were thinking about it. Of course, long pauses could also mean someone is multi-tabling or has a bad connection, so don't read into anything too soon.

Recommended Reading

Mike Caro's Book of Tells by Mike Caro. This is one of the all-time classic poker books.