Mike Caro's Book of Poker Tells

poker tellsFirst, a definition is in order. A poker tell is any noticeable change in a poker player' behavior that can provide his opponents with clues regarding that player' assessment of the hand he is holding. It can either be body movements or facial expressions or changes in voice when a poker game is conducted around a gaming table; or as in the case of online poker, poker tells involve betting patterns and speed of play.

Poker tells can be used to a poker player' advantage. When one closely observes and understands the motivations and behavior of an opponent early in the game and uses this knowledge to assess later behavior, he can correctly predict what the other player wants him to do. Disappointing your opponent will then be easier for you. This is exactly what Mike Caro' Book of Tells wants its readers to do-disappoint your enemies.

The Mad Genius of Poker, Mike Caro is considered an expert in reading and interpreting poker tells. This poker psychologist once boasted that a conscientious poker player can triple his winnings once he has mastered the science of tells. This is true in some respects since humans do betray emotion in both the conscious and subconscious levels. However, factors such as the reliability of the poker tell (whether the opponent poker player is acting or not) and the correct assessment of the cards by the opponent poker player significantly affect appropriate reading of and reaction to the poker tell. Thus, a poker tell is a guidepost, not a guarantee.

That being said, Mike Caro' Book of Tells is an enlightening read on how to correctly assess poker tells in almost all situations. The emphasis is on almost all?since the breadth and width of human behavior is virtually infinite, especially when it comes to stressful situations. Despite this limitation, this book is a great way to enhance your poker strategies and to pick up poker tips on poker psychology.

Mike Caro' Book of Tells is basically divided into two parts: the acting tells and the natural tells. The acting poker tells are exhibited on purpose to distract opponents or to encourage opponents to act in a certain way, all to the advantage of the acting poker player. On the other hand, natural poker tells are subconscious and unconscious tells, which are usually the mistakes of novice poker players. The book outlines situations where either poker tells are present and how best to interpret them and to act accordingly.

What I like most about the Mike Caro' Book of Tells is the use of poker charts. One can get tired of reading all those poker strategies written in an verbose style, no matter how entertaining when told by Amarillo Slim or how enlightening when discussed by David Sklansky. According to the Mad Genius himself, the MCU Poker Charts was devised because of the obvious need for a comprehensive and complete means of illustrating poker hands both in print and over the Internet. Enough said.

And like David Sklansky' book for advanced holdem, Mike Caro' Book of Tells is written in plain English. There are no long-winded explanations and there are no complicated words to explain equally complicated poker concepts. Regardless if the author is a mad genius, his work is just pure genius.

Mike Caro' Book of Tells is especially useful for its poker tips on the how and when to act on a poker tell. You can learn to observe and understand poker tells but deciding on how and when to act on them is another matter altogether.

In chapter 4, Mike Caro writes that poker players need to watch and listen and determine what the other players are doing, before acting on their poker tells. In fact, he advises to watch and wait first before finally deciding on an appropriate course of action. This is a good advice since I do not want to act impulsively on a poker tell that might be unreliable.

Also, Mike Caro' Book of Tells helped me to become more aware of my actions while playing and thereby reducing the intensity and number of poker tells I have been unconsciously sending before. It has certainly improved my poker play.

Now if only the rest of the poker community have not read Mike Caro' Book of Tells. But that is undoubtedly wishing for the impossible.