Poker Tournament Strategies: Reading Body Language

The Need for Poker Strategies

Strategy is key to any successful endeavor, be it a game or a business venture. The same is true about the utilization of strategy for online poker games as well as for offline games. While you can ride the element of luck while playing, luck can take you only so much ahead. There will come a time when you feel the need for organized and strategic play.

There are currently several poker tournament strategies coming from seasoned players of the game. Their strategies are usually a combination of different tactics learned from other professionals of the game or from their own personal experiences at the gaming table.

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Poker, whether played online or offline, is always a game that requires you to use your wit, and that is a very important point to keep in mind when playing. Whether you are playing Texas Hold'em, 7 Card Stud, Omaha, or 5 Card Draw you have to think fast until the end of the tournament. Sharpness and a razor sharp sense of intuition is key becoming a good poker player. You have to be ready before the poker dealer tells you it's your turn to act.

Especially when you are playing in a tournament, you will find all the players are usually professionals, many with vast experience and some with even championship match expectations. What this translates to basically is stiff stiff competition and covert as well as overt strategies. If you can read their body language or the poker “tell,” you have more ammunition up your alley to beat these hardened professionals at their own game.

Why Reading Body Language is Important

Watching the body language of other players is one of those effective poker tournament strategies one should employ when gunning for the pot. With an eye for some telling movements, you can always detect if a player has a good or poor hand.

Human behavior sends out signals to signify different emotions or a person's state of mind. Being able to read poker body language gives you a definitive advantage over the other players at the table. If you have played with the same poker players before, you already have an idea of their weaknesses and their strengths. Even with new players, being able to read body language is a huge help as it enables you to take a fair guess about the kind of hand each of them has.

The Tells

When playing traditional poker, or even online poker, always watch out for the telltale signs that rival players exhibit. Based on the 'tells', you can characterize the different kinds of poker players and keep an eye out for them when you are playing.

Look out for the player who calls out a lot but does not raise the stake or fold. Such a player is called the calling station, and is generally passive by nature. You will love these guys, especially if you are the kind that loves to play high stakes.

Another player you should keep an eye out for is the crutch. The crutch might limp throughout the first round; an act intended to fool the other players. This player is not excitable and it is hard to guess what kind of hand he has. For all you know, he might be actually holding a royal flush!

The bully may intimidate you if he is calling the shots. There are chances the bully is bluffing his way through the poker game. However, do not call a semi-bluff when the bully is feeling high, or you will just lose your stack if your opponents make a raise.

Also make it a point to watch out for leaks. When a player is taking her pairs too far then she is risking her chances. Another character you should watch out for is the advertiser. He frequently calls in hoping you'll all fold. Yet another character is the stack watcher. This is the player who keeps eyeing the stacks on the table to gauge his chances or position.

If you have played with the others before, you would already have an idea of their poker body language. If you been in the poker circuit for a time, you would also probably have developed your own “tell”, which you must vary now and then to avoid being caught, categorized, and labeled.