By Nicolas Fradet
TwoPlusTwo Magazine Author
Founder of Deception Academy
Human Lie Detector
Poker is war.
The best training you have, the more likely you are to survive and win the battle.
I remember the hand like it was yesterday…
We were on day 2 of a No-Limit Hold’em Event at the Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza in Las Vegas and there were about 30 players left.
A 26 year old player, named Josh, opened with a raise UTG+1 and it was folded around to me, in the cut-off.
I looked down and saw KhJh.
One could argue that with a hand like this, either folding, flat-calling or three-betting are options.
Considering the raiser was pretty aggressive, even in early position, our history together and that the blinds were capable of just about anything, I decided to flat call his raise.
Everyone else folded.
The flop came Jc9c3d. Josh bet out 2/3 of the pot and I called.
The turn was the 8h.
Josh bet half the pot and considering everything, I called again.
Josh had about ¾ the pot left in his stack.
The river was the 5c… And Josh pushed.
Tough call? Easy fold?
It depends right?
I can tell you straight up that my decision in this hand was the biggest factor in my tournament. In fact, this key hand allowed me to get to the final table, and finally win the tournament.
But more on that later…
Because my assessment in this hand was based on a decision I took 3 years before. So let me first tell you how I came to write this page today.
When I started playing 15 years ago, poker was still an underground game.
Sure I’d play in some casinos at Foxwoods or Atlantic City, or when I travelled to Las Vegas to play in the WSOP, but most of my playing time was done in low-lit basement games or at “invitation-only” private clubs.
The games were good (very good in fact), full of fish that had no clue how to play the game. Around 2003, as you probably know, poker exploded to the public scene with the World Poker Tour on television and Chris Moneymaker’s historical win.
So much has changed since then.
To say that the games are much tougher now is an understatement.
They are 100x tougher.
Just about every player has read dozens of books, watched online pros dissect their play and have played hundreds of thousands of hands, if not more.
On top of that, there are hundreds of training sites, discussion forums and software that can analyze your play and find your leaks in a matter of minutes.
Unless you are dedicated to working on your game for hours every day, it’s very difficult to stay ahead of the pack.
So 5 years ago, when I had a kid and I couldn’t work on my game as much as I wanted to, I started to look for ways to stay ahead of the competition. I wanted to find an area of poker strategy that was still untapped.
I loved playing live, and one aspect of live play that I did not fully understand and that I thought most players did not fully get was poker tells.
Even though I started playing poker on the Internet, that didn’t stop me from having success in live games.
I knew the odds, played position well, adjusted to my opponents, read betting patterns effectively and knew when to apply pressure and bluff profitably. So I didn’t need tells to win.
Plus every week it seemed a “green live” internet pro won a major tournament, like when Annette Obrestad took down the WSOP Europe for example.
I was asking myself if tells really as valuable as the big shot pros want us to think.
That’s what I thought when I started out.
I felt what I knew about poker tells seemed somewhat esoteric, that people move around all the time, and that if I was able to bet with a shaking hand to appear like a nervous player, or sigh at will to “prove” I was acting, anyone could do it.
I’d play a hand. The guy would twitch nervously, bet with extra emphasis and then stare me in the eye. What the heck is all of this?
I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT TO THINK!
I had read all the books.
The bad ones like “Poker tells for dummies”, the “Ultimate Guide to Poker Tells” and other atrocious ones like Howard Lederer “Tells” All and Phil Hellmuth’s Million $ Secrets To Bluffing & Tells.
I also read the “good” ones like Mike Caro’s Book of Poker Tells and Joe Navarro’s Read ‘Em and Reap: A Career FBI Agent’s Guide to Decoding Poker Tells.
Mike Caro’s book is a classic, but it is severely outdated.
The tells in this book were awesome in the 1980s and 1990s, but with the profound education of poker players these days, many of the tips in the book are rarely, if ever, seen at the table.
I mean, when are you ever making a decision in a pot because the player has stacked his chips neatly? Right?
Joe Navarro’s book is a well written book by a very credible author, but the main critic everyone seems to have with it that a lot of content in that book is very general and is more applied to general life situations. Although I believe this book has great gems in it, I’ll admit that catching a tell by focusing on foot movement can be quite an endeavor at the table.
But I really wanted to get better at this stuff.
There had to be a better way.
I went to seek advice from people that dedicate their lives to catching cheats, spotting liars and busting criminals. After all, bluffing is like lying but with chips. So there had to be a correlation between interrogating a suspect and catching a bluff. (There is, and I will discuss this in a moment.)
So I started to study human behavior from world-class psychologists like Dr. Paul Ekman (the technical advisor behind the TV show Lie to me), Dr. David Matsumoto (a Professor of Psychology at San Francisco State University and a consultant for the US Department of Defense) and other renowned experts.
I studied lie detection techniques from the U.S. Marshals, the CIA and the FBI.
And I trained myself to spotting micro facial expressions using specialized software that emulate emotions in 1/25th of a second.
I did this for 3 years.
Yep, 3 whole years.
Reading books, watching video training, using software, and also speaking with world-class psychologists and law enforcement professionals.
Eventually, I became the 14th person on the planet to get a Certificate of Expert and Master of Facial Micro-Expressions by the prestigious Humintell Institute. I also published a best-selling poker book and contributed to the Two Plus Two Monthly Magazine.
[The study of body language is a pretty confusing when you think about it. People move all the time, they twitch and make thousands of facial expressions every day.
How the heck are we supposed to figure all of it out?
Well, it took me 3 years, but now I get it.
Studies are published every month on human behavior, and there is now scientific proof that certain gestures or facial expression have a unique meaning in the right situation.
It turns out that human beings are predictable.
And poker is one of the best arena for tells to leak out. Why? Because 2 conditions have to be in place to maximize leakage: stress and high stakes. Poker has both of these.
And big time.
And no matter how hard we all try to keep a poker face. The scientific fact is that it’s just not possible.
We all have leaks.
I’m not saying this to be arrogant.
It’s just how we are all geared as human beings.
It’s impossible to be tells free. I’ve checked :-).
In fact, I’ve picked up a tell on EVERY SINGLE KNOWN PRO out there.
Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, Doyle Brunson.
Even the new generation like Vanessa Selbst, Jason Mercier, Jonathan Duhamel and Tom Dwan.
Name it. I can tell you all of their tells.
And if they have tells, wanna bet you have one too?
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have a thick wall protecting you from your opponents.
Next time you are all-in with a monster, or are running a huge bluff, ask yourself if you are leaking anything away.
Don’t you dare breath.
Don’t look anywhere.
Don’t move an inch.
If you do, you are certainly something away.
Fortunately, there is scientific proof that can help us all.
A recent study published in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin called “Evaluating Truthfulness and Detecting Deception” pinpointed 2 areas of one’s body that leak out clues that give a liar away.
As poker players, we seek liars every hand we play in. People try to fool us when they are bluffing, and they try to keep their cool when they have a monster. We are getting lied to every time we enter a pot. These 2 clues are key to elite poker players.
HOW SUBTLE BODY SHIFTS CAN BETRAY BLUFFERS
“Body language” is the study of body movements and subtle shifts. Like the hands, arms, torso and the head. Since these are the most visible at the table, as a poker player you must understand what subtle movements can mean. Here’s what was published in the FBI Bulletin:
[…] liars produced significantly more nonverbal behaviors inconsistent with the context or content of their words than truth tellers. Conversely, the nonverbal behaviors of truth tellers remained much more consistent […].
At the table, this means that players will often display behaviors to the opposite of how they really feel, meaning for example that they will show stress and fear after placing a big bet when they are bluffing.
WHY PLAYERS WHO DON’T WEAR SUNGLASSES MAKE A HUGE MISTAKE
Research has shown time and time again that the face is the most genuine part of our bodies. The face simply doesn’t lie.
Forget about putting on a poker face. That simply does not exist.
From the FBI Bulletin:
Facial expressions of emotion, including macro-, micro-, and subtle expressions, are universal and independent of race, culture, ethnicity, nationality, gender, age, religion, or any other demographic variable. All people express emotions on their faces in exactly the same ways. Moreover, they are immediate, automatic, and unconscious reactions.
These are incredible characteristics of facial expressions because learning to read them means that someone can the upper hand on almost any player. And most-importantly, these tells are unconscious and automatic, which means that your opponents can not mask them.
As poker players, we seek liars every hand we play in. People try to fool us when they are strong, and they try to keep their cool when they have nothing. We are getting lied to every time we enter a pot. These lying gestures and facial clues should be part of the toolset of any elite poker player.
The river was the 5c… And Josh pushed.
5 years ago, I would have folded.
Holding on KhJh on a Jc9c3d8h5c board against an all-in push, it’s a pretty easy fold.
But I didn’t fold.
You see, as I was debating just for a moment what to do and simply taking my time before throwing my cards in the muck, I reached for my chips.
And that’s when it happened…
Josh’s face betrayed him completely.
It was a subtle muscle contraction on the left side of his face. Hardly noticeable if I had blinked for too long.
Josh flashed a microexpression of contempt.
As you’ve seen in the FBI report above, microexpressions are immediate, automatic, and unconscious reactions. They come and go in our faces, without us even knowing it. And contempt, is one of the worst negative emotion you can have.
When you see such an expression in your opponent’s face, you know they don’t like the action. Something is not sitting well with them. And these are very, very hard to fake convincingly. When one tries to fake these, he looks stupid. It’s almost impossible to sell.
So when I reached for my chips and he showed contempt, I figured he wasn’t not a happy camper. Was he bluffing?
In a vacuum, this is usually a pretty reliable tell.
But Josh also started to wring his hands. Which I had also learned is a sign of stress.
So when you look at his reaction once I go for my chips: a negative feeling coupled with a higher level of stress, it becomes a huge possibility that he’s bluffing here.
So I went with my read and made the tough call.
Josh flipped Ts8s, and I took down a massive pot.
This single hand, or I should say this single river call propelled me to one of the chip leaders of the tournament and help me cruise to the final table.
I went to sleep that night ready for the next’s day’s final table, pumped and confident as hell.
The next day, I took it down. The whole enchilada.
It’s funny when you think about it.
Had I not studied tells to the extent that I did in the years before, who knows where I would have finished in the tournament.
So did I make a hero call here?
Could I have been wrong?
If I had been I would have told you about one of the thousands of hands I’ve played since and where I was right. I pick up tells like this EVERY TIME I PLAY POKER.
There is a HUGE misconception in the poker world about the accuracy of physical tells. Many players dismiss tells because a player can show a tell and be strong, while another player with the same tell will be weak.
That’s true of many tells.
It’s the same as the fact that an UTG raise does not always mean a big hand. It depends.
How about a C-bet on the flop? It depends.
But does that stop you from studying your opponents’ betting patterns?
Of course not.
Well the same goes for poker tells.
One single twitch or facial expression can mean lots of things.
In my hand at The Venetian, that single contempt tell, in a vacuum, is almost meaningless. But there was more to the story. It told a story for Josh, that day, in that moment. And it made my day.
These 3 years of studying finally paid off, big time.
Since winning that tournament in Las Vegas, friends and fellow players have come to me asking me to help them out with reading poker tells.
I’d told the story of my win, and especially that key hand, and they say: “Geez Nic you HAVE to teach me these tells.”
So ever since that day, I’ve helped players with my articles in Two Plus Two Magazine, my blog posts on this site and interviews on various poker radio shows.
By helping these players, I started to notice some patterns.
I noticed that certain questions were being asked over and over again, and that some specific, very reliable poker tells were simply not understood properly, or were simply never seen in print.
I really didn’t feel like setting up a complete teaching system, but my friends kept bugging me to put some sort of book so I can pass my skills to other poker players.
But, a book is really not the best way to teach poker tells. It’s static, easy to misunderstand and can lead to confusion at the table.
So I decided to put together my thoughts in a video series.
And I have this video course for you today…
Get Instant Access a total of 5 hours fully-packed with No B.S. stuff so you get right to the meat of things and start decoding body and facial tells in your next session.
After going through the video course, you’ll be able to easily know if your opponents are strong or weak, just by watching them and observing the way they behave.
I don’t hold back and share with you every golden nugget of information I’ve gleaned over the years when it comes to sniffing out poker “lies”, quickly, easily and discreetly.
Inside this explosive course, you’ll discover:
In fact, here’s what some of my students told me…
Look, I’m not saying can win every hand, every tournament, and every cash game. No. Poker is A LOT more complex than just reading people.
But what I am saying is that you can see DRASTIC CHANGES to your results if you can read your opponents and win say, 2-3 extra pots every session you play in.
What would 2-3 extra pots per tournament do to you in the long run? A hand folded that would have busted you, a pot stolen that you would have lost. These things add up. And big time.
It’s all about small edges, small things that give you the upper hand. My poker tells course will do this for you.
And even if many of my students have told me bluntly that my course earns them 5-10 pots every session they play in.
I will guarantee you this:
This isn’t a quick rich scheme based on some crappy advice that one player out of a Million will turn into profit.
These are real, concrete and reliable physical tells that you can use against your opponents every time you play poker. It’s:
You know, there’s nothing I’d like better than to put this video course into the hands of every poker player out there that suspects he could be better at reading his opponents.
I’ve spent countless hours recording all of my advice and strategies on catching bluffers… and I’ve invested thousands of dollars into this project, because I only want to arm you with ‘field-tested’ secrets that actually work.
So with just a few simple clicks of your mouse, you can instantly watch all the videos in Tells Kitchen on your computer for just
I have to warn you though…
The techniques contained in this course are so effective, they’re regularly used by top secret organizations like the CIA, the U.S. Marshals and the FBI to successfully interrogate and nab even the most hardcore of criminals.
Needless to say, the information shared in Tells Kitchen is very powerful stuff. This is the same information I get paid $1500 for a 90 minutes presentation by some of my clients. I could easily sell this course for $197. Even more. Heck, I’ve sold this course for more than $300 in the past.
Due to this reason, the price of this course will be going up to $127 after 200 copies are downloaded, and then to $197 after 500. This $67 is simply my “WSOP special”. You need to act now to secure this exclusive pricing.
So if you want to grab a copy of Tells Kitchen at the lowest possible price, I highly recommend placing your order right away.
What’s more, to prove to you that my program really works, I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is by publicly stating…
It’s time to make an important decision.
You’ve got 3 Options…
Ignore this message and click off the page
But you’ll continue to worry about your opponent’s gestures and facial twitches. Worse, you’ll still be stuck in the ‘What If’ situation – what if he’s bluffing? What if he’s holding the nuts? What if my read is totally off? Or am I’m just being paranoid?
Learn this stuff the hard way
It took me 3 dedicated years to get it. Plus, be prepared to shell out between $300-500. Some books or software don’t come cheap and by the time this info turns into profit, it might be months and even years. My course will get help you read your opponents in the very first session after you watch it.
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The best part is you can do this discreetly and without your opponent’s knowledge.
And because you’re smart, I know what decision you’ll be making.
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Q: Do these tells really work? How come I’ve never heard of this? It sounds too good to be true!
A: Yes it’s true. Human behavior is often predictable and when we are put in situations where are are stressed or unconfortable (like when we bluff), we react in universal ways (we all do). Some of us are better at hiding this than others, but there are almost always very subtle clues that give everything away (like facial micro-expressions). The reason that you might not have heard about tells like these before is that most books on tells suck. And the fact is that books can’t give you the same amount of information you will get in this course. You WILL get it from seeing real people in real situations (just like in the videos of the course).
Q: Are you saying that if I master poker tells I will be able to win all the time?
A: Well…no. Poker is a lot more complex than that. You need to understand odds, psychology, hand ranges, position, meta play and all that stuff. Being able to read your opponents is just another tool in your arsenal. Bet here’s the thing. Most of not all the players you will encounter at the table do not understand poker tells like you will after this course. It’s that simple. So by getting your hands on my course, you are totally giving yourself an edge you did not have before, and that almost no one has.
Q: I play high-limits, where players have studied the game pretty well, can I spot tells in games like these?
A: Oh HECK YES! How about high-stakes players like Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, John juanda, Doyle Brunson, and oh… Phil Ivey? (they have tells, and I’m going to show them to you). Oh and if these guys have tells, I’m willing to bet the players in your game have plenty!
Q: I’ve read a few books on tells but I never seem to be certain if my read is right. Can you help me with this?
A: Like I said above most books on tells, even “famous” ones, suck. Many have false information, and most include tells that are almost never accurate (like looking at the clothing of a player – ridiculous). The tells I am going to show are scientific – and easy to catch – ONCE YOU KNOW WHAT THEY MEAN. And once you understand the reason why players display them, you can spot hundreds of them. You WILL be confident on your read.
Q: When I play and try to catch tells, it seems that I’m always confused – there is a lot to register and observe, and I don’t know where the tells are.
A: I know, I’ve been there. It can be really frustrating. But here’s the best part, once you know what you are doing, IT’S REAL EASY! The tells are there, right in front of you. It’s just a matter of sorting everything out and knowing what gesture or facial expression is genuine and valuable. And this is EXACTLY what I am going to show you in this course.
Q: I’ve been playing for years and I don’t think I have any tells, what do you think?
A: Not to burst your bubble but I have to be blunt: you have tells. In fact, I have YET TO COME ACCROSS A PLAYER THAT DOES NOT HAVE A TELL. The thing is that most tells I will show you are totally unconscious. So while we may think we don’t give anything away, the truth is that we do. That being said, there are techniques you can use to hide them better, and I have a specific video dedicated to this. I will also show you some players that are good at hiding their tells, and why, so you can become like a total ninja, and hide everything at the table.
Q: How can I reach out to you when I need to?
A: You could simply email me at www.nicolasfradet.com and expect a fast reply within the day. As I don’t plan on taking a whole lot of students, I will be able to take care of all your questions and concerns while providing the best support in all areas.
Q: Can this work for me even though I have a day job and only play occasionally?
A: Certainly! If you are an amateur or a pro, catching tells should be part of your arsenal. And if it’s not, you are leaving money on the table.
Q: How long will it take for me to get the videos?
A: Within minutes! Once you have completed the payment process, you will be given a login and password and be directed to the member’s area. You can then watch all the videos. The process is so easy that a child can do it. If you do run into any problems, please do not hesitate to contact me for support.
*** 2015 ***