About The Book: Caro’s Book Of Poker Tells By Mike Caro
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Credited as a pioneer poker theorist, Mike A. Caro, is best known for his famous poker tell “Weak means strong and strong means weak”. As early as 1984, Caro demonstrated Orac, a poker-playing computer program that he had written in the World Series of poker and had stunned professionals worldwide. The book, Caro’s Book of Poker Tells, reveals the secrets of interpreting tells - physical reactions that reveal information about a player’s cards - such as non-committal shrugs, deep sighs, shaky hands, etc. The best part of this book is that it contains nearly two hundred pictures of players in action and their mannerisms or behaviour is deconstructed offering the reader a clear understanding of how to interpret the actions of their opponents on the table. It also provides the reader a forewarning to ensure that he or she does not give away information through his or her body language.
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The broad outline of the book is that it is divided into three sections, namely tells from those who are unaware that they are giving out tells, tells from actors whose tells are meant to mislead and a set of general tells. For the latter group of tells involving seasoned players (actors in this case), a tell denoting a weak hand generally means that they have a strong hand, and tells denoting strength actually denote weakness. The trick is to distinguish the actors from the unaware.
This book contains twenty five main tells, with a chapter on each tell, the variations associated with it and how best to exploit it. The author offers a reliability scale for each tell – the scale indicates the effectiveness of each tell against beginners, intermediates and experts. It might be interesting to note that both beginners and experts are equally vulnerable to some tells.
The author explains that one can determine the strength of a player's cards just by watching the way he or she bets. For instance, if the player wishes to call, then he or she will do all within his or her power to remain low key and not frighten you. As a general rule of thumb, it is useful to remember that an opponent who is dynamic and exaggerated holds a weak hand and a smooth player is in possession of a strong hand.
The book explains Caro’s Great Law i.e. Poker players are either acting or they aren't - if they are, judge what they want you to do and do the opposite. He illustrates this with a lot of examples and shows how one should counter this smartly and discreetly. He goes in great detail to explain each tell, how it can be identified and what must one’s response be once he or she identifies the tell. Some of the tells discussed are - covering the mouth betrays a bluff, a person who carefully arranges his or her chips is usually a tight player and stealing a look at one's own chips indicates an improvement in one’s hand resulting in the player betting or raising.
The main point that the author is trying to drive home is that when two players are equally situated in terms of experience and skill, psychology becomes the key ingredient in separating one from and another and also for differentiating break-even players from players who win consistently. With a careful understanding of the contents of the book, one will be able to fit the mannerisms of their opponents into universal categories of tells. One will, after considerable practice in reading body language, know exactly what their opponent holds and, better still know why they’re acting the way they are.
The book is indicative of all those measures that the player might resort to, to mask his or her own giveaways. For example, the author states that when one spots a tell, one should not act on it instantly, and must wait for some time before reacting. That way, your opponent will be less likely to adjust his or her behavior, not knowing that you are aware. You may be able to profit from the same tell again. Another tip that the author provides is a player, when in doubt, must sit (or position himself or herself) behind the money.
The book states that one must work the assumption that one’s opponents are always trying to outsmart you, and if you’re confident that your opponent is acting, then remember to ask yourself what he or she is hoping to accomplish. Most of the time, it will be easy to arrive at the answer instantaneously. Some of the more adept players can arrive at the strength of their hands just by the sounds that their opponents make.
Some of the tells might seem outdated or irrelevant in online games and the danger of a double tell always lingers, but this book is of great use to poker players even today. Caro’s Book of Poker Tells is one of the ten greatest books written on poker, this must-have book should be in every poker player's library. What are you waiting for? Get a copy for yourself right away!
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