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. 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 are deconstructed, offering the reader a clear understanding of how to interpret the actions of their opponents on the table. It also provides the reader with a forewarning to ensure they do not give away information through their body language.

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Caro’s Poker Tells: Outline

The book's broad outline is divided into three sections: tells from those 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 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 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 how they bet. For instance, if the player wishes to call, they will do everything they can 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 has a strong hand.

The book explains Caro’s Great Law, i.e. Poker players are either acting or aren't - if they are, judge what they want you to do and do the opposite. He illustrates this with many examples and shows how to counter this smartly and discreetly. He goes into great detail to explain each tells, how it can be identified, and how one must respond to once they identify the tell. Some of the tells discussed are - covering the mouth betrays a bluff, a person who carefully arranges their chips is usually a tight player and stealing a look at one's chips indicates an improvement in one’s hand, resulting in the player betting or raising.

Caro’s Poker Tells: Things to know

The main point 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 another and differentiating break-even players from players who win consistently. With a careful understanding of the book's contents, one can fit their opponents' mannerisms into universal categories of tells. After considerable practice in reading body language, one will know exactly what their opponent holds and, better still, why they’re acting the way they are.

The book indicates all those measures the player might resort to mask their 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 their behaviour, not knowing you are aware. You may be able to profit from the same tell again. Another tip the author provides is that a player must sit (or position themself) behind the mone when in doubt.

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 they are hoping to accomplish. Most of the time, arriving at the answer instantaneously will be easy. Some of the more adept players can arrive at the strength of their hands just by their opponents' sounds.

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 useful 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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