Hey there, Steve here and welcome to this week’s private eye post, which this week is something a little different.
A few days ago, I met a poker professional through a friend of a friend. Anyways, we got to talking about body language. I explained how we use it in our investigations work, and he showed me some things he uses at the poker table to confirm his suspicions on whether someone is bluffing.
Turns out, bluffing and cheating have a lot in common. What the liar (or bluffer) is doing is misrepresenting the truth. This causes certain behaviours to come to the surface in exactly the same ways you’d expect. In poker, these are called “poker tells.”
So, in today’s post here are 4 of the most common poker tells that could just as easily be called “cheating tells.”
Disclaimer: This information is for general educational purposes only and may not apply to all situations — everyone is unique after all. For help with an individual situation, please contact us or use the live chat feature [when available] on this page—the first call is free, and we may just be able to put your mind at rest!
#1 Fancy Feet
Have you ever noticed how some people bounce their feet up and down when they’re sitting. Well, at the poker table when someone does this it means that they have some tension to release. Some players do this when they have a good hand, some do it when they have a bad hand and are bluffing. The key thing to watch for is the change. So, if your man naturally bounces his feet, but you notice him stop when he’s telling you something you suspect is a lie, it might be because he’s lying. And vice versa.
#2 Staring At You (Or Not!)
One of the classic poker tells is a player makes a bluff, and then stares at their opponent in the hand. Rigid eye contact. About 80% of players do this without even realising it. The other 20% do the exact opposite. It’s not always as clear cut as this. It might be increased (or decreased eye contact) compared to their baseline. But it’s a reliable poker tell amongst amateur players.
#3 Caressing Gestures
When people bluff they often “soothe” themselves by stroking a part of their body. Most commonly it’s their nose, chin, or other part of their face, but sometimes it’s their leg or arm. This is such a reliable tell, that even the FBI use it as part of their analysis when reviewing their interview footage.
#4 Clamping of Mouth
Think about when children lie. They often put their hand over their mouth as soon as they’ve told a porkie. The adult version of this is clamping of the mouth. It presents as straight lips held with some tension. Again, this is a reliable poker tell, and is also a classic cheating tell.
The important thing to take into consideration with all tells, is the baseline when a person is comfortable. Look for the subtle changes in their behaviour, and before you know it you’ll be reading people like an open book. One poker player in the USA has taken this to another level, and he’s the renowned expert in his field. His name is Zachary Elwood, and he goes so deep into his field of expertise, he’s created a podcast on “People who read people”, where he interviews other experts in many different fields titled. You can listen to these interviews here.
Follow us on Facebook for more information on cheating tells and reading the signs of lying, as well as how to get help if you think you need to.
Until next week,