Texas Holdem Tells Quiz

Texas Holdem Tells Quiz

Tells in Texas holdem are something that all winning players are aware of, but you don't have to look for them to be a winning player. Many winning players simply avoid trying to read tells because some of them are real and some are fake or unreliable.

In fact, trying to use tells can end up costing more than it gains. This is the main reason we don't recommend beginning players try to use them. But you should know what some of the most common tells are so you can avoid giving them in your own play.

We've put together the following Texas holdem tells quiz to help you learn more about tells, and as you read the answers you'll also learn about playing patterns. Playing patterns are more reliable and ultimately more profitable than most tells.

The quiz questions are all listed together in the first section and the answers are in the second section. Make sure to read all the way through the answers because they not only include the solutions to the quiz questions, but they also are designed to help you learn more, including how the answers are derived. This helps you learn to come up with the best plays in other situations than just the ones listed here.

Quiz Questions

Quiz Question 1

The difference between tells and playing patterns is?

  • They're the same thing
  • Tells are involuntary and playing patterns are voluntary
  • Winning players try to recognize and use both
  • Playing patterns are facts and tells can be faked
Quiz Question 2

Your opponent's hands are visibly shaking while they make a raise. You know they're inexperienced. What does this tell you?

  • Nothing
  • They're probably bluffing
  • They probably have a monster hand
  • They have a medical problem that makes their hands shake
Quiz Question 3

Your opponent's hands are visibly shaking while they make a raise. You know they're an experienced and winning Texas holdem player. What does this tell you?

  • Nothing
  • They're probably bluffing
  • They probably have a monster hand
  • They have a medical problem that makes their hands shake
Quiz Question 4

One of the best holdem players you know appears to have a tell when they're bluffing at a big pot. The tell doesn't seem to be present in smaller pots or situations and it's fairly subtle when you see it. Not only are they a good player, but they also are aware that you're a good player. You're in a big pot with them and have missed your draw, but have a pair. They've just fired a slightly larger than normal sized bet on the river and you see the possible tell. You can only beat a bluff. What do you do?

  • Raise
  • Call
  • Fold
  • Determine your pot odds and expectation and ignore the possible tell
Quiz Question 5

You're in the exact same situation as in quiz question 4 except your opponent isn't very good and as far as you can tell doesn't know or care anything about you. What do you do?

  • Raise
  • Call
  • Fold
  • Determine your pot odds and expectation and ignore the possible tell
Quiz Question 6

What's the most important way to avoid giving tells to your opponents?

  • Practicing your play in front of a mirror
  • Working with a select few other holdem players to help each of you spot tells and avoid them
  • Try to take the same amount of time to act in every situation
  • Mentally plan for every possibility in each hand so you're prepared for any situation
Quiz Question 7

You've played Texas holdem against your opponent many times and have learned they play in the classical way of acting the opposite of what they have. They've just forcibly fired a raise into the pot and are glaring at you acting as if they dare you to call. What does their play indicate?

  • They have a strong hand
  • They have a weak hand and are probably bluffing
  • Nothing
Quiz Question 8

You're playing in a no limit Texas holdem hand against a good player who's been leading the betting throughout the hand making normal sized bets for someone with a strong hand. You miss your draw but have second pair after the river. Instead of making another normal sized bet your opponent makes a small bet. What does this indicate?

  • They missed a draw too and are trying to buy the pot for as cheap as possible
  • They have a monster hand and are begging for a call
  • It doesn't matter what it means, the pot odds are so good you have to call
Quiz Question 9

You're facing an all in move from an opponent on the river and you have a good hand but it's possible your opponent has a better hand. As you're considering whether or not to call they tell you they'll show you one of their two cards if you fold. What does this likely mean?

  • It depends on the player
  • Their hand is so strong that that they're trying to convince you to call
  • They missed a draw but can show you a card to make you think they had a winning hand
  • Ignore all table talk and make your decision based on how the hand has played out, pot odds, and expectation.
Quiz Question 10

When making bets in a Texas holdem game which way of playing is best?

  • Act strong when you're strong and weak when you're weak
  • Act strong when you're weak and weak when you're strong
  • Switch it up so you act weak when weak half the time and act strong when weak half the time, etc.
  • Try to act the exact same way in every situation

Quiz Answers

Quiz Answer 1

Tells are things that players do to give away the strength of their hand or what they're trying to do. Examples of tells include shaking hands, excessive blinking, eye movements, reaching toward chips involuntarily, talking, sweating, or many other things.

Playing tendencies are ways players play certain hands and situations. Most Texas holdem players tend to play the same situations the same way most of the time. When you learn how an opponent acts in certain situations it can help you make better playing decisions when you face them in a hand.


You often play against Bob, and you know he's a decent player that tends to play good starting hands and plays a straight forward game. But you also know that when he's drawing to a flush he always checks and calls until he hits his hand, and then he starts betting and raising. You've never seen him play it in a different manner.

This may seem like a normal way to play, but don't ignore how this can help you. The key is he always plays the same way when drawing to a flush. This means you can safely build the pot when you're leading the hand and can help you fold more often when he hits his flush.

You won't always know with 100% certainty when he's drawing to a flush, but in many situations it's fairly clear.

Getting back to the quiz answers, it's not safe to say that tells are involuntary. True tells are involuntary but many players give false tells. If you think you've recognized a tell but the player is setting you up it can cost you a great deal of money in a large pot.

Playing tendencies and tells aren't the same thing and winning players try to recognize and use both.

But the best answer is playing patterns are facts and tells can be faked.
Quiz Answer 2

Many holdem players make the mistake of thinking shaking hands mean a player is bluffing.

While this may be true for a small number of players, it's more likely that shaking hands means a player has a monster hand.

If you see a player's hands shaking, especially an inexperienced player, take a look at the board at hand and see what the best possible hand is. Many times your opponent has this hand or the second best hand.

When this happens you need to either have a draw to a better hand and the correct pot odds to draw to it or start looking for a quick exit from the situation.

Of course as you learn more about your individual opponents you can adjust this on a case by case basis, but if you don't have evidence to the contrary, assume shaking hands means a big hand.

Many older holdem players have hand tremors, but they're usually present all of the time. So you need to be paying attention all of the time to know which players have naturally shaky hands and which ones don't. But don't assume an older player is always shaking unless you witness it on a regular basis.

Older players tend to be crafty and may be messing with you.

Quiz Answer 3

The safest way to play against an experienced player is to ignore things like shaking hands. While it may be a tell, it's just as likely to be a false tell.

Experienced players are capable of recognizing which players are paying attention and may be fooled by a false tell.

In order for a false tell to work an opponent has to be good enough to recognize a tell, but not good enough to figure out when a tell is real and when it's fake. The better the player giving the possible tell the higher the chance that you'll make a mistake trying to read it.

This is the main reason it's best to assume it means nothing and just ignore it.

Play the hand based on what you know and the pot odds or expectation of the situation. As you gain experience about the particular player you can start using some of the things you see them do, but be careful.

The best players are good long game players. This means they may present a tell for many small hands and then fool you in a big situation. A win in a $2,000 pot more than makes up for a loss in eight $100 pots.

Not only is it important to remember this about your better opponents, it's also something you can consider using if you find an opponent who's paying attention but may be susceptible to a long term fake tell.

Quiz Answer 4

In the situation described there's a good chance the tell is real, but you still have to make the best play depending on the pot odds. If you don't understand why please read the answer to question 3 again.

Humans try to recognize patterns and this is possibly a tell that is a pattern. But our brains often assign too much weight to possible patterns making them seem more real than they really are. What you see from this opponent may be a tell, or it may be a false tell, or it may be nothing.

In the long run you win by playing in positive expectation situations.

By ignoring the possible tell in this situation and concentrating on the pot odds you're going to make the best play more often than not.
Quiz Answer 5

In this case it's more likely to be a real tell than in the last question.

The answer is most of the time you should call.

But the call is based more on the way the hand played out and the pot odds. The possible tell is a small part of the decision, but not the main reason to call.

Your opponent isn't a very good player and by over betting in this situation it's likely they're bluffing. But you still need to determine if they're likely to bluff often enough to make a call profitable in the long run.

Using the thought process that they're bluffing some players may be tempted to raise. But a raise is a negative expectation play in this situation.

If they're bluffing and you raise they'll just fold. If they have a real hand you'll just lose more money by raising. So a raise can only cost you money, not make you more money. These are the areas where a good player never risks more money than they need to in a negative expectation situation.

Quiz Answer 6

By definition, a true tell is something that you don't know you have. As you progress in your Texas holdem career you start playing at higher levels as you get better.

At lower levels a tell usually isn't too costly because no one is paying enough attention to see them when you give them. But as you move up you find better players. They can often see tells and use them against you.

This means it becomes more important to recognize and eliminate any tells you may have. While it's important, it doesn't mean it's easy.

The most important way to start is by planning out the entire hand and all of the possibilities from the beginning so you aren't surprised.

But you also need to do things like try to be consistent in the way you play each hand, whether you have a big hand or a poor one.

If you can find a few good players to work with it can be a powerful way to improve, but by nature Texas holdem is a solitary game. This makes working with other players challenging at best.

Though it may take some advanced planning and quite a bit of time, one of the best way to see possible tells is record your live play and then watch the video closely to see possible tells. By seeing yourself on tape in high pressure situations you can often pick up on things you do differently than in other hands.

The other benefit is being able to watch the same situation over and over and watching in slow motion. Pay particular attention to your eyes. Where do you look? Do you blink more or less?

Though it's rare, a few players actually appear calmer in big situations than in normal ones. The goal is to appear the same in every situation. It shouldn't matter if you missed your draw in a $25 pot or are firing a bluff in a $20,000 pot, you should look and act the exact same way.

Quiz Answer 7

In most situations like this it means they have a weak hand. By acting in an aggressive manner they're representing a strong hand, which means they're acting like you should fold.

Because this is a player who has a history of acting the opposite of the strength of their hand, in this situation you should lean toward folding.

But remember that you still have to look at the hand as a whole and make decisions based on pot odds and positive expectation.

Pot odds and positive expectation always trump tells unless you have a 100% read on your opponent. But when the odds and expectation are close, this information helps push the decision one way. In this case if you can beat a bluff or a somewhat weak hand it's an easy call or raise depending on the pot odds.

Quiz Answer 8

It could mean any of the three choices, but the best answer is probably that the pot odds are so good that you have to call. Usually when a good holdem player acts in a hand like this it means they have a good hand and are trying to get you too call.

But if they're a good player and they know you're a good player they may be acting this way so you make the mistake of thinking they have a big hand and are begging for a call.

This is why falling back on the pot odds is the correct play.

One of the best ways to bluff against a good player is by making a small bet that looks like you're begging for a call. But remember, they can determine pot odds too, so this is a tricky situation.

Quiz Answer 9

It depends on the player, but the best play is to use the pot odds and expectation to make a decision.

This situation looks like a bluff, and probably is more often than not. But it depends on your opponent and your table image. By offering to show you a card it seems like they want you to fold. But Texas holdem players often try to get cute to mess with their opponents.

The danger in talking like this is sometimes you find an opponent who can easily see through your table talk and make the right play against you. This is why if you're the one who made the bet you should simply keep quiet and stay still.

Because Texas holdem is a game of information, you should try to give your opponent the smallest amount of information as possible.

Quiz Answer 10

The best way to play is to try to act the same in every situation.

But some of the best players are able to mix up their play in a way that they appear to be completely unpredictable. Both ways achieve the same goal.

The goal is to make it so your opponents can't use your playing style against you. Most players find it easier to learn to act in the same way in all situations instead of trying to mix things up all of the time.

Some players aren't able to act the same in every situation. If you find this is the case then you need to consciously mix up your playing style in order to not be predictable. One of the most dangerous things you can do, especially against good competition, is become predictable in any way.

As you play against better competition as you advance in limits and levels it becomes more and more important to guard your play. It's also important to look for weakness in your opponents. The smallest edge at higher levels can be the difference between winning and losing, so always guard against the smallest edges and look to exploit the same thing sin your opponent's play.


Use this quiz and the answers to find tells your opponents are giving, but more importantly to learn how to avoid giving tells. You also need to always be looking for playing tendencies in your own play and your opponent's play.

By always being aware of your own play and watching your opponents, even when you aren't involved in the hand, you're well on your way to improving your Texas holdem game. Find and exploit every small edge you can to increase your profit at the holdem tables.

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