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61 of 62 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall, a "good" book - useful, and interesting reading
A classic, and one of the most well known books on poker, it's been published again and again under different publishers with very slight changes over the years.

It's one of the only books on tells, or body language in poker - a bit surprising, considering the hundreds of poker books in print, and the popular conception that tells are a huge part of the...
Published on March 1, 2005 by M. Grapenthien

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42 of 49 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Mad"? Yes. "Genius"? Show me!
I bought and read this book based on the many positive reviews out there. While I don't regret buying it, I definitely got my hopes (for knowledge) up higher than I should have.

Caro provides so many different examples of "tells" (I guess he had to in order to have enough material for a book) that it's improbable that anyone will remember enough to be of real...
Published on September 23, 2005 by Scrutinizing Consumer


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61 of 62 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall, a "good" book - useful, and interesting reading, March 1, 2005
This review is from: Caro's Book of Poker Tells: The Psychology and Body Language of Poker (Paperback)
A classic, and one of the most well known books on poker, it's been published again and again under different publishers with very slight changes over the years.

It's one of the only books on tells, or body language in poker - a bit surprising, considering the hundreds of poker books in print, and the popular conception that tells are a huge part of the game.

Caro, also known as "the Mad Genius of Poker," is a top-level poker player, credited as the best draw player in the world. Or was, at least - draw poker all but died out when other forms became legal in California, and he hasn't been heard from as much since then. Regardless, he's still extremely smart, a great teacher, and is always entertaining reading.

The book covers around fifty different "tells," of various types. Some are general profiling, such as what you can infer about an unfamiliar opponent's style by the way they dress or stack their chips. Most are behavioral - what it means when someone acts immediately, without pausing to think, when someone glances down at their chips after the flop, when they "splash" chips into the pot instead of stacking them, etc. A common theme is that "strong means weak" and "weak means strong" - when they sigh and shrug their shoulders as they raise, get out. It seems so basic, but often holds true even at relatively high levels. There are logical tells too, like when a conservative player bets without looking at his last card in stud, he already has a made hand.

One tell I've found very useful is when a player's hand starts to shake uncontrollably as he or she bets on the last round. Most people's initial thought would be that they're nervous and bluffing. In reality, it usually means they have a nearly unbeatable hand. The shaking is a release of tension; a natural, involuntary response as the nervous uncertainty of the hand's outcome is resolved. The shaking is most likely to occur when the stakes are very meaningful to the player. Sometimes this one is visible even on the WPT or WSOP coverage on TV. Even those who play for thousands every day can't control their reactions when they're suddenly playing for millions.

On the downside, the book's age shows. The pictures are grainy and black-and-white, and highlight fashion trends of the 1980s. Several of the tells are specific to draw poker, like determining whether a player who draws one has two pair or a four-flush; not very useful anymore, but still interesting.

For each tell, the text estimates how many weak, average, and strong players will exhibit the specific behavior, and gives a value for how much you can gain by understanding it and being observant. These are useful as generalizations, such as which will rarely apply in a higher limit game against more experienced players, but the "value per hour" figures are crazy. At the $100 limit, various tells are supposedly worth $11/hour, $96, $43, $128, etc. If that were true, a break-even player who studied this book would suddenly be making thousands per hour.

Reading people's body language isn't nearly that big a part of poker. Most decisions at the table are fairly clear based on the cards and logic. Only in borderline situations do tells become valuable, and even then, you have to be pretty sure your read is accurate; if you fold the best hand on the end based on a read you thought was accurate, when you would have called otherwise, you've just cost yourself the whole pot.

Lots of people have bought this book, or similar material, with the idea of studying it and suddenly making a killing, with no more than a basic understanding of poker. This is misguided, and probably not possible. Technical skill and a solid understanding of poker theory and game situations are far more important. Reading people is a useful and interesting supplement to that, not a replacement for playing well.

That said, I'd recommend this book to anyone. Even casual, kitchen table players will find it readable, interesting, and useful - maybe more so than more experienced players since their opponents will have a lot of obvious tells to be read.
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217 of 239 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will bring your game to the next level....and beyond, June 30, 2004
This review is from: Caro's Book of Poker Tells: The Psychology and Body Language of Poker (Paperback)
I have been playing NL poker online and limit poker in casinos for about two years. My preferred game is single table tournaments and after a year of success online I decided to put my skills to the test. This book really breaks down the art of poker (that is, the ability to read people)into simple categories of tells understandable and recognizeable by anybody. Armed with my technically sound online skills and my newfound ability to understand the motives and intetnions of other live players, I journeyed to Atlantic City to try my first ever live tournament. My first tournament ever...I finished in first place at the Borgata. I played in one more tournament and took 2nd place. It may sound unbelievable, but with a bit of luck and a powerfull arsenal of reads on common poker tells at my disposal, I walked away with over $10,000 on a total investment of $200.
I am not saying that this book will win you the world series, but it will give you a huge edge over your competition. The reason is this: Without a knowledge of tells, you really only win the pots that your cards dictate. Yes, you can play better cards than your opponents and avoid trap hands, but with a knowledge of tells, you can win 2 types of hands. 1) you win the hands your cards dictate. 2) you win the hands that your oponents cards don't merit. If you can pick up weakness in your opponents, you can win pots just by betting or raising at the right moment and salvage a pot where you might have folded. Similarly, you can better identify when your huge hand might be second best. Caro breaks tells down into 2 main categories. Tells from actors, and tells from those who are unaware. The most important are those from Actors. It is Caro's contention that all of us act at the poker table and in life, it is instinctive and largely subconscious. If you can pick up on these signals, discern what the player wants you to do, and then do the opposite, then you can truly, truly dominate the competition. This book is a MUST HAVE for the serious poker player.
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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Useful if Applied Correctly, January 6, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Caro's Book of Poker Tells: The Psychology and Body Language of Poker (Paperback)
This is the original and still best book on poker tells, but there are others out there that have been published recently that you might be able to get for less. They all offer pretty much the same advice but they got their ideas from this book.
Several things are important when reading a book on tells. You need to know in what games they will help you. They will not help you beat a room full of experts...they know they tells so they won't exhibit them. Caro uses tables for each tell to let you know which ones are important where and this aspect of the book makes it a must-have.
Also you need to know how to look for tells. It is challenging and at times overwhelming to sit at a full table looking for body language. Caro does not cover this "art of observation" well in the book but does on his website: [...]
I can tell you this book has helped me a LOT at low-medium limits against players who often don't exhibit predictable or correct strategy...such otherwise difficult players to read (but not experienced, well educated players) become more easily beaten when you can spot tells.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keystone in any players poker library, February 16, 2004
This review is from: Caro's Book of Poker Tells: The Psychology and Body Language of Poker (Paperback)
The author, Mike Caro is a very colorful person to say the least. He is referred to as the "Mad Genius" in poker circles and is an expert authority on the mathmatics and the human factor of the game.
Poker tells are the biggest vice of any poker player, if you can use the tells of others to you're advantage and eliminate yours then you can easily come away with a few extra bets that would have left your stack. With control over your own tells, you can harness the power to confuse opponents in to not really knowing if they are getting a real one out of you or not.
This book is the best and most extensive choice on the subject of poker tells. Many other books touch on the subject, but this is the one that will help out the most.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I call�., February 3, 2004
This review is from: Caro's Book of Poker Tells: The Psychology and Body Language of Poker (Paperback)
As a developing player, I found this book a great resource. Caro breaks down the basics of poker tells into a handful of simple, powerful rules. I have read this book from cover to cover, taking the time to study the examples. It is full of information and needs to be studied so it sits next to my bed and I review a section every night.
I am a Texas Hold'em player but this book covers most casino poker games. Most tells are universal to all games unfortunately the presentation in this book moves through the different games. This is why studying the book over time helps extract the information for the reader.
This is a must read book for the serious poker player. You have to take the time to continue learning as you grow as a player. The final thing to do with this book is take what you learn into the poker room. Even just selecting one tell for the night, you will be amazed at how obvious the other players wear their tells.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, December 9, 2005
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This review is from: Caro's Book of Poker Tells: The Psychology and Body Language of Poker (Paperback)
There is a big step from reading a book to applying it to your game, and many people that gave this book a bad rating were instantly expecting to see 100 tells from every opponent on every hand. Tells are rarely obvious and it takes concentration to find them. This book taught everything from card motions to body movements, and it all works. The same weekend after I finished reading this book, I was in a very large no-limit hold'em hand that came down to fifth street. I had a very weak hand and was prepared to throw my hand away to any large bet made. The person across the table did just that, trying to present a strong hand. There was an easy straight, and an easy flush (four consecutive cards on the board and 4 cards of the same suit) on the table. I watched him closely to see if I could spot any tells and I instantly saw 2 of the more subtle tells that Caro addresses in this book. I instantly called his bet and he showed only ace high and I took down the pot. I can honestly say that if I had never read this book, I would have folded that hand and lost quite a large amount of chips. This book has helped me many times in making the right calls in the most important situations. Anyone should read this book, the pictures seem pretty outdated but they do a good job of giving examples. Read this book, it will teach you a lot.
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42 of 49 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Mad"? Yes. "Genius"? Show me!, September 23, 2005
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Caro's Book of Poker Tells: The Psychology and Body Language of Poker (Paperback)
I bought and read this book based on the many positive reviews out there. While I don't regret buying it, I definitely got my hopes (for knowledge) up higher than I should have.

Caro provides so many different examples of "tells" (I guess he had to in order to have enough material for a book) that it's improbable that anyone will remember enough to be of real benefit. In fact, unless the player sits perfectly still, almost everything he does can be interpretted as some kinda tell! What the hell? And every "tell" Caro explains is qualified with verbage to the effect "[this] means [this] MOST OF THE TIMES". But it's that 1 time in a hundred that costs you everything.

It boils down to this. A player's projection of strength frequently indicates weakness and vice versa. Accurately reading another player's body language and actions consistently is a skill most people will never master. Most of us will be better off playing mathematically via Sklansky's "The Theory of Poker".

Case in point: I watched a master's poker tournement with Caro, Sklansky, Brunson and a few other household names. Caro kept trying to get a read on his opponents by being obnoxious and goading them into some type of reaction that he could read. Not only was he annoying, but he was the first one to lose! In the same game, Sklansky strictly played the numbers according to his own theory... and won.

The greatest value in this book is in my making sure my opponents know I've read it. That messes with their heads...
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53 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Must have for the beginner!, October 4, 2004
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This review is from: Caro's Book of Poker Tells: The Psychology and Body Language of Poker (Paperback)
I purchased this book along with Phil Gordon's 'The Real Deal' as a start to my Poker Library. This was an excellent choice for the beginner!

Caro's Book of Poker Tells is a treasure trove of Poker Behavioral information I was immediately able to relate to. Playing amatuer poker, I could recall incidents detailed in the book where I was taken in by many of the tells displayed, and where I had executed them myself. It's an interesting look at how human behavior factors so prominantly into a game of cards.

Granted, the photos are dates, and the poker tells cover ALL types of games, which, if you aren't familliar with all styles of poker, it might be confusing. But, the book is formatted in a very easy to reference style, and isn't difficult to apply illustrations using one game to another.

This is a definite must for anyone who wants to improve their play as well as understand the psychological element of poker better.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing insight for the novice player, September 27, 2004
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This review is from: Caro's Book of Poker Tells: The Psychology and Body Language of Poker (Paperback)
I thought I was a step or two beyond novice, until I read this book. I quickly realized how much I did not know about the game. Understanding the many "tells" of poker will add a lot of depth to your skills and give you much more confidence in your betting. This book is an easy read and the early 80's photos are amusing, but the information is priceless and easily absorbed.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great way to learn tells, November 10, 2003
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"nick18sju" (Shakopee, MN United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Caro's Book of Poker Tells: The Psychology and Body Language of Poker (Paperback)
This book provides numerous tells that help in poker and every day life even. It not only describes what people do, but WHY they do it. A very helpful tool for people who understand fundamentals and the lingo of poker of all types. It covers scenarios in stud, draw and hold 'em games to ensure that the readers can relate to the situations. However, the tells are relevent in all the games which is a huge help for your wallet.
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Caro's Book of Poker Tells: The Psychology and Body Language of Poker
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