Caro's Book of Poker Tells: The Psychology and Body Language of Poker Paperback – March 15, 2003
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The biggest problem in applying this book is that it is so widely read that some actors try to do a double tell, i.e., denoting strength when they are strong, or weakness when they are actually weak, in the hope that people who have read the book will assume that the tell actually denoted the opposite. Thus, not only do you have to determine the actors from the unaware but you must also decide if the actor is trying to give a tell that denotes the opposite of the hand or one that denotes the hand in the hope that you will assume that it is the opposite. Things can thus get confusing very fast. Professionals claim that they try not to give any tells at all, which is a wise approach.
This book is useful on two levels. The beginner can learn about tells and those that they may be giving out, and the more advanced player how to utilize the tells that their opponents give out. As such, if you know nothing about tells, you will be clueless and likely to be a consistent loser. This book will at least help to level the playing field.
I've read a few poker books so far, and all of them have mentioned this book as "the" book to read on poker tells. Since pros were recommending this book I decided that I needed to pick up a copy.
This is the only poker book I've read twice.
Caro's book contains just over 20 tells, with a chapter on each tell, it's variations, and how to exploit it. It also gives a reliability scale for each tell which shows how effective it is against beginners, intermediates and experts. Surprisingly, beginners and experts are about equally vulnerable to some tells.
Caro shows that there are two types of tells, those from people who are unaware, and those from people who are faking the tell (actors). He gives guidelines on how to help determine if the tell is real or just an act.
I laughed out loud several times because Caro would come to a tell that I had. I found myself saying, "I do do that!" or, "Hey, my buddy does that!"
That being said, tells are not the Holy Grail of poker. Nobody can look at another person and instantly know they're holding a pair of Queens. Certain behaviors make it MORE THAN LIKELY that someone has a monster hand, or is bluffing, or doesn't want to be called. It doesn't guarantee it.
Even if you can put someone on good cards or bad cards, at a full table you'll rarely be in a position to exploit it because you have to worry about the other eight players and the strength of your own hand.
Also, some tells only work for draw poker, so if you only play Hold'em they're not directly applicable.
Over the long term I'd say that if you really sat down and studied/digested this book it will add about a 3% to 5% advantage to your game. More if you play against amateurs, less if you play against good players.
Just using a handful of tips from this book will give you noticeable improvement in 1 live playing session.
Mike lays it out in such a simple, easy to understand, manner that translates into an executable plan.
Top international reviews
Nowadays I see many starting players at the casino. This book comes in great use against these types of players. However, even the pros exhibit some "tells" as well. I highly recommend the book and hope a second volume is released soon.
Go to voiceonpoker.com and we will buy this book for you.
The obligatory summary chapters are there along with a short quiz, but this only amounts to the last 40 pages. The remaining pages are devoted to in depth analysis of poker psychology and body language.
The majority of the book is broadly divided up into tells from those who are unaware, and tells from 'actors'. These chapters are then subdivided into numerous short sections on such topics as nervousness, sudden interest, instant reaction etc. For each of these sections a number of tells are discussed and these are set out in pretty much the same format:
An overview of the tell is given usually over about two pages, and then details of the tell are set out as follows:
Category: i.e. nervousness etc.
Description: what to look for.
Motivation: why they are doing it
Reliability: how likely you are to be able to spot the tell depending on the quality of opposition
Value per hour: here the author tries to give the tell a monetary value depending on whether you recognise it and the limits you are playing
Discussion: additional info.
The description is often accompanied by a number of photgraphs that help to reinforce the idea in the readers mind. The author uses a number of poker variations in his discussions and despite being only a holdem player i could follow these easily.
There are 179 photographs and 58 tells in this book and along with the authors excellent writing style, this book would still be excellent value for money at twice the price.
However constantly looking at pictures from the 80's
does nothing to keep the reader (up to date)
It's like reading an old movie score with pictures & bad models.
Have passed it on....
just became a big Mike Caro fan and bought more books of him.
a clear thumbs up !
Having read most of the book I can pretty much agree with most of the comments made by other people in that there are a lot of sound concepts described which in the long run would undoubtedly lead to increased profits (or smaller losses depending which way you look at things). Having said that, all of the concepts in the book are described in an elaborate manner which results in the book being twice the volume that it could otherwise have been. However, this isn't necessarily a bad thing as it helps to reiterate the key points that the author is trying to make. In addition, once you've read through the book once, it would be very easy and useful to refer to the summary listing all Caro's `laws' described throughout the book which are neatly summarised at the end.
Furthermore, as the book was first published around 20 years ago a lot of the concepts relate specifically to draw and stud poker, which I'm sure won't be relevant to the vast majority of readers in today's hold em / Omaha world of poker. Another sign of the book's age are the black and white photos contained of very fashion shy 70's/80's poker players. Although to be fair, whilst clothing fashions and photography techniques may have improved over the years, the underlying principal of the photos, i.e. people's body language, have not changed and this is the key point of the photos.
All in all the book is a worthwhile read for the serious live player and should help anyone to learn how to get a better read on opponents, whilst helping them to consider how to suppress their own.
Also examples in this book covers lot of limit games and my area there never limit live games only no-limit these days. Also lot of example tells and hands talks about seven card stud and draw poker situations (those games are also pretty rare in casinos these days), sure same tells usually exist in holdem too, but still using those games shows how old this book really is. And maybe worst thing is pictures, there are quite of lot pictures about different tells, but these pictures are small and black and white and somewhat blurry, so you have to inspect carefully every picture.
After all this negative things i wrote above, i still give this 3 stars because clearly writer knows what he is talking about and writes it in this book easy to understand format. But sure this book should be completly rewritten and modernize to this century.
Anyway i think this book is worth the money everyone who plays live games, even players like me who just plays small stakes 1-2 or 2-4 (euro or dollar) NL holdem games.