Sunday, 3 June 2012

Caro's Book Of Poker Tells

Caro's Book of Poker Tells

The Psychology and Body Language of Poker
By Mike Caro

Quick Thoughts

Most poker books will include some discussion of poker tells, typically in a short chapter. Mike Caro's book is dedicated to poker tells and how to consider them as part of your game. It probably goes without saying that this is of little value to the internet only player, but it is worth adding that this book does not consider online poker or the timing and bet size tells that are useful in the online game. Similarly a poker player who is largely a beginner may not get a lot out of this book or may get themselves into trouble by given too much weight to tells they may or may not have read correctly. While some may disagree, beginners are normally better off working on the fundamentals of their own game first before getting into the minutia of how there opponents play. However, for the improving player that spends at least some of there time playing live its probably worth your time to read this book which is widely regarded as a classic. Various reprints have been made, with this review based on the 2010 version. Its worth trying to get the latest version although my understanding is that there are few changes between versions, at least if the very dated photographs are anything to go by.

The classic book on poker tells, four out of five stars if you forgive the dated photographs.


Quite a large book at just over 300 pages in a medium sized softback format. After four short introductory chapters the book splits down into two big chapters with various subsections. The first half of the book considers tells that a player gives away unintentionally, Caro refers to them as "tells from those who are unaware". The second large section where Caro considers "tells from actors", players that are trying to deceive.  The book finishes up with some summary chapters, including a top 25 tells and a photo quiz/test.

Typical Cost

£12.40 to £16.95, $16.47 to $24.95

Additional Thoughts

The concept of how much a tell will gain (or lose) per hour for you at a particular stake is of particular  interest, as is the estimate on the reliability of a given tell. This lets you priorities particular tells or groups of tells that are going to be most profitable rather then agonizing over ambiguous or unreliable tells with little potential to add to your stack. There is a lot of content to this book and you will probably find yourself referring back to this as a reference.

Players that only play texas holdem should note that this book uses examples from a range of different types of poker. However, in general the tells are treated as non game specific and there application in other games can readily be seen.

This book can be useful in two ways; the obvious way is to take into account possible tells that other players are giving, unconsciously or intentionally. However, it is also useful to look at your own game and see if the way you are acting may be giving away information on your hand. Even at a smaller stakes game one or two better players at a table may be paying attention to tells, at least at some level and some of the time.

Share your thoughts on this book with a comment or a star rating.

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