It always pays to keep a close eye on your opponents: have they been losing or winning; are they here to gamble it up and have a good time, or are they frozen like a rabbit in the headlights? All this information is out there and by piecing it together you can start to get an indication as to everybody’s mindset. This free information is a valuable asset for the observant player.
Tells have a near-mythical status amongst newcomers to the game. A tell can be anything from spotting an opponent’s betting patterns and noticing when he strays from the norm, to detecting a sometimes subtle change in someone’s mannerisms. Be warned, though; when dealing with a seasoned pro, any information they are seemingly displaying is usually there for a reason and should therefore be only be taken on board with extreme caution! Being aware of how you are perceived at the table should be central to your game plan.
After all, if you’ve sat there, granite-like, for the past two hours, you may ﬁnd that you struggle to get any action when you do eventually wake up with a hand. The ﬂip side is that if you’ve been playing a very open and imaginative game you may ﬁnd it harder to get a bluff through, as players are more likely to look you up. Both of these extremes can be exploited, you just need to be aware of how you look to your opponents.