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Methods for Reducing Physical Poker Tells

Poker Tells

Do you find yourself giving off physical tells at the poker table in high-pressure situations? This can be quite normal, particularly for new poker players. So how does one keep from giving physical tells at the table? Continue reading to learn some ways to reduce physical poker tells.

Physical Tells in High-Pressure Situations

There are several physical tells that poker players can exhibit while playing live poker. Much of this is due to stress or are responses to adrenaline. Some people may start breathing heavily. Others breathe more shallowly. Others may pause their breathing.

Adrenal responses may include your hands shaking or your leg bouncing while at the table. All of these are signals to your opponents that something is up. If your opponent knows you personally, they usually can figure out what your tells mean. Otherwise, it will only take one showdown for them to be clued in.

Let’s learn some ways to contradict these tells.

Controlled Breathing

One way that some people can control high-stress situations is through controlled breathing. Controlled breathing has you focus on your breathing and use it as a way to control your anxiety or to calm yourself when hyped.

The best way to do this is to work on focused breathing whenever you are playing a hand. Once you know you’re going to get involved, focus on controlling your breathing. This will help calm you and will also reduce some of the physical tells you give off.

Change Your Betting Hands

If you find that you have a bit of a tremor whenever you bet during high-pressure situations, consider changing which hand you bet with. Most people bet with their dominant hand. If you’re right-handed, you will be with your right. Interestingly enough, if you bet with your non-dominant hand, you may find that you do not have the same tremors.

This is not always the case and takes a bit of experimentation. However, don’t switch betting in the middle of a hand, as players will pick up on that as well. It is better to move over to consistently betting with your non-dominant hand to try and cut back on physical tells.


Some people have found that meditation has been helpful for controlling one’s mental and physical state. It works differently for everyone. For some, meditating before a game can help during the entire session. Others may require some meditation breaks during play to help control their mood.


Listen to Music

There are many people that listen to music while playing poker cash games or poker tournaments not as a way to distract themselves from the monotony, but rather as a way to calm themselves. For some, playing calming music is the way to go. Others use their favorite music as a bit of a distraction to help them focus less on poker and more on the music.

Relaxing Beverage

There are some people that need some form of relaxing beverage to help them calm down. Sometimes it is something as simple as chamomile tea, while others need something a little stronger. There are many people that cannot fully relax unless they have a drink.

This doesn’t mean that you get drunk or even buzzed. However, drinking a glass of wine or a mixed drink may help calm your nerve to where you don’t overly stress in key situations at the poker table. Finding the right balance may be tough, so try and stay away from hardcore alcohol.

Suggestions Are Not an Immediate Fix

Like most things in life, it takes time to improve on physical tells. The above suggestions may not be an immediate fix, but something that you have to work on to achieve your desired results. However, with time and experience, you can overcome physical tells at the poker table.

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