Ex-FBI Agent Gives Clues To Poker TellsDecember 28, 2013 6:19 pm
After 25 years of working as an FBI special agent and supervisor, Joe Navarro has subsequently been turning his unique knowledge of behavioral analysis and non-verbal communication towards the poker tables, and revealing a whole wealth of reading tells necessary to improve as a live poker player.
When Navarro came to poker in 2005, Mike Caro’s Book of Poker Tells was considered the seminal work on the fascinating subject and listed around 50 tells, but after Navarro and professor Marvin Karlins published the book “Read ‘Em and Reap: A Career FBI Agent’s Guide to Decoding Poker Tells” in 2006, the book became an instant success and received overwhelming praise from poker pros and hobby players alike. As Navarro later explained:
“One of the things I noticed was that there was only about 50 tells there, and, to my surprise, a lot of them had to do with the hands and the face, but not the rest of the body. There was no mention of the neck, fingers, torso, feet etc. That sort of blew my mind, so when we wrote Read ‘Em and Reap, now all of a sudden we went from 50 tells to 140 tells.”
Since then, the nonverbal communication expert has released numerous books on the fascinating subject, including ‘200 Poker Tells,’ and Navarro has also been a regular contributor to the esteemed Psychology Today Magazine. Some of the clues the ex-FBI agent has helped draw attention to includes full lips (confident) versus disappearing lips (lacking confidence), and “Gravity-Defying Tells,” such as raised eyebrows, hands, or feet indicating strength, whilst the opposite movement of these body parts would indicates weakness. Nevertheless, Navarro emphasizes the importance of establishing a baseline of the player’s behaviour before making a decision about his tells.
Finally, Joe Navarro highlights the importance of being ever mindful of your opponents’ complete body language, and explains: “Be aware that the whole body is constantly transmitting information. We express our emotions; we express how we feel in real-time. While there is such a thing as a “poker face,” there’s no such thing as a “poker body.” Somewhere on the body, whether you have a good hand or a bad hand, it will be revealed.”