Poker Book Review: "Caro's Book of Poker Tells"

Caro’s Book of Poker Tells is probably the best known work produced by the “Mad Genius of Poker,”  and is still a valuable source of information for getting a read on opponents during live poker games, even though it was first published nearly 30 years ago.
Caro is quick to introduce his Law of Loose Wiring and explain that because of the unpredictability of poker players, it is not enough just to look at their betting patterns or how they would usually play a hand. This is why it is also important to look for subconscious signals when determining what your opponent is doing.
Caro then introduces his Great Law of Tells, which states that “Players are either acting or they aren’t. If they are acting, then decide what they want you to do and disappoint them.” Conversely, Caro spends a great deal of attention describing the tells from those players unaware they are sending off signals which, he explains, will make you the most money in the long run. The important point he makes here is that making the correct assessment as to which camp your opponent is in will significantly impact the reliability of your observations and hence your profits.
The book is subsequently divided into the two categories mentioned, with the first 130 pages dealing with situations where the players are not acting.
The core of the book is geared towards outlining a series of key tells Caro has observed at the poker tables, which includes bluffing players suddenly stopping chewing on their gum, and players with a strong holding looking away from the action and trying to appear disinterested while involved in a hand, exhibiting shaky hands and glancing at their chips.
He also offers good advice on how maintain your edge having spotted a tell: “When you spot a tell, you should not act on it instantly! Wait a short time and seem in doubt, That way, your opponent will be less likely to adjust his behaviour, and you probably will be able to use that same tell again for more profit. ”
Overall, Caro’s Book of Poker Tells might look a bit dated in places, especially some of the photos included from bygone days, but the information contained is still relevant and a valuable source of information for serious students of the game. In the words of the “Mad Genius of Poker” himself:
“Once you’ve mastered the basic elements of a winning poker formula, psychology becomes the key ingredient in separating break-even players from players who win consistently.”

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