Reading Poker Tells Video Series
Live poker training videos from Zachary Elwood, author of the books Reading Poker Tells and Verbal Poker Tells. This training video series uses real poker footage from both cash games and tournaments. There are currently 22 videos, for more than 4.5 hours of training time, and more will be added in future.
Watch the 3-minute video trailer below.
“A researched look at human behavior… It looks like Elwood is basically the only person currently doing a lot of in-depth work on the subject at all.”
- Clare Fitzgerald, writing for Casino City Times (read full review)
“One of the first things you notice about Zach’s videos, and one of their strongest aspects, is that they focus as much on the psychology behind poker tells as they do on specific actions. After watching a few videos, you begin to feel confident that you’ll be able to guess what other actions mean… The information they contain is invaluable.”
- Alex Weldon, writing for PartTimePoker.com (read full review)
“Clear, compelling content. Elwood takes great care to go into not just “what to look for” but also the psychology behind the action. You won’t just gain a few tips and tricks – you’ll have a deeper understanding of a critical aspect of live play.”
- Bradley Chalupski, writing for CardPlayerLifestyle.com (read full review)
"I’ve been a $2-5 reg for 10 years. You go into so much detail on gestures and actions that I often see but hadn't focused much on. They stand out so much more now. Absolutely excellent videos!”
- Randy Schmitz, semi-pro player
Get the Videos
Below are options for getting the complete package of training videos. There are currently 19 videos, for a total of more than four hours of video. Scroll farther down if you'd like to see a list and description of all the videos.
If you'd prefer to buy the videos one at a time, click here. Individually they are $8 to buy and $6 to rent.
Below are descriptions of all the training videos. All the videos are standalone and can be watched in any order, but they've been put in a suggested viewing order.
- Defensive Hand Motions: This video looks at defensive hand motions. One example of this behavior: a player with a vulnerable hand acts like he’s going to call in order to discourage an opponent from betting. (Released 7-2015)
- Bet-Timing: Pre-Flop Raises: This video examines pre-flop raise bet-timing, whether it’s immediate or very delayed. More immediate raises will tend to make the strongest hands less likely, while raises that take a while will tend towards strong hands. (Released 7-2015)
- Long Looks at Hole Cards: This video examines long looks at hole cards, with a focus on when players initially look at their cards. Long looks at hole cards will tend to make strong hands unlikely. (Released 7-2015)
- Bet-Timing: Immediate Pre-Flop Calls: This video examines quick pre-flop calls. Immediate calls will tend to make strong hands unlikely. (Released 7-2015)
- Early-Hand Talking From Non-Aggressors: This video examines early-hand talking (pre-flop and on the flop) from non-aggressors (i.e., the players checking or calling). Early-hand talking from non-aggressors tends to make strong hands unlikely. (Released 7-2015)
- Talking From Pre-Flop Raisers: This video examines talking from pre-flop raisers, which makes strong hands less likely. (Released 7-2015)
- Eye-Contact of Waiting-For-Action Players: This video looks at the behavior of a waiting-for-action player (i.e., who is waiting for an opponent to act) who stares at or looks towards an opponent. This behavior will tend to be associated with weakness. (Released 7-2015)
- Early-Hand Laughing and Smiling: This video takes a look at laughing and smiling from players early-in-a-hand, and with a focus on non-aggressors. In such early-hand situations, laughing and smiling will tend to make strong hands unlikely. (Released 7-2015)
- Bet-Timing: Immediate Post-Flop Calls: This video examines immediate post-flop calls, which will tend to make strong hands unlikely. (Released 7-2015)
- Uncertainty & Concern When Betting: This video examines physical expressions and gestures of uncertainty and worry, with a focus on post-flop bettors. Such behavior will tend to make strong hands likely. (Released 7-2015)
- Double-Checking Hole Cards (Post-Flop Bettors): This video examines the behavior of post-flop players double-checking their hole cards before betting. This behavior will tend to make strong hands more likely. (Released 7-2015)
- Immediately Asking About Bet Amount: This video looks at the behavior of players immediately asking about an opponent’s bet or raise amount. This behavior will tend to make very strong hands unlikely, though will often indicate decently strong hands. (Released 7-2015)
- Ostentatious Physical Behaviors From Non-Aggressors: This video looks at unnecessary, ostentatious behavior from non-aggressors (checkers and callers), which will tend to weaken a player's hand range. (Released 7-2015)
- Playing With Chips Associated With A Bet: This video looks at loose playing-with-chips behavior (especially chip-flipping) that is associated with a significant bet; this will tend to indicate relaxation and strength. (Released 10-2015)
- Immediate Continuation-Bets: This video looks at immediate continuation-bets, which will tend to weaken a bettor's range. (Released 10-2015)
- Physical Hesitations When Betting: This video looks at physical hesitations in betting and raising motions; this will tend to strengthen a player's range. (Released 10-2015)
- Stretched-Lips When Betting: This video looks at the facial expression of horizontally stretched-out lips when it accompanies a bet. This sad-looking expression will make strong hands more likely. (Released 1-2016)
- Verbal Weak-Hand Statements: This video examines what I call weak-hand statements from bettors. Weak-hand statements will tend to make strong hands more likely. (Released 1-2016)
- Shuffling Cards: This video examines during-hand shuffling of cards. Shuffling of cards, especially from waiting-for-action players, will make weak hands more likely. (Released 1-2016)
- Shrugging When Betting: This video examines shrugging and shrug-like gestures that happen in association with bets. These behaviors will make strong hands more likely. (Released 4-2016)
- Verbal Checks: This video examines verbal checks, which make weak hands more likely. (Released 4-2016)
- Eye Contact When Betting: This video examines eye contact and eye movement associated with significant bets. Increased eye contact will tend to make strong hands more likely. (Released 4-2016)
. . . More to come . . .
Who Am I?
I'm Zachary Elwood, a former professional poker player and the author of two poker tells books: Reading Poker Tells and Verbal Poker Tells. Many players, both amateur and very experienced, have called my first book the best book on the subject of poker tells. (You can read some reviews of Reading Poker Tells by clicking here.)
I've written many articles for poker publications like Two Plus Two Magazine, Bluff Magazine, and Poker News. I've also served as a poker behavior consultant for two World Series of Poker November Niners (i.e., Main Event final tablists.)
I've been wanting to do something with video for a long time now. I like my books, and I think books have their own specific strengths, but I also know that video is a great tool for talking about something as visual as poker behavior. Plus, there are just many people who learn better in the visual format.
So I was very pleased to be able to partner with Windy City Poker Championships and use their footage to create these courses. I'm proud of the videos and I hope you enjoy them and find them helpful in the games you play. There are currently 19 videos in the series, and I will continue to work on adding to this library of content.
Click on a question below to expand it and see the answer.
I believe there is value in all of the videos for most people, so buying or renting the whole package is the recommended way to buy them (although obviously I’m a bit biased). Buying/renting them all together saves a few dollars compared to buying them separately. And buying them all together lets you more easily access the content all in one place (as opposed to receiving several emails).
But purchasing them separately is fine; that’s why I created them as standalone videos. Purchasing them separately is only a little bit more expensive than buying them as a package. Some reasons to purchase them separately:
• You already are familiar with the concepts of some of the videos and only want to watch a few of the videos.
• You want to see what the quality is like before buying more.
If you want to purchase them separately, go to this page.
In my humble opinion, I think all poker players will get value from these videos. I’ve specifically created them in a way I hope will speak to all audiences: beginner-level players and experienced, professional-lever players.
For the more beginner-level players, the main value will come from being able to eliminate their own (sometimes obvious) tells. Becoming harder to read is more important for these players than is being able to read their opponents. This is because beginner-level players should be focused on strategic considerations. Focusing on reading tells is a mistake and a distraction for almost all beginners, mainly because they don’t really know what to do with the information even if they are able to notice something.
For poker players who have played a good amount but who aren’t yet at a professional-level, they will get value both from eliminating their own tells and spotting tells in opponents. These players will have a better idea of when it’s smart to let opponent behavior influence a decision and when to ignore it, so they will get more value from reading opponents.
For very experienced and professional-level players, a lot of the information in these videos will already be known. But I think that there may be value in making some of these concepts more concrete and conscious, as opposed to more unconscious and feel-based. And for players who play high stakes, even a small amount of information can mean a substantial increase in profit. Even if a high-stakes player gains only one new piece of valuable information from watching all of my videos, that one piece of information could easily be worth thousands of dollars over time.
For the reasons above, I can confidently say that I believe these videos provide value for all poker players, no matter experience-level or stake-level.
Every video includes at least five examples of real-game examples of the behavior in question, along with an explanation of why these behaviors are often valuable, and what factors might affect your interpretation of the behavior. About half of the videos consist of actual analysis of real hands, and about half are discussions about the reasons behind the pattern and the factors involved. You can get a good idea of the content from watching the trailer video at the top of this page.
The currently available videos are not intended to cover all relevant poker tells, or even the most valuable poker tells. Instead, these videos have been created based on the footage that was available and the behaviors I’ve noticed as I’ve analyzed the footage.
I will continue to create new videos and add to this library over time.
The videos were created to be standalone and to be watched in any order.
Having said that, it was necessary to put the videos in some sort of order for listing/organizational purposes so I have put together a suggested order. But it’s only a light suggestion and you should feel comfortable watching them in any order.
The videos are between 10 and 18 minutes long, with most being around 14-15 minutes long.
I use footage from the Windy City Poker Championships (WCPC), which are shot in Chicago and produced by Kirk Fallah of Fallah Productions.
WCPC holds both tournaments and cash games, and the footage I use is taken from both types of games. Tournament buy-ins range in size from $500 to $1,500. The cash game footage I’ve used is mostly from $1-2 and $2-5 NLHE. All of the game footage is of No-Limit Hold’em.
A note about the players featured in these videos: I am not in any way implying that the players used as examples are ‘bad players,’ nor am I even necessarily implying that the featured players have reliable poker tells. In many cases, footage was chosen because it was a good example of how a behavior typically shows up from average players, not because it was proven to be a reliable poker tell for that individual. It’s entirely possible for the players I featured to be behaviorally well-balanced over time. In other words, if you are featured in the video, please do not take offense.
Many of the concepts in these videos are admittedly covered in my books. The main value will be in seeing real-life situations and behaviors, which can be much more memorable and instructive compared to written descriptions.
Also, many people say that they are primarily visual learners, so these videos could be much more educational for them than are the books.
Also, being able to see compilations of real-world behaviors lets you make your own judgments about the situations and the factors that might be present during a hand. So even if you end up disagreeing with some of my points, you’ll still have something to think about and potentially learn something from.
Although a lot of the general concepts are the same as those in my books, there are some improvements in content. For one thing, my understanding of behavior has changed and improved over the last few years. (For example, the more time passes, the more problems I see with my first book, Reading Poker Tells, because I’m continually finding better ways to think about behavior and better ways to phrase things.) So there are some concepts in these videos that are different and more advanced than content in my first book. In some ways, I think these videos do a better job of tying together general patterns and other related behaviors.
Also: there is one video about a verbal tell that I didn't talk about in my book Verbal Poker Tells. (It’s the one thing in hindsight that I would add to Verbal Poker Tells, and I may add it in a future edition.)
All my products come with a money-back guarantee. If you're not fully satisfied with the quality of the videos, just send me an email telling me so, and I'll send you a full reimbursement.