Joe Navarro answers your questions: June 2009

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What do you see as the single biggest tell among your students and casual observations at the poker tables? — FRANK, TARPON SPRINGS

Frank, I like that question because as it happens, there are some tells that are extremely accurate. For instance, lip-pursing, where you look like you are going to kiss the air, is about 95 percent accurate that the person doing it does not like his hand, is uncomfortable with his situation, or will fold. Of course, since Read ’em and Reap came out, I catch some people doing this as a bluff. Good luck.

What are universal tells even pros give off without knowing it? — WOODCUTTA VIA ANTE UP FORUM

I find that with major players when they have a rag hand that’s when they’re most verbally aggressive and then when they have the nuts they’re quiet. They think no one notices. It’s part of the survival instinct that when we’re frustrated and feel challenged we engage the fight response, which in modern terms is to argue, vilify, call people stupid, or stare them down.

— Ex-FBI counterintelligence officer Joe Navarro of Tampa specialized in behavioral analysis for 25 years. He’s a star lecturer with the WSOP Academy and has penned Read ’Em and Reap, which you can find on Amazon.com. Email Joe at
editor@anteupmagazine.com and he’ll answer your questions.