Joe Navarro answers your questions: June 2010



Beating pros involves more than just knowing their tells

I’ve read a lot of pros love to hear you speak. Would you ever consider sitting down and playing poker against these players since you’re so keyed in on their behaviors and mannerisms? Chris Volukis,  Frankfort, Ky.

Chris, that’s a great question. I have trained more than a dozen pros, most of whom don’t want this known for obvious reasons.

One of the things I’ve found in teaching at the WSOP Academy with Greg Raymer and Annie Duke is that their level of play is several orders of magnitude higher than I will ever achieve. Anyone who has attended one of these camps will tell you the pros think and analyze at a level that’s truly superb.

I don’t have that skill; I don’t have the ability to do the calculations in my head, etc. I know my weaknesses. So on that reason alone I wouldn’t do it. I have played with Jennifer Tilly, Sam Simon and others, and have done OK, but OK is not good enough for me when money is involved. Besides, my attention span for almost anything is about a half hour, so that’s why you don’t see me out there.

— 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. Email Joe at and he’ll answer your questions.

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