As poker’s big event nears, watch television



The World Series of Poker is upon us again, and as the big one draws near you just know professional poker players are doing everything to prepare, including watching clips of players at past events and analyzing their own performances. So what should the everyday player do to get ready? Here are some thoughts from my experience working with pros.
You might be well-versed in theory and statistics but that doesn’t mean you have everything covered. Pros look at their performance over the past year and come up with new strategies to implement. They also may research any articles or columns any of their potential opponents may have published, even blogs.

Watch their greatest hits

Watching clips of top players is helpful. Since you can see the hole cards it’s like knowing what pitch is coming or what play is being called. It may seem like a lot of work, but it will help you to better prepare and anticipate what potential players will do.

Why are you watching these videos? You’re looking for tells. I often instruct my students to watch the videos at a faster speed because that’s when the tells really present themselves. Signs of discomfort (hard swallows, facial touching, neck touching) and low-confidence displays (chin tucked in, shoulder near ears, hand-wringing) will jump out at you at this speed like a caricature.

Read and reread your books on tells and be sure to look at the pictures (hint: Read ’em and Reap or What Every Body is Saying). Use this to prime your thinking about tells. Even professional researchers will read each other’s materials because we forget. This is the best way to stay up with things you have read before and with the literature. I have supplied plenty of articles for Ante Up about tells. Go to, find them and read them thoroughly. You can also find additional information at

Poker seminars

Why not attend a poker camp? It will pay for itself in a short period of time. Having taught for years, I can attest these classes will take you from good to exceptional. When you’re being taught by the best how could you not have a tremendous advantage? This training is invaluable and tilts chance in your favor overwhelmingly.

Lastly, think about your tells. What is it about your play that says what you have? You’re constantly transmitting whether you’re weak, marginal or strong. You may think no one notices because you think you have a poker face, but there’s no such thing as a poker body; somewhere it leaks out. Have someone watch you or just set up video camera and train it on yourself while you play with friends. You’ll be surprised at how much information you’re leaking.

If you are thinking of winning, then you have to prepare like a winner.

— Ex-FBI counterintelligence officer Joe Navarro of Tampa specialized in behavioral analysis for 25 years. He has penned numerous nonverbal books, including his new Kindle book called 200 Poker Tells, which you can find on Email Joe at and he’ll answer your questions.

Ante Up Magazine

Ante Up Magazine