“Verbal Poker Tells” Review

[DD] “The second book was also about tells,” Deb the Duchess continued, “specifically Verbal Poker Tells, Zachary Elwood’s sequel to his 2012 Reading Poker Tells.”

[LL] “Actions speak louder than words though”, Leroy the Lion contested.

[DD] “Maybe. But sometimes all you have to work with is what you hear at the table.”

[RR] “Or read in an online chat box”, Roderick the Rock contributed.

[DD] “Not covered in the book but not nearly as common as live table talk anyway.”

[LL] “I’ve had online opponents keep up a running monologue, I concede that was very unusual. I personally almost never typed in the chat box except at the end of an event.”

[RR] “We’re pretty much stuck with live games right for now anyway.”

[DD] “And Elwood does an amazing job with them. He’s spent half a decade collecting enough live examples to get a significant sample size, and then he went through literally hundreds of hours of televised poker to build his database.

For something that has always been more of an art than a science, this book makes a noble effort to sort out the meaningful statements from the meaningless.”

[LL] “Isn’t that what every book on poker tells has tried to do?”

[DD] “Maybe, but even from the beginning, Caro firmly planted the idea that every tell could be real or fake. Elwood presents evidence for what each tell usually means.

In particular, people (yes, even poker players) don’t like to lie. Talk when the pot is small is usually from weaker hands and isn’t as meaningful as talk when the pot is big, which usually comes from stronger hands. Elwood also covers other audio signals like coughs, timing, attitude, and common statements like ‘I’ve got a good hand’, ‘I’ll show you’, and ‘How much is it?'”

[RR] “So, how much is it?”

[DD] “$26.95 list, and I didn’t save much on that. But I thought it was worth the price, since as much as I liked Elwood’s first book, I thought this one was better.”

Title Verbal Poker Tells
Author Zachary Elwood
Year 2014
Skill Level Any
Pros A master’s thesis on tells based on a lot of real-word research.
Cons A fair amount of repetition, especially with some of the televised examples.
Rating 4.5
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