Can You Spot a Poker Pro from a Non-Poker Player

The way a player plays poker, it tells a whole lot about his strategy as well as his personality, character and behaviour! Remember Matt Damon in the movie ‘Rounders’? Remember his strategic advice that said, “If you can’t spot the sucker in your first half-hour at the table, then you are the sucker.” Well, it certainly applies to people who play or don’t play poker at all! It’s that easy.

Here’s how you could spot a pro from someone who doesn’t know a thing about poker:

Poker Face – The easiest one out of the list. A poker face is a face betraying zero emotion. A pro would give out zero information through his untouched poker face when they’re involved in a hand. They’re going to maintain an expressionless face whereas an amateur or a non-player would tense up with every bad hand or if a significant bet is involved.

Buy-in & Bet Timing – A low-key player tends to make a secretive buy-in, hiding their money. If they’re doing that, they would tend to call less often and bluff more often than would often describe them as someone who takes rational decisions. An inexperienced player would do just the opposite!

Also Read: Advantages of Becoming a Professional at Poker

Breathing Pattern – A professional player’s breathing pattern can be very meaningful in depicting his behaviour and play. Their breathing changes are almost never intentional. Shallow breathing or a fake pretence to avoid it completely resembles the personality of someone who knows what poker is all about but hasn’t played it yet! Also, the closer you are to the player on the table, the better you can spot this difference.

Stillness and Movement – Someone who is more relaxed and shows looseness in their position and play means they know what they’re doing and it’s not their first game. Whereas a person, who gets anxious, flicks his hand, moves in his seat, moves his eyes don’t really know that these little things matter in a game, which means they’re not really that familiar with strategic play.

Emotional Play and Control – Amateurs, recreational player or even inexperienced ones show signs of lack of control. They take more excited risks, are not patient and would also play under the influence of alcohol sometimes. A professional player is always emotionally detached from the game, would take calculated risks and strive to improve his strategy that shows signs of control in his personal and professional life!


Poker is a game of deception. Some might fake a tell, others would judge too soon. But maybe you’ll have a better idea to observe a poker pro’s behaviour from someone who’s playing his first game

For more information about how to play poker and poker strategy, keep reading PokerShots!

Can You Spot a Poker Pro from a Non-Poker Player

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