Arms Give Off Greater Tells Than Faces According to Poker Study


poker tellsAccording to a new academic research study at Tufts University in the United States, the significance of arm movements at the poker table in comparison to the proverbial “Poker Face”. New research shows that hand and arm movements when placing chips can betray the value of the cards a player is holding.

Researchers from the University have determined that the bet-placing arm movements of players holding strong hands are smoother than those with weak cards. The hand and arm movements may reflect confidence in those holding good hands and may be affected by anxiety for those players holding poor hands. Observers can make a correct judgment in just two seconds.

Keeping a poker face may not be enough to conceal a winning hand, as players may be able to regulate their facial expressions.

Researchers carried out three separate studies where men and women viewed 20 two-second-long video clips of professional poker players and rated the hand they were holding based on views of the face or the arms. Results show that judgments based on players’ faces were poorer than random guesses. That, said the researchers, suggests that not only were players able to conceal the quality of their hands, but also to create deceptive expressions. However, when the non-expert volunteers made judgments based on arm movements, the accuracy was better than chance.

With all this research, many of the game’s top pros still maintain that physical tells are not as important as some newcomers to the game think they are. Betting patterns are said to be key.


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