Poker Tells with Zachary Elwood – PPP #40

This week we have Zachary Elwood on the show, author of three bestselling books on poker tells. It won’t come as a surprise that this episode is on, well, poker tells!

Zach shares some very interesting tips with us on how you can use tells to your advantage at the table. And how to defend yourself against giving off tells to your opponents.

The strat chat (33:00) focuses on a hand between Blumstein and Pollak from the final table of this year’s WSOP Main Event. Pollak lays down a straight on the river and probably got a verbal tell off of Blumstein that helped him in his decision.

WSOP Main Event Final Table: Blumstein v Pollak

Players left: 7
Blinds/antes: 800,000/1,600,000/200,000

Hesp (CO) 39M, Blumstein (BU) 159M, Pollak (BB) 60M


Hesp raises to 3.5M, Blumstein calls, Pollak (Jd-9c) calls


Qd-9h-9d (Pot 12.9M)

Pollak checks, Hesp bets 5M, Blumstein raises to 12M, Pollak calls, Hesp folds


Td (Pot 41.7M)

Pollak checks, Blumstein checks


Kh (Pot 41.7)

Pollak checks, Blumstein bets 8M, Pollak folds


On the river Pollak is thinking about it, and says “sick turn” a couple of times. Then Pollak says with a grin: “What are you on, Scott? Speak!”

Blumstein replies: “You’re going to let me bluff you on national TV?”

Pollak thinks about it for a couple of minutes and folds, saying “you have it”.

Do you think Blumstein gave off a verbal tell here? Was it wise to make this comment?

Learn More about Tells

Would like you to learn more about tells? Then Zach’s books are a great starting point. He’s written a complete trilogy on tells:

  • Reading Poker Tells
  • Verbal Poker Tells
  • Exploiting Poker Tells

You can find out more and order his books on his website.

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