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The Chip Glance

The Chip Glance
by Chad Holloway of

In poker there are a number of mannerisms that players exhibit known as "tells." They are termed "tells" because they "tell" you something about your opponent. More specifically, they can tell you whether your opponent holds a legitimate hand or is full of bull. These tells are subconscious (unless your opponent is clever enough to give off false tells) and are usually accurate. One such tell is known as the "chip glance." In More Hold'em Wisdom for All Players, Daniel Negreanu describes what exactly the chip glance entails:

"You're playing Texas hold'em and when the flop is dealt, you notice that your opponent quickly looks down at his chips. This tell is very common, especially among novice players. Why? It's a purely subconscious reaction. When the flop comes giving you a great hand, your brain sends out a signal to check the size of your stack to see how much you can bet. Players don't even realize that they do it, but they do. Be observant and you'll catch it every time.

As soon as the flop hits, the eyes of a player who makes his hand will quickly dart towards his chips and then back up again."

The chip glance reveals a lot of information regarding your opponent's hand and you should keep an eye out for it in any live tournament or cash game. Obviously there is no need to worry about it in online play, since you're unable to physically see your opponents.

Now, you might be wondering if there is any way to defend against the chip glance and there certainly are. One popular way is to wear sunglasses. Sunglasses are worn at the table for a number of reasons including to hide your eyes from opponents, keeping your opponents in the dark as to who you're watching, and simply to hide boredom or fatigue. Whatever the case may be, by wearing sunglasses you are able to shield your eyes from your opponents, thus defending yourself from falling victim to the chip glance.

Another popular way of avoiding the chip glance is to stare at the board when it comes, no matter what it may be. By consistently staring at the board each and every time, your opponent will have difficulty deciphering information from you. After all, you'll be staring at the board when you hit the flop and staring at it when you totally miss; either way, your opponent won't be able to tell which it is.

The chip glance is one of many tells that reveals a lot of information. Being aware of it and actively looking for it will allow you to get away from bad situations while saving you a great deal of money. On the flip side, be aware that your opponents will look to see if you are glancing at your chips after the flop. This means you should be taking precautions, whether it be sunglasses or developing a consistent routine, and giving them as little information as possible. This will ensure that you don't betray your hand and are able to get maximum value when you hold the goods.

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