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Poker Rule #146: Don’t play with chips

This poker rule has a few bad side effects. Players can pick up tells by the way you play with your chips. If you watch the way a player plays with their chips all the time when he is nervous he will shuffle faster. The rate they shuffle will usually be the same as their heart rate. Often when a player has a bad hand, or is on a bluff a player will screw up their shuffle or drop a number of chips. The better they are at shuffling the better this tell is. Obviously if they cant shuffle and always drop chips it’s a worthless tell. Once you start playing with the chips it becomes a very difficult habit to break. I have tied rubber bands around my hand, taped my fingers everything. I still cant stop. I have become very aware of what I do with them so as not to reveal any information, but it would be much better not to start. It can hurt your hands. After doing the same motion for 6, 8, 12 hours straight your forearm will really start to hurt. It such a habit it keeps hurting all day. This can cause long term damage like repetitive stress problems and carpal tunnel syndrome.

The only real up side of playing with your chips is that it looks cool. Once you realize all the bad side effects you should make it one of your poker rules and don’t start.


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Comments (3)

I tend to shuffle chips while I play online poker as well and you know what I found? I actually can focus better on the game when I'm NOT shuffling chips. My mind seems less focused when I'm shuffling chips. But you're right, chip shuffling is an indication of how nervous, tense or frustrated a person is. I tend to notice that I grab for the chips after a bad hand and use it to work off some frustration. Once I realized that, I started putting my chips away.

Hey bud. You are right on with this one. I've picked off a lot of tells in the past based on what a player does with his chips. A lot of times, when players have marginal hands, they will shuffle their chips as a way to calm their nerves.

hmmm. that's a bit to think through....

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