|Quoting AirWillie6475 (Reply 1):|
The problem with poker is that it is very easy to trick the other guy. Even if the guy is fiddling with the cards or has that smile you don't know for sure if he has something or doesn't have anything at all and is just bluffing. That's the challenge I guess. One major giveaway that the other guy doesn't have anything is if he tries to have eye contact with you or others for more than a few seconds, that's just a tactic used to scare the other into thinking they should fold because he has a big hand. More than likely he doesn't have anything. On the other hand, I'd say usually if someone doesn't have eye contact at all than that means that he has something big. Another thing, if an inexperienced player starts playing with cards/chips and acts nervous that means that he doesn't have anything, if an experienced guy does the same thing then that means that he is trying to trick you into thinking he doesn't have anything so be careful not to raise him too much.
I've been playing poker since I was 14. I've played every Thursday night in a local league for two years. I've won some tournaments here and there, nothing major, but enough to be regarded as a fairly respectable poker player. And I have to disagree with everything you said above.
Every person has a unique, individual tell. The only way you can really know how they react when in certain situations is to observe them and their play, and memorize. There's no general rule about novices playing with cards/chips and veterans trying to emulate that. The eye contact rule? It can mean ANYTHING. I often engage eye contact for an extended period to try and figure the other guy out.
General signs of nervousness are yawning, scratching, and fidgeting. Outside of those very general guidelines, there's nothing else. Watch the person's behaviour, make a mental note of their revealed hands, match behaviour to action, and then remember it. It's the only way.