There are many different ways to be good at poker, ranging from skill to concentration – it’s very different to something like Blackjack or playing Australian pokies online. You need to master the poker face.
But what exactly is a poker face? You may hear the term a lot – whether in movies or on the radio when we’re listening to Lady Gaga – and it’s actually quite simple. The term “poker face” refers to the ability to try and hide your emotions and maintain neutral body language. The purpose of this is to not give away your hand – that is, how good or bad your cards are – to your opponents.
This comes down to the fact that sometimes, being successful at poker isn’t just about having the better hand. It’s about being able to read your opponents and to try and not allow them to read you.
So, now that we know what it is, let’s get into our top tips for how to master the art of the poker face.
Be Aware of and Control Your Facial Expressions
Some people have more expressive faces than others, so be aware of what your face does involuntarily in reaction to certain things happening. You may not do it on purpose, but you may unconsciously grimace when you get a bad hand, for example, or smile when you have a good one. Try to stop any kind of display of emotions that is authentic.
But you can also use facial expressions strategically. If you do it subtly, you can play the long game and try to dupe your opponents into thinking you’re happy when you actually have a bad hand, or vice versa.
Control Your Emotions
If you’re a passionate person, it’s going to be important that you practice controlling your emotions and try not to have any emotional outbursts. Not only does this distract you from your game, but it tells your opponents what you’re thinking.
Maintain Consistent Body Language
Body language is just like facial expressions in many ways. It can be an easy tell for your opponents if you’re not aware of your own body language. Or you can try and use it – subtly – to trick them into believing what you want them to.
Use Eye Contact Strategically
Eye contact can also indicate nervousness or confidence, just as much as looking certain people directly in the eyes or avoiding other people. Again, be aware of what you’re doing and try and use eye contact strategically.
Develop a Routine That You Stick to With Each Hand
Whether you’re at a casino or a private table, if you do the same thing with every hand, it’ll be more difficult for your opponents to read whether you’re doing well or badly.
Don’t Converse Unnecessarily
Chatting to your opponents will distract you, and you may end up giving something away. Avoid chatting completely! Focus on the game and don’t make small talk – it’s also generally frowned upon.
Stay Focused and Note of Your Opponents
Most importantly, always keep your head in the game and make sure you’re aware of your opponents. Don’t get distracted!