Tips for a Better Poker Face
Maybe you bond with a grandparent by playing a round of poker with them at your assisted living facility. Or maybe you’re a serious player who has your sights set on the World Series of Poker. Either way, having a good poker face is essential to success at the table.
Here are some tips for mastering yours.
Relax Your Face Muscles
Facial muscles are the muscles that allow you to move your facial features, including your eyebrows, chin, forehead, lips, and cheeks.
To create a blank slate face at the poker table, you need to relax these muscles. To do this, practice making a range of facial expressions and then releasing them. This will help train your muscles to remain relaxed in uncomfortable situations. For example, practice smiling and then releasing the tension.
Avoid Exaggerating Movements
Small, slow movements are one of the best ways to ensure you don’t give anything away while playing poker. When you’re betting or calling a move, keep your motions steady and measured. Avoid making any quick or large gestures that could reveal your emotions and intentions.
For example, when your opponent is making their move, withhold from reacting with a wide-eyed expression. Instead, maintain a neutral face and wait for the outcome before you adjust your reactions.
Know Your Tells
A tell may be described as a habitual gesture or movement that you may not even be aware of, such as tapping your foot or biting your lip.
All players have certain tells that they make— usually without realizing it —that can give away information to their opponents. For example, if you’re bluffing yet nervously tapping the table, your opponents may be able to interpret this sign and adjust their strategy accordingly.
Take some time to observe yourself in the middle of a game and notice any signs you’re giving off -maybe you swallow when you have poor cards, or gasp when you get good ones. Then, when you’re aware of them, try to break the habit and remain still while playing.
Making eye contact with an opponent can be a tricky situation. If you overdo it, they’ll be able to read your expressions and intentions. But if you avoid eye contact altogether, they may know you’re hiding something.
The best way to use eye contact is intentionally and sparingly. Make short glances with your opponents to show that you’re paying attention, but don’t stare them down.
Having a good poker face is essential for success at the table. By following these tips and practicing often, you can master your own poker face and become a force to be reckoned with! So start by relaxing your facial muscles, avoiding exaggerated movements, knowing your tics, and making intentional eye contact with your opponents. And don’t forget to have fun while you’re at it! Poker is meant to be enjoyed after all.