When you play poker your goal is to gain as much information as possible from other players while limiting the amount of information you give to your opponents. This information comes from your body language, the tone of your voice, and your face. Poker is won and lost on game play – the hand you have is only a tiny percentage of what you need to win big in poker. One way to stop giving yourself away in poker is to maintain your poker face.
What’s A Poker Face?
You will have heard the phrase poker face in all kinds of situations, not just in Poker itself. A poker face is where you have an expression that is entirely neutral and constant, regardless of what is happening around you. When you maintain a poker face you are keeping your face completely “straight” – opponents will not be able to tell when you are bluffing, when you have a good hand, when you have a bad hand, or when you are simply observing others. It is difficult to maintain a poker face when playing live poker, just as it is in the face of a problem in the office, or an embarrassing situation with your partner.
Tips For Keeping A Poker Face
There are many ways you can teach yourself to maintain a poker face – some are more successful than others. One tip is to watch yourself in a mirror before you start playing live poker games. But this does not often equate to being able to maintain a poker face in front of opponents – it is a very different thing being in front of the mirror. Yet, it could help you practice and hone your facial expressions in a calm manner. You could also practice keeping your poker face in front of other people, before you play. Or even when you play – you could practice with friends and have them tell you when they think you are bluffing or when you have a strong hand.
One of the best ways to stop giving yourself away in poker is to control your breathing. Your breath naturally becomes more shallow and erratic when you are stressed. When you control your breath you not only control how you feel, but also how you display yourself to others.
Props for a Poker Face
When you cover your eyes and your face you minimise the risk of involuntary movements betraying your position. You can wear a cap pulled down low over your face, sunglasses or tinted glasses, or a sweatshirt pulled up over your mouth. Just don’t do anything that makes it uncomfortable to play, otherwise you will find it difficult to keep your movements from betraying your hand.