Poker is a game of making decisions without having a complete picture of all available information. The fact that we don’t have all the information sitting in front of us doesn’t mean that we can’t learn or infer the information based on the people we’re playing against.
This means that body language and facial expressions are both important aspects of playing poker. If you don’t know how to control your face or your body, your opponents are going to know what’s in your hand without having to look.
That’s why maintaining a killer poker face is your number one strategy to winning a poker game.
Do you know how to create a poker face that’ll fool even the most seasoned poker vets? Read on to find out how!
Poker Face Tells
Before we can start discussing the things that make a successful poker face, let’s take a second to talk about what physical clues could give you away.
Weak Body Language
There are a lot of different ways to tell if someone has a weak hand. Here are some of them:
- Fake smiling
- Lip biting
- Mouth breathing
- Eye rolling
- Excessive blinking
- Holding breath
- Tense mouth
- Forcefully putting chips into the pot
- Treating hole cards without care
These are some of the more common tells of a weak hand.
Strong Body Language
Like with weak body language, there are many different tells of a strong hand. We’ll list a few of them here:
- Acting weak
- Pointing things upwards
- Taking big breaths
- Not blinking
- Looking at stacks of chips a lot
- Sliding chips into the pot with care
- Being too relaxed
- Sudden sitting up
There are plenty more signs of a strong hand out there, and you should avoid them all.
To Be a Winner You Must Act Like a Winner
If you want to learn how to create a winning poker face, the first thing you should do is look at the pros. Turn on a professional poker game and pay attention to the way the people playing look.
There’s a psychological approach to success called neuro-linguistic programming that involves studying the strategies and behaviors of successful people and applying those same strategies and behaviors to reach goals. While it might feel like an act of copying to model the actions of successful poker players, it’s actually a proven method of success.
Learn to Disassociate
This sounds pretty intense for a simple hand of poker, right? Dissociation is the ability to separate yourself from a situation emotionally. It’s a way to put distance between you and your body during a game of poker to get better control of your emotions.
Think of yourself as a bi-layered being. You have a body and a mind, and they’re both connected. If you start to feel a certain emotion, you can bet that within seconds or even less, your body is going to start to respond.
To know how to dissociate, you have to know how you behave in regular circumstances. Then you can control and manipulate your behavior to have better control over your body.
There’s no way to separate your mind from your body in a complete way. However, you might be able to disconnect enough that you don’t feel your emotions.
Try to separate those two layers of your bi-layered being. Imagine you are sitting far away watching your body work, paying attention but not invested in any emotional way. Try doing this every time you sit down at the poker table.
Over time, you’ll notice that you feel less connected to the outcome of the game. You won’t be as excited when you win or as angry when you lose. That means that your body won’t give off as many tells and it won’t alert the other players at the table to the hand you have.
Playing in a Consistent Way
Another important part of creating the best poker face is to play in a consistent way. This means that you spend the same amount of time doing every part of the game, no matter what your cards are.
You can practice doing this at home by yourself. Sit down and turn on the timer app on your phone (or use a watch). The important thing is that you can see the exact number of seconds that pass.
Then, pick up two cards from your deck. Memorize them and then check the timer. How long did it take you to remember your cards?
Repeat this a few times so you have an average time.
Then focus on laying cards down. Focus on the time it takes you to place the cards on the table and the motion you use. A good way to do this is to ask a friend to help you, that way you can stop focusing on the timer and instead focus on memorizing your movements.
Another thing you should pay attention to is what you do with your eyes. It’s a good idea to pick a spot on the table to focus your eyes on so you can relax. The important thing here is to make sure that you don’t look around too often or that you don’t look into other player’s eyes and give away important information by accident.
Like you shouldn’t move your eyes around too much, don’t move your body around. As we mentioned before, excessive fidgeting gives away a lot of information about your hand, whether you want it to or not. Find a spot for you to relax and return your body to after every movement, and focus on keeping it the same no matter how the game is going.
Also, avoid speaking to the other players at the game. When you get too comfortable, it becomes easy to let your body language slip. It’s important to relax at the poker table, but not get too relaxed.
Tools to Use
If you’re struggling to maintain your composure during a game of poker, or if another player is attempting to get into your head with their words, there are still things you can do to protect yourself.
Sunglasses are a great option if you don’t think you can control your eye movements enough during a game. This gets even better if you can learn how to move only your eyes and not your head to see around the table.
If your table allows headphones, putting them in to listen to calming music is a great way to distract yourself from another player trying to mess with you. Make sure you don’t listen to anything with too much emotion or you risk putting your body language on blast.
Use a Poker Face to Win the Right Way
At the end of the day, one of the best pieces of advice we can give you for keeping a great poker face is to respond the same way, no matter if you win or lose. The more you can learn how to control your face and your emotions, the fewer people will be able to learn from your reactions.
If you want to be unreadable at a poker table, you have to learn how to make your entire body unreadable.
For more information about successful gambling strategies, visit us today!