Having and maintaining a good poker face is crucial to your success at the poker table. If you end up looking like a deer in headlights whenever a big decision comes your way, your opponents are likely to pick up on this, and use it to gauge the strength of your hand.
Whereas, if you’re able to remain relaxed, composed, and emotionless, you have a better chance of milking every last cent from your opponents! Check out these poker face tips to find out how you keep a straight face.
Poker Face Tips
Having a poker face is one of the key elements that makes a successful poker player. Look at pros like Phil Ivey and Phil Hellmuth, they’re able to remain emotionless when they’re playing, and they give their opponents nothing to work with in terms of a read or a giveaway.
- The Best Poker Face Tips
- How to Keep a Poker Face
- Control Your Expressions
- Identify Your Own Tendencies
- Learn About Body Language
- Practice Dissociation
- Look Consistent
- Use the Right Speech Play
- Frequently Asked Questions
How to Keep a Poker Face
New players always wonder how to have a poker face. The reality is, when you’re playing poker in land-based casinos, or in specialized poker rooms, it takes time and practice to really learn to manage your emotions and always remain composed.
This page is designed for poker played in a land-based casino and how to maintain a poker face in these environments. If you’re interested in learning about online table games instead and happen to be in West Virginia, check out our online gambling in WV online roulette guide. If, on the other hand, you find yourself in Michigan, you can try out the great poker options we have found for online play.
In the rest of this post, we’re going to list six poker face tips you can employ in your own games, to hopefully improve your chances of being a superb poker player:
Control Your Expressions
A poker face refers to the ability to control your expressions and emotions, so that you don’t reveal any information about your hand to your opponents. Maintaining an impassive face is important because it helps to conceal the strength or weakness of your hand. This can have a big impact on the decisions your opponent makes.
One tip for maintaining a poker face is to practice in front of a mirror, so you can become aware of any subconscious expressions that may give away your hand. Another tip is to focus on keeping a neutral expression and avoiding any sudden movements or gestures that could be interpreted as a tell.
Additionally, it can be helpful to try to remain calm and relaxed during the game, as stress can cause unwanted expressions to show on your face. Of course, this works the other way around too, and you can gain valuable information about your opponents by simply being aware of their expressions and observing their reactions.
Identify Your Habits or Common Gestures
Identifying and changing your habits is a key aspect to maintaining a poker face. Many players have subconscious habits or tendencies that give away their hand, such as touching their face or fidgeting when nervous. To avoid these, it’s important to become aware of them and work to eliminate them.
One way to identify your habits or gestures is to have someone watch you play and take note of any actions or expressions that may give away your hand. Another option is to film yourself playing and review the footage to look for any tells.
Once you have identified these, the next step is to rectify them. This may involve practicing mindfulness and self-awareness during the game, so you can remain aware of your actions and expressions.
You may also try to replace unconscious gestures with more neutral actions, such as holding a chip or a pen, to keep your hands occupied. It takes time and perseverance, but you can train yourself to control your expressions and maintain a poker face, even in high-pressure situations.
Learn About Body Language
Body language is another important aspect of maintaining a poker face. The way you hold yourself, move, and make eye contact can reveal information about your hand. To maintain your poker face, it’s important to be aware of your body language and make sure you don’t accidentally give information away.
One of the most effective tips is to always sit the same way at the table. Try to avoid fidgeting, crossing your legs, or making any sudden movements that could be interpreted as a tell. Additionally, keeping eye contact with other players can be a powerful tool for masking your emotions, but this can take a lot of practice.
Our next tip for how to maintain a poker face is by dissociating, which is usually considered to be a negative thing. Those who are dissociated often feel disconnected from their thoughts, memories, feelings, and surroundings. However, poker is one of the few places where it’s a very valuable skill.
Playing poker can be an emotional rollercoaster. One minute, you could be winning huge amounts and feeling on top of the world. The next minute, you’ve lost a huge chunk of your stack, and you’re beginning to feel you’re on tilt.
While it’s natural to cycle through different emotions when playing poker, being able to dissociate yourself from these feelings can help you stay calm and composed – even when you’re on a losing streak. It’s easier said than done, but some players listen to relaxing music and others focus on their breathing.
Be a Consistent-Looking Player
Being a consistent-looking player is another important part of your poker face. When you consistently present yourself in the same manner, it makes it more difficult for your opponents to read your expressions and guess the strength of your hand.
One way to do this is by having a set routine and sticking to it. For example, you may always take a certain amount of time to make your decisions, or you may always arrange your chips in a certain way. By having a routine and sticking to it, you can minimize the chances of your opponents guessing the strength of your hand.
Another aspect of this is to control your emotional reactions. Whether you’re winning or losing, it’s important to maintain a neutral expression. If you want to see how to maintain a poker face in action, watch some of the pros below, who’re well-known for their ability to remain composed in incredibly stressful situations:
Use the Right Speech Play
Speech play is an important part of poker, and it’s worth remembering that the words you choose and the way you speak can reveal information about your hand. As a result, it’s always important to be mindful of your speech when you’re playing poker.
One useful tip is to avoid using phrases that could give away information about your hand, such as “I have a strong hand” or “I’m bluffing.” Even if you’re lying, it can be a tell. You should also avoid making any changes to your speech, such as speaking faster or more loudly, as this could indicate that you have a good or bad hand.
Frequently Asked Questions
Using the poker face tips on this page will allow you to become a stronger, more competent, and harder to read player. If you’re just starting on your journey of how to keep a poker face, remember that it takes time and practice. Below, we’ll answer a few commonly asked questions to finish off this post.
What is a poker face?
A poker face refers to the ability to control your expressions and emotions while playing poker. This is done so that you don’t accidentally reveal any information about the cards you’re holding to your opponents.
Why is a poker face important?
Having a poker face is important because it conceals the strength or weakness of your hand and can impact the outcome of the game. For example, when it comes to the showdown, and a big bet has been made, experienced players will often observe their opponent for a while to try and see whether they have a strong or weak hand.
How do you maintain a poker face?
It’s important for you to understand that learning and maintaining a poker face takes time and practice. However, there are some tips and tricks you can use to expedite the process. These tips include practicing in front of a mirror, focusing on keeping a neutral expression, and trying to remain calm and relaxed during the game.
How can you identify tendencies that may give away your hand?
To identify tendencies that may give away your hand, you can have someone watch you play and take note of any actions or expressions, or you can film yourself playing and review the footage.
What’s the right speech play in poker?
Again, learning the right speech play in poker takes a lot of time. It involves you being mindful of the words you choose and the way you speak, avoiding words or phrases that could give away information about your hand, and paying attention to what your opponents are saying.