How to Have a Good Poker Face
If you are interested in poker, you know one of the tricks of the trade is a good poker face. If you are new to the game, how do you poker bluff? Bluffing is different for everyone. You need to learn the tricks and the trades of not reacting to your cards. You also need to learn how not to respond to what other people do during the game. Not sure where to start? Here are a few tips and tricks. With a little practice, you can learn how to poker bluff with the best of them.
How to Keep Your Face Relaxed
It is easy to practice your good poker face in the mirror. However, it is much harder to maintain a good poker face when you are in game mode, and tensions are high. When tensions rise during the game, it is much more difficult to contain your reaction. You need to practice relaxing and controlling your emotions during a poker game. Your face is one way that your opponents can tell what cards you have or don’t have. In other words, your face can tell people things you don’t want them to know. If you can’t keep your emotions in check, you lose power over your opponents. To relax your face, you will need to clear your mind. Picture your facial muscles relaxing. Take a deep breath, and relax your body to a natural sitting position. If you are able to mask your reactions, you will be able to maintain control in stressful situations.
Eye Contact Is Important
Once you can maintain a relaxed facial expression, you will need to work on keeping eye contact with other players. If you are able to lock eyes with other players, it shows that you are not intimidated by them. It also shows you aren’t hiding anything—which may or may not be true. If you can’t stare someone down, stare at the bridge of the nose, which will help you keep your focus.
That Being Said…
If you stare continuously, you may compromise your play. People may think you are a freak, and they won’t want to play with you. In addition, if you are staring too hard, other players may notice. They may believe you are worried about your hand or your chances in the game. You need to remind yourself to blink so that your eyes don’t dry out. Most likely, you will need to practice this part of a poker bluff. Have a friend sit opposite you at a table so they can watch your facial expressions. If you are blinking excessively, players may think you are nervous.
Keep In Mind to Relax Your Jaw
While you are playing, be sure to keep your jaw relaxed. Because your mouth is the main anchor for your face, it will be the first place to show tension. This means if you smile, frown, or smirk—it will show on your face. Try relaxing your jaw by allowing your jaw to drop. Open and close your smile to create space between your back teeth and to help your further relax.
If you grind your teeth when you are stressed, you need to stop. If you clench your jaw, you are showing that you are nervous, which means you are giving yourself away. Also, you want to avoid smiling. Some people involuntarily smile when they are tense, so be careful not to smile. Also, poker players look for people to show teeth as a sign of anxiety, so watch your mouth movements.
Eye Movements Are Also a Tell
You may be tempted to look out of the corners of your eyes to see what other players are doing during a poker bluff. It’s better if you don’t do that. Other players could notice and assume that you either have an excellent hand—or a terrible hand. This will take some practice as well. Be sure not to squint or raise your eyebrows as well. Some poker players wear sunglasses when they play poker. If it is allowed at the game or tournament, you may want to think about wearing sunglasses. That way, you don’t have to give anything away with your eyes and you will have a good poker face.
Work on Your Posture
At times during the game, you need to make sure that your posture is relaxed. Many poker players have a tendency to hunch over their cards, which can be seen as a tell for tension. Between hands, you can take a long deep breath, raise your shoulders as high as you can, then drop them. Arch your back like a cat, and then settle it naturally. Shake out your arms and legs, and do a couple of head rolls. This will break up any tension you have in your shoulders, back, and neck. Find a natural posture that works for you and that you can maintain throughout the game.
It’s All in the Voice
Make sure that you are speaking with a smooth voice when you poker bluff. If your voice quivers or jumps to another octave, your opponents will know you are nervous. Keep your voice even. You can help yourself by clearing your throat or take a breath before you speak. Also, while some poker players talk constantly, for many of them, this is a tell that they are nervous. Some professional poker players talk nonstop as a distracting technique. But unless you are a master at it, keep your words to a minimum.
The Art of Bluffing
While bluffing is actually used more in the movies than in real life, it still does happen. Poker bluffs generally happens in a large group since someone is likely to have good cards.
You should avoid bluffing another player who has a shorter stack than you. They will be trying to win more money by placing a strong bet. Some players may choose to go all in. You also want to avoid bluffing with other players who have more money than you do in your stack. If they have more money than you, they may call your bluff because they can afford to.
Instead, look to bluff those players who have a stack about the same size as yours. If you have a medium stack, you don’t look desperate. They are more likely to play more conservatively to protect their stack.
Bluffing is an art, and you will need to practice. Remember the best poker players have practiced deceiving other players thousands of times. When you are bluffing, you need to act carefree and fun loving, or continue to play with a straight face. The most important aspect of bluffing is that you must be prepared to fold if you have to. Keeping this in mind, you want to bluff when you have a decent, but not great hand. Remember, bluffing is a show, so put on a good one.
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Grayson met Thomas Winston at university and has stayed in touch ever since. Now living and working in America as a logistics specialist, Grayson has long shared Thomas’ love of real money online casino games but prefers roulette and craps to blackjack. She signed on readily as a contributor when Thomas told her he was planning to launch the Top Casino Picks site to share her experience, tips and tricks, when it comes to real money online casinos.
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