A poker face is a blank expression that does not represent a positive or negative reaction about the game, with relaxed posture and calm interactions with other players
A calm, expressionless face like this can be difficult if you're tense, but by mastering and applying certain techniques, you can relax your face and prevent important information from leaking through your body. Once you have mastered the poker face, you will soon be able to win the poker game.
Part 1 of 3: Adjusting Facial Expressions
Step 1. Relax your face
Face is the first gate that determines victory. The key to poker is to make sure your emotions and reactions to the cards are not read by your opponent. Any kind of expression can reduce the strength of your situation. Clear your mind, relax your facial muscles, take a deep breath, and relax.
- You need to control the situation, and if you get too stressed, you can lose that control.
- Hiding reactions is an advantage because no one knows what you are thinking or what you will do.
Step 2. Maintain eye contact with other players
You can be stronger than all opponents with a confident and intimidating attitude by looking them in the eye. Looking into your eyes also shows that you're not hiding anything so they don't know what you've got. Look at the bridge of their nose so you can continue to stare and maintain focus.
Step 3. Blink occasionally
Staring unblinkingly into an empty room or focusing too much on the cards can also reduce the effectiveness of a poker face. Constant stares actually show that you're not paying attention, or that you're worried about the cards you're holding and your chances of winning. Remember to blink every now and then so your eyes don't dry out while concentrating.
- Blinking too often also indicates nervousness. So don't overdo it. Find a balance between blinking enough so you don't look like you're staring incessantly and focusing your eyes so you don't wander.
- Staring incessantly can also make the shoulders lift and is not good for posture.
- Too much focus on one thing can visually distract you too, and you may end up missing important games.
Step 4. Pinch your lips together and relax your jaw
The mouth is the main support for facial muscles. All sorts of tension, smiles, frowns, and smirks will affect the face as a whole. Relax the jaw first by loosening it to create space between the back teeth. Opening and closing your mouth several times can also help relax your jaw.
- Don't show your teeth. Your teeth will show when you smile or wince, and that means your mouth is moving while movement will reveal secrets.
- Don't grind your teeth. The jaw will show the pressure the teeth are under.
Step 5. Look straight ahead
Do not look up or left and right out of the corner of your eye. These are all clues your opponent can understand that you're hiding something, whether it's a good card or a bad card. It's difficult, but try to minimize movement. In fact, just raising your eyebrows can show your reaction.
Step 6. Wear sunglasses to hide the direction of view
To protect yourself, wear sunglasses so you don't have to worry about leaking secrets through your eyes. It's okay to wear sunglasses indoors as long as the light is bright.
Part 2 of 3: Improving Body Language
Step 1. Relax the posture
Inhale deeply, lift your shoulders up to your ears, then drop them. Arch your back, then let it go back in a natural upright position. Shake the tense arm or leg, and shake your head. All of these movements will restore good posture and relieve tension that can indicate anxiety.
Step 2. Don't move around or adjust your posture or clothing a lot
Small gestures can show emotions, such as excitement or nervousness. Notice if you make small movements caused by nervousness. Watch your own body to make sure there are no small movements like the following:
- Ringing the knuckle
- biting nails
- Finger tapping
- ringing feet
- Pulling on collars, ties, or sleeves
- Rubbing face, hands or arms
Step 3. Shift the tension to something else
Hold a stress ball or clasp your hands to release tension. It is difficult to relax the whole body consciously. So, if you're tense, try to only let one part of your body feel it.
- Hide movement or tension. For example, clasp your hands under a table or bring your knees together to direct tension at a point that your opponent doesn't notice.
- Do not grip the card too tightly as the knuckles will look white.
Part 3 of 3: Talking in a Neutral Voice
Step 1. Speak in a balanced and steady tone
Sound can express emotions. Vibrations in the voice or higher pitch can already give a leak to the opponent. Loosen your throat or take deep breaths before speaking so that you have enough air to speak in a neutral tone.
Step 2. Choose simple and few words
Focus on the facts of what happened, then you won't need many words. Confused about what to say, stuttering, or saying "umm" often can indicate that you're nervous or unsure. To speak in a tense situation, choose short words in a pleasant tone, and focus on the point.
- The best option is a one-word answer, especially in a game like poker. You should concentrate more on the game than chatting with your opponent.
- If you're playing with friends and not risking money, the atmosphere may be more relaxed so it's okay to chat. However, pay attention to your every reaction when checking cards.
Step 3. Nod your head if you are not comfortable speaking
When asked by a bookie or someone else, you can answer “yes” or “no” by nodding or shaking your head. If you're not comfortable opening your mouth for fear that your opponent will be able to read your voice, use relaxed body language to convey your answer.
- To distract from the urge to talk, chew gum or eat a snack.
- It's best to think about what you are going to say before speaking. That way, you won't sound happy or disappointed.
Step 4. Confuse your opponent by talking non-stop
As a counterintuitive move, you can comment on each card dealt or the outcome of the game. You can utter fake reactions to confuse other players. Continuous talking will also distract your opponent from the game and they will pay attention to your words.
- Lying is also an important part of poker. For example, when you receive a bad card, you can pretend that you have a good one.
- If your reactions are always fickle, no one will be able to guess your real reaction. This is much more difficult, but it will be very profitable if it is successfully mastered.
- Try practicing in front of a mirror.
- First, practice to minimize reactions, then practice a face with no expression at all.