Tricks to Maintaining a Poker Face

Maintaining your poker face is one of the most important keys to success in a poker game. Not only must you avoid giving anything away to your opponents, but a good poker player is also a skilled bluffer, and able to mislead opponents into making false assumptions.

Watch your face in the mirror or make a video to figure out your ideal poker face.
Most people don't realize what their face looks like at any given time, so maintaining a poker face can be quite a challenge if you don't realize how expressive you are. Stand in front of a mirror and think about different things, and watch how your face reacts. Then think the same thoughts, but try to show less.

If you think happy thoughts, do your eyes sparkle even when you're not smiling? Do you have little crinkle lines around your eyes? How does your face change when you think sad or angry thoughts? If you have a hard time observing your face and simultaneously dredging up these emotions, use a digital camera or cheap web camera to make a short video while you're practicing. Learn your facial expressions so you can learn how to maintain a poker face.

Your eyes can ruin your poker face.
Your eyes can be a dead giveaway if you have a particularly good or a particularly bad hand. When you're excited or happy, your eyes naturally dilate. If you have very dark eyes, this isn't a problem, but if you have light eyes, it may be easy for your opponent to see that you're excited. If you do refuse to meet your opponent's gaze, try to look down into the middle distance instead of up and to the side of your opponent.

If you do make eye contact, don't hold it unnaturally long; a stare is just as much of a giveaway as not looking at all. Finally, try to be aware of how often you blink. When you're under stress, the blink rate usually climbs significantly. Be aware of your blinking, and force yourself to pause if you find yourself blinking more than normal.

Avoid putting your hands anywhere near your poker face.
Hand signals are subtle and often subliminal, but they can give away your poker face without you realizing a thing. Hands on or near the face can send a thousand messages to experienced poker players, so try to keep them firmly on your cards.

Pick a poker face and put it on at the beginning of the night.
Many people have a difficult time really controlling their facial expressions, so one way to develop an effective poker face is to pick a strategy at the beginning of the night and stick with it. Maybe you want to be happy for the evening, so you decide to smile a lot, even when you're loosing. Think happy thoughts. Puppies, winning the lottery; pick a theme that works for you and hang onto it for the night.

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