Winning at poker can be a tricky achievement that requires a combination of different skills: not only must you fully understand the rules of the game, and have a little luck on your side, but you must also develop a strong poker face to stop other players taking advantage of you. A good poker face is simply one that is devoid of emotion; by keeping your facial features straight and settled, nobody else will be able to guess what cards you’re holding.
Here are a couple of examples that show why a good poker face is so important when playing. Imagine you have just been dealt a fantastic hand; you accidentally reveal this by smiling or grinning to yourself. The other players will immediately guess the kind of cards you’ve got, and will probably fold. On the other hand, if you’re dealt a hand and you look upset or angry, others may guess that you’ve been dealt poor cards and start raising the bets accordingly.
In the following video, Nick Brancato of http://wwwNickyNumbers.com gives a good explanation of how to make and keep a poker face. He also talks in broader terms about your overall presentation at the table, and the fact that consistency is so important and why:
Keeping a neutral expression on your face throughout the game of poker involves a long and hard internal struggle. If you let your true feelings slip, even for a second, you can be sure that others will notice. The key to success is to keep concentrating on your expression while you play; in the end, it will become second nature.
Once you’ve trained your face to conceal your true emotions, you can start to have a little fun and mislead the other players into parting with their cash. You can do this by making expressions that are actually the opposite of how you are really feeling. For instance, if you get dealt a spectacular hand, and you want to convince the other players otherwise and so get them to carry on playing, you can present an angry, frustrated or sad expression to misinform them. They’ll think you have a poor hand, and will subsequently carry on betting.
The best type of practice for a good poker face is to try out your expressions in front of a mirror. Getting to grips with presenting a misleading face can be a little tricky at first; if you’re feeling really excited, keeping your face sad can be a hard thing to do. If the other players do end up getting taken in by your false expression, you will also have to resist the urge to grin at your own cunning. Just remember that by controlling your poker face, you have a greater chance of influencing the outcome of the game – in your favor.