What is a Poker Face?
Poker face is the term used to describe the way in which a poker player will use a deadpan expression to hide their emotions while they are playing.
Poker Face Explained
A poker face is one of the tools a player will use to disguise their thoughts or feelings about the cards they hold, whether a good or a bad hand e.g. a twitching eye could betray nerves or anxiety.
A good poker face will be calm, serious and with direct eye contact. If opponents cannot “read” a player it makes it more difficult for them to know when someone is bluffing or not. It could also make it more challenging to spot signs of cheating.
A poker face is more than just a neutral facial expression. Poker players also need control of their bodies, or they risk displaying a “tell” which shows other players how they feel about their cards e.g. a tapping foot could betray excitement and impatience as they wait to play.
Poker players will observe each other for any clues as to how their opponent feels about their cards and how they are likely to play each hand. Professional poker players often use hats or sunglasses to hide any possible micro-expressions.
According to Robert Phipps, author of ‘Body Language: It’s What You Don’t Say That Matters’, “A micro-expression is a 100% accurate reflection of what that person is feeling, which will then quickly be adjusted, once the conscious mind kicks in, to what they want you to see.”
Poker players will try to control their own subconscious micro-expressions, but also to watch and react to an other player’s tells. They want to appear relaxed but watchful, so they can learn to read opponents patterns of play or expressions.
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