When you look at your hand and you have two aces with one on the table, it is hard not to smile. Winning is fun and just because you are excited when the game goes your way doesn’t mean you don’t have what it takes to play poker. Learning to keep the perfect poker face takes practice, and trust us, it’s worth it, because when it comes down to the line, it’s that p-p-p-poker face p-p-poker face that can make or break your luck.
If you have read one of our previous articles on poker tips, you’ll remember that one of the key strategies to playing is studying your opponents. Your face and expressions are a dead giveaway if you can’t control them, which is why you should be looking for even the slightest hints from the other players. But you should be spending just as much time and energy relaxing your face. Always try to clear your mind and take deep breaths, but don’t ever look like you are doing anything out of the ordinary. Before games it may be in your best interest to massage or wiggle your face just to loosen up the muscles. The less tense you are, the easier it is to control stress, happiness, or angry emotions.
You may have already noticed by now that it is pretty common to see players show up at the table with sunglasses. If you can’t control your eyes and they may be dodgy enough to give you away, then no matter how goofy you may feel wearing them at the table, they may be within your best interest. But remember that a player that can control their eyes has much more power. If you can look around the table and keep eye contact with other players, you are basically telling them that you have nothing to hide. Whoever breaks the stare gives the other player dominance in the game, but there are also a few other strategies. Maybe your hand is garbage, but you want the other players out. You could try to look happy with your hand and encourage other players to leave based on your expressions, but the best players can read a bluff, so be careful of that.
Remember that as you are trying to relax, you don’t want anything to look like it is out of the norm, so blink normally. It may seem like an odd tip, but blinking too much makes you look nervous or unsure. If you don’t blink enough, your eyes will dry out while it looks like you’re staring off into space or maybe give the impression that you’re not paying attention.
Work on keeping your lips together, and especially avoid showing your teeth. A smile or a grimace can give you away, so treat it like dinner table manners and keep your mouth closed. Also remember to relax your jaw. Even if your mouth is closed, opponents can tell if you are clenching your jaw or biting your tongue.
You are also going to want to make sure that you have confident eyes. It is fine to look around the table at other players, but dodgy eyes are a cause for suspicion. Spend most of your time looking straight at your cards and what is on the table in front of you. Remember that if you can’t control how often you look around, investing in a pair of sunglasses may be within the best interest of your game.
To finish it off, the most important advice for your perfect poker face is not to focus too hard on one thing. It can visually distract you and may give you away or end up in missing an opportunity. Try practicing these things at home and while doing so, remember that stoicism is the goal.