Trying to maintain your cool in high-stress situations is not an easy task. However, every poker player will tell you the importance of keeping your posture while playing. You will need an expressionless face that will give away no emotions to safeguard your game plan. Professional poker players always recommend that you control your emotions at the poker table. But it is not as easy as it sounds. There are specific techniques to maintain a calm composure during a poker game.
A poker face is a phrase that defines a facial expression that conceals your actual sentiments or emotions. Poker is a card game of high stakes, and professional players make use of poker faces to disguise their feelings. A random twitch or gasp is enough at the poker table to give away your holdings and give your opponents the upper hand. This article will provide you with tips and suggestions from professional poker players and experts on how to maintain a poker face.
Tips to maintain a poker face
Retaining a poker face is quite a difficult task, but you can acquire it by putting some effort into memorizing some tips and tricks. After all, the success of a poker player relies upon their skills to hide their game plan.
1. Minimize your eye movement and maintain eye contact
Stop yourself from looking out of the corners of your eyes in any direction. Instead, try to maintain eye contact with your opponents. It will make you appear confident, the general perception is that people doing so have nothing to hide. If you have enough confidence, you can also try to stare down your opponents. Keep looking at the bridge of their nose to stare them down and maintain your focus. Minimize your eye movement, and remember to blink occasionally to prevent your eyes from drying. However, keep in mind that excessive blinking will show that you are nervous and underconfident. Wear a sunglass if possible to eliminate your eyes divulging your emotions.
2. Maintain a relaxed posture
Take a deep breath, exercise your shoulders, arch your back, and settle into a natural, upright position. Social psychologist Ann Cuddy came up with the science of power posing in 2012. She suggests that embracing a confident posture before a major occasion could make you more confident. Poker players use power posing to throw off their opponents. Roll your head around on your neck and try to shake out any tense limbs. All these minimal exercises will break up any tension and help you maintain a relaxed position.
3. Stop fidgeting
Many of us experience minor twitches when we are exceedingly nervous or excited. Pay attention to yourself and take a mental note of the tics you may exhibit when nervous. Some of the most common tics are constantly cracking knuckles, biting your fingernails, tapping the table with fingers, or pulling on your sleeves.
4. Divert your tension
When extremely tense, you should try to divert your tension to something else. The best example of this practice is to carry a stress ball to the poker table. Clench the ball in your fist while concealing your hand to take any tension you may be storing. This will cause all your anxiety to accumulate in one part of your body, leaving the rest of it to relax. Also, try not to clutch onto your cards too firmly as it may turn your knuckles white, which is a common indication of tension.
5. Try to talk as less as possible
One of the most vulnerable points of most amateur poker players is their attempt to strike a conversation at the poker table. Too many Hollywood films have left most with the notion that they can smooth talk like James Bond and get in the head of their opponents. In reality, throwing off your competitors with trash talking is not that easy. And the worst part is that you will almost always reveal your vulnerabilities more than gain any insight into the strategies of others. Stuttering speech, stumbling over your sentences, or fumbling over words are common signs of nervousness. So, our advice is to remain quiet, communicate with nods, and speak in simple language, if necessary.
All the tips and techniques provided above require rigorous practice over long periods to be mastered completely. Practice your poker face in front of a mirror and meditate regularly to increase concentration. As always, bet responsibly and seek professional help if you feel you have developed a gambling addiction.