Poker is as much a game of non-verbal cues as it is of skill and precision. Picking up on a poker face in live tables is a skill every aspiring poker professional should spend time honing. At the tables picking up non-verbal cues can be a turning point of a game if done right. Many players feel that their poker faces are unmatchable, but if there’s one thing that is for sure, it is that even the best players have their tells.
What is a poker face?
Before looking into how to decipher poker face, let us take a look at what is a poker face. This commonly used term refers to a constant neutral expression that a poker player holds on their face throughout the game. A neutral expression prevents opponents at the table from reading the player.
This poker face in live tables is especially handy when community cards are revealed at the turn or the river. Any expression on your face can give away whether you are happy or disappointed at the cards that are revealed and thus give your opponents a major leg up in the reading of hands.
You can learn how to decipher poker face by learning to pick up on micro-expressions.
Things to look for when deciphering a poker face
Micro-expressions like furrowing of brows, dilation of pupils, flaring of nostrils, and many others can reveal the emotions that a player feels while playing the game. Controlling these expressions is important if you are trying to maintain a poker face, but they can be your friends when trying to decipher one.
It is not easy to maintain a poker face; it is more likely that you will pick up some hints in the form of non-verbal expressions unless you are up against a seasoned poker master.
Many of the other players will be trying so hard to control their facial expressions that they will inevitably slip and reveal some precious tells.
If you are trying to pick up on these, one of the most valuable things to keep in mind is not relying on the physical tells alone when it comes to poker face in live tables. They can be very insightful but at times, experienced players know how to fake tells and throw you off their scent. There are many reasons that players should not rely on physical tells alone. Let us look at a few of them.
Reasons why physical tells are not the end-all when it comes to poker
A professional player may maintain a warm smile to project a positive, inviting image to their opponents and lure them into the game to enter the pot which he can later snatch up.
Other players will start up a stare down event just to intimidate you. Some players may even go to the extent of giving negative tells like sighs and furrowed brows even though they have strong cards. Such deception is not at all uncommon at a poker table. This is aimed at again luring you to overestimate your hands and make you pot committed so that they can score big time.
At live tables, you have all of these cues to help you figure out a poker face. However, online you cannot even see your opponent. So, how can you make out what their reactions are? Online poker provides other ways to read your opponents. You can focus on how much time a player takes to play a hand, place a bet or raise and deduce a lot of aspects of the strength of their hand accordingly.
Apart from this, the chat boxes can tip you off and reveal what kind of players you are up against.
Keep an eye on the actions of your opponents and make your judgments and decisions based on your hand strength. Often, if you feel you can read a player too easily and think it is too good to be true, then you might just be right. Your opponent could be playing you so be wary of overestimating the tells and deciphering poker faces.
Ultimately, only one thing that will make your poker skills like being able to read a poker face in live tables practice, practice, and practice!
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