Being able to hide your emotions can be very advantageous in many situations. For example, when you‘re negotiating in a business setting, and you don‘t want the other party to know how desperate you are. And in a poker game, you need a strong poker face because if the other players at the table can read you like an open book, they‘ll be able to take advantage of you and your hand.
So here are four tips on how to improve your poker face to increase your chances of winning poker games.
Start With Facial Exercises
An effective poker face is one that is relaxed with confidence but not so relaxed that it looks like you don‘t care about the game or that you‘re bored.
Facial exercises sculpt your face so that you don’t look like the latter. There are many variations of exercises for the face.
For example, you can try this: raise your eyebrows as high as possible and then scrunch up your nose. Hold for a count of five and release. Repeat 10 times. Or, open your mouth as wide as you can and then close it slowly. Again, hold for a count of five and release. Repeat 10 times.
Learn to Breathe Properly
Your breathing affects a lot of things, including the way your face looks.
For example, breathing through your mouth can make your face look tense and give away that you‘re anxious.
How do you breathe properly? The key is to take deep breaths from your stomach and not your chest. This type of breathing will help you stay calm and collected, even in the most stressful situations, which will show on your face.
Practice Infront of a Mirror
This may sound silly but it really does help.
In front of a mirror, study your expressions as you think of things that conjure up different emotions- like a grandparent happily settled with friends in an assisted living facility or someone eating your labeled lunch at work.
The point is to see how your face changes when you think of different emotions. Once you‘re able to identify the tell-tale signs, you can work on suppressing them. For example, if you notice that you tend to raise your eyebrows when you‘re thinking of something happy, make a conscious effort to keep them down when you‘re playing poker and you gain an advantage.
Learn to Focus
You won’t be able to maintain a good poker face if you’re constantly letting yourself get distracted. Admittedly, staying focused and immersed in a game is not the easiest thing to do but there are techniques that help.
For example, one way to focus your mind is by using visualization techniques. Picture yourself playing poker and winning. See yourself as being calm and collected. Visualize yourself maintaining a poker face throughout the entire game. The more vividly you can picture it, the better.
Remember, a poker face is not about being completely expressionless. It‘s about being in control of your emotions and not letting them get the better of you. So, the next time you‘re playing poker, use these tips to help you improve your poker face and up your game.