Poker Face Makeovers
Keeping up a great poker face is hard. Even if you are not a naturally high-strung person, poker can be such a dramatic, exciting game that you end up not being able to help revealing your emotions anyway. There is no shame in this (within reason), but it does make winning more difficult. Here are some tips that can help you mask or repress poker tells—not just those revealed by your face, but by your body, as well.
The quickest way to start hiding your pokerstar tells is by using certain accessories. Hats, visors, and sunglasses can hide some of your shifts of expression. Erik Seidel is known for having worn a red visor during one of his most famous matches. You can use a similar trick, too—but perhaps with a more, shall we say, updated sartorial sense. If you like, you can also listen to music on a personal device like an mp3 player while you go through a game. Well-chosen songs can keep you calm or energized. Also, you might manage to mold the situation so that any poker tells you give off might be put down to your music rather than your cards.
Then again, in certain contexts, using accessories to hide your expression might be seen as going overboard, so you might want tactics that do not necessitate bringing extra equipment.
These other tactics might, however, might require a lot of time and preparation. Firstly, you might try obtaining or making some footage of yourself playing poker. If you cannot get a clip of yourself playing poker with others, try recording your behavior as you play poker alone online. You can then become aware of your mannerisms by watching yourself from the outside, so to speak.
Now that you are more aware of your mannerisms, how do you repress them? The very difficult part about this whole business is that repressing “natural” movements can often look stiff or awkward. Your attempt to suppress a poker tell might itself become a poker tell. How to get around this problem?
Try learning some simple breathing exercises. This is not being suggested out of some kind of spiritual ideology that you may or may not subscribe to. Rather, breathing exercises (not necessarily attached to any belief system) can help you to relax. They can also help you practice discipline and awareness of your own body, until it becomes second nature to control certain irrepressible movements.
Try these steps for an unreadable poker face.