Body language defines a lot about a person. The way one sits, their hand movements, their eyes, every one of these aspects tell something about a person. In Harvey Wolter’s words, “ You can tell a lot by someone’s body language”. To control your involuntary anxiety and nervousness is a key skill while playing poker. Poker requires such control over your body language and facial expressions, that the name poker face is now universally accepted an impassive expression that hides one’s true feelings.   

Here are some elements to maintain apt facial and body expressions while playing poker:  

  1. The Silent Killer: It’s extremely difficult to read people who are quiet, and hence it’s common in poker that some pro players won’t make the noise until they take the biggest pot home. It’s very important to know who that rookie looking professional is.
  2. Betting instantly: There are not a lot of hard and fast rules of poker when it comes to betting a big amount as soon as your turn comes usually has two meanings. Either it’s a bluff or the player has a really good hand and wants the others to know.
  3. Confidence is Key: Hesitating before putting forward a bet or a raise means the player most probably has a good hand and is thinking about the amount of his bet. In such a scenario, use your observational skills and plan your move accordingly.
  4. Twitchers’ Misery: If you have the tendency to twitch in anxious moments, you’re probably going to give away the entire game to the opponent. It is an essential part of poker to maintain the poker face. A tendency to twitch or fiddle, all you’re gonna get on the poker table is sympathy.
  5. Flipping chips: Flipping chips in your hands while in-game might seem like portraying a chilled out attitude, but in reality that is a move born out of nervousness and usually is a result of a player counting his chips and getting a hold of his position in the game.
  6. Looking out for the eye: Avoiding eye contact with the opponents is a sign of anxiety. If you cannot hold a bluff valiantly, playing real cash games on a poker table might not be your cup of tea. Maintaining eye contact and confidently looking around while holding a weak hand is an important skill to learn while playing poker. Failing to do so can lead you to an early exit from the table and/or lose big pots.
  7. The Clown: In a game of poker, the humorous one is usually the bluffer. They crack jokes to hide their nervousness and to distract their opponents from the game to clinch unlikely victories.

Understanding the body language of an opponent is a vital skill in poker. While you’re in a live poker game, there are gonna be a lot of eyes on you and on every move you make. Be sure to not give away your hand strength by your body language while maintaining keen observational skills. It is very important in poker to play with the eyes along with the mind. So the next time you play poker, remember to read your opponents body language and sweep up the entire pot!

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