Have you ever worried you might be crappy at poker because you have a lousy poker face and you wear your emotions on your sleeve? It’s a legitimate concern.
Poker is a game of limited information. In order to play well, you should strive to take in as much information as possible, while giving away as little information as possible.
And if people are able to read you like a book when you’re playing cards, that’s a real problem.
But all hope is not lost. There is a trick you can use to make sure your face doesn’t become your achilles heel at the poker table.
One of the tricks when playing Texas Hold ’em is to not look at your two “pocket” cards until it’s your turn to act. Yes, you heard me: don’t even look at them until it’s your turn to act.
The natural inclination is to look at your cards as soon as they’re dealt. But that’s a mistake for two reasons: (1) you’re missing the opportunity to watch other people react to their cards if you’re looking at your cards, and (2) you’re potentially giving away information by looking at your cards before you have to.
If you don’t even know what you have in your hand, then you don’t need to worry about your poker face. Simple as that.
Eventually, of course, you’ll have to look at your cards. And the other smart players will be watching you. At that point, the best thing you can do to keep your poker face from betraying you is to make sure that you act consistently. You want to avoid doing anything out of the ordinary that may seem to be a reaction to your cards.
Try to always take the same amount of time to look at your cards and to bet. Craft a routine–even if you have pocket aces, take your time to “ponder” your decision. Even if you’ve got a crazy-good hand, don’t give yourself away by acting too quickly.
You won’t be able to erase all your “tells” over night. But with these tips and a little practice, hopefully you’ll feel little bit less like an open book at the poker table.