How good is your poker face? If you were to sit down with professional poker players, how would you use your body language to your advantage? Poker is popular than most table games because of its exciting psychological requirements. At a professional level, a poker player has to complement their gambling strategy with mental tenacity to maintain a winning mindset that throws off competitors. This is easier said than done given that one has to balance between multiple factors. Depending on how the game develops, sustaining mental fortitude without giving away “tells” to other players is quite the challenge. You must be able to get a read on other players and make an informed guess on the type of cards they hold. Different poker players have varying peculiarities. Poker professionals, on the other hand, have nerves of steel and barely give any helpful tells throughout the game. In a game of psychology, you can stay ahead by mastering the psychology of casino table games and using such tricks in a subtle way. In doing so, you achieve the golden rule of poker where you do not only play your cards but also everyone else’s.
Creating your Anchor
It is essential to find a way to keep yourself grounded even when dealt a weak hand. The poker table is full of distractions and without a skill to manage stress, it is easy to lose self-confidence. Before trying to read other player’s gaming patterns you have to ascertain you are solid as a rock and can project the appropriate emotion at will. An anchor is a psychological technique that helps channel emotion. It is human nature to exhibit a physical reaction when one experiences a strong emotion, whether negative or positive. Such a reaction will immediately sell you out in a poker contest. Create an anchoring gesture that does not raise eyebrows such as crossing your legs, touching a specific part of your body, silently counting up to ten, or any other discrete action. Use this anchoring gesture every time you get a flush of positive or negative emotion to prevent showing any other discernible reaction. This way your guard stays up all the time.
Keep Your Eyes on Other Players When You Get Your Cards
When dealt with a flop, the natural reaction is checking out what you have. Focus on the reactions registered by others after receiving their hand. A player who stares at his/her cards for a while or keeps checking after a short while possible has a weak hand. A player with a strong flop will take a quick look and divert their attention immediately. This is a defensive tactic to depict a lack of interest in the hand, which will tempt others to bet. Another indication of a strong flop is turning attention to the chips immediately a player sees their cards. They are considering placing a bet. Check your cards later on and master them to avoid counterchecking. Many poker players will remember their card’s rankings but forget their suit. This is the reason why they countercheck when a flop reveals multiple cards to a flush.
Drum Up a Random Conversation
This is an excellent way to call a bluff or throw a player off their natural gaming element. A player trying to bluff others will be unable to talk freely or form a coherent response to your conversation. Contrary to this, a player with a strong hand will express eagerness to respond indicating that they are confident in their hand. You can also raise a casual conversation when the table is too silent. Such silence only increases tensions.
Commonly Used Psychological Tricks in Poker Tournaments
How players stack their chips say a lot about their gaming experience. Loosely stacked chips or a messy pile indicates an adventurous player with a higher likelihood of bluffing. Neatly stacked chips indicate an uptight player with lesser experience, aiming to play for money and lesser chances of bluffing. A strong hand makes most players excitable at the prospects of winning and they try to play it off but subtle signs like stiffness, swallowing hard and shaky hands reveal their impatience.
When a player gives mild signs that are easy to pick on like sighs, heavy breathing, and shrugging shoulders, they deliberately want to be noticed, thus indicating a bluff. Another sign of a bluff is in the manner a player bet. If they toss their chips in the pot as if they do not care then later try to straighten the chips, they aim to project false confidence. Players to watch out for usually mix up their style of play to avoid revealing a specific pattern. These experienced gamblers are good at psychological games. New players have not mastered a lot hence result in a single style of play.
Poker is a dynamic game that tests a player’s keenness to detail as well as mental strength. The devil is always in the detail. The more you study the silent cues that poker players have, the better you get at using poker psychology to your advantage.