To ensure making the best possible moves, it is crucial to know how to collect information about the opponent’s hand by observing his behaviour, speech, facial expression, and body language at the Poker tables. Along with learning how to play Poker game, it is important to understand how to minimize your “tells” by maintaining a good “Poker face”.
A Poker face is the constant neutral expression a player holds on his face throughout the game which makes him unreadable for his opponents. For example – if you have hole cards J and K of spade with a board of 5 heart, 2 club, 10 and A of spade and river shows Q of spade, the slightest micro-expression of exhilaration and joy on your face can reveal information about the strength of your hand and the players with weak hands will stop contributing to the pot and fold their hands. If instead of Q of spade, 8 of diamonds appears on river, the “down in the mouth” expressions like heavy breathing, swallowing hard, covering face with hands, etc can provide information about your poor cards to the opponents who can take benefits from this situation by betting aggressively and making you fold.
Micro-expressions (frown brows, pupil dilation, flared nostrils, etc) can reveal your emotions and give an idea about your hand strength to your opponents. Controlling your subconscious expressions is important when you play against skilled opponents with years of playing experience. Maintaining a Poker face is not as easy as it sounds. It requires a lot of practice to master the skills of controlling emotions (nervousness, excitement) in the tense and highly competitive environment of a Poker room. Many players struggle a lot to maintain an expressionless face and refrain themselves from involuntarily revealing valuable information about their cards.
One of the simplest yet most effective Poker tips to follow is NEVER relying on physical “tells” alone to get information about your opponents. You are dealing with human beings and your understanding of facial expressions and body language might not work with each and every opponent. Experienced players know how to confuse others by giving false “tells” about their hand strength and intended actions. Many experienced players maintain a friendly face to project a positive image on their opponents to make them feel comfortable and lure them into the game to enter the pot. Some players believe in intimidating other players by locking eyes with them and making them uneasy with their cold stares. Some deliberately give off signs to deceive the opponents like expressions of shock and sorrow in spite of having good cards to make them enter the pot with a weak hand. Most of the players just want to focus on their gameplay and hide their eye movements and facial expressions with sunglasses, hoodies, and earphones.
As you cannot see your opponent at the card games online tables, the best way to predict his future moves is keeping an eye on his actions. Your judgment at a Poker table must be based on your own card strength and understanding of mathematical calculations and probability. Also, stay aware of your own behaviour and act consistently to avoid giving any opportunity to the opponents to identify patterns in your game. The more you practice, the better you become in reading your opponent’s mindset and making ‘calculated decisions’ at the tables.