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Test your poker face online

In the world of poker, your basic human instincts can betray you as eagle-eyed poker aces can use our reactions to ‘read’ what cards are likely to be in our hands.

It does not take long for a new poker player to realise that smiling when they have a good hand, or frowning when they have a bad one, is a sure fire way to end up short stacked. Therefore, one of the biggest skills any poker player can develop is their ‘poker face’. This is simply the ability to sit unmoved and dispassionate whether you have just landed a certain victory with an inside straight on the river, or have gone all in while bluffing with nothing higher than a jack in your hand.

Developing a poker face is an important skill for any player and one of the most common mistakes a beginner or amateur can make, is to believe that because they try not to show any emotion, they have the perfect poker face already.

The truth is that rather than the somewhat simplistic notion of smiling and frowning giving away your hand, most poker players have a variety of other ‘tells’ they may not even be aware of. Top poker players are not just tactically adept, but they are outstanding at reading the behaviour, emotions and play of other players. If they spot a weakness in your game, or you exhibit an unwitting tell when playing, then the best players will notice it quickly.

It is here where playing poker online can be helpful in allowing novices to develop their own poker face in resolute defence.

Initially, this may seem hard to reconcile; surely, for poker players to read your emotions, they need to be viewing you play the game and your actions and facial expressions?

In one sense, this is correct but it may surprise novice players to realise that there are several ways that they can give out the secret of the strength of their hand online. Even without anybody seeing an individual’s emotions or facial expressions.

Quality online poker players will note how quickly or slowly a player bets when they have a good hand, a poor hand or a hand they are unsure of. They will notice the betting patterns you tend to follow when you have a good hand or a poor hand. They will be aware of the fact that when you have a good hand, you tend to chat to other players, whereas when you are sitting on a poorer hand, you avoid the chat facility.

Understanding detrimental elements of your game like this before you even head out to a real life casino are key towards developing a poker face persona and becoming an all-round better player. If you cannot hide your cards online from other players, then doing so in a public place, face-to-face, is going to be almost impossible.

In addition to allowing you to develop your own poker face, playing online helps you identify similar traits in other players. Through gaining experience in online games, you will start to develop the skills to notice when other players may not have the cards that their betting suggests. You will begin to develop these crucial observational skills alongside developing your own poker skills and techniques.

It is only once you are confident that you can play online without giving your innermost secrets away, that you should head to the local casino or poker league and put your newfound skills to the test. Playing in the flesh is even more taxing than the online game, but with your pristine poker face and accompanying skills it is a test that you should relish.