Poker Face: Meaning And Tips On How To Use This To Your Own Advantage


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“Faces don’t lie.” - This is a very popular phrase. It means that a person’s expression can tell about his thoughts and emotions. The facial expressions of every common person change according to the situations they are in.

However, there are some “stone-faced” people who have strong control over their emotions. They do not panic even in the worst of situations and so their facial expressions remain the same. In the world of poker, this is known as a poker face expression or a blank expression.

Contrary to popular beliefs, poker is not just an average game of cards because it is the people playing with those cards that matter more than just the cards. Relative to this, while reading the opponents is a crucial skill to ace at any game of poker, having a poker face is another important skill to become a winning poker player. Now, if you are unsure about the meaning of poker face, then keep reading because, in this post, we have highlighted poker face definition and discussed the importance of having a poker face.

poker face

What is the meaning of poker face?

The poker face definition is basically a face that betrays zero emotions. In other words, a player is said to have a poker face meaning when he remains absolutely expressionless and emotionless at the tables irrespective of the strength of his hand. A player with a poker face generally gives his opponents zero information about the type of hand he is likely holding.

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Origin of the term- poker face expression

The term “poker face expression” did not originate in the game itself. In the 1920s, an American sportswriter coined this term for a competitor who was not at all affected by any of the stressful situations that the game threw at him. Since then, it has been used for every poker player that remains calm and expressionless, irrespective of the kind of hands they have.

Whenever you are playing poker for money, try to keep your poker face completely blank. Else you will face heavy losses even if you have a strong hand. In fact, a player with a weaker hand can earn more profit by bluffing with his facial expressions, but a player with a strong hand will always incur a loss.

Poker face expression or blank face expression. why is it called poker face?

The term “blank expression” refers to a blank or expressionless poker face that implies a lack of emotions or thoughts. This expression does not reveal anything a person thinks. When the facial features of someone are positioned to be neutral, they have a blank expression.

This blank expression is also known as “poker face expression”. This is because professional poker players remain expressionless while playing so that their opponents are unable to guess their strategies or situations in the game. Every player maintains one’s composure while playing the game in such a way that enables them to conceal their emotions. A poker face expression is as important in a poker game as a good hand. If you keep changing your facial expressions according to the cards in your hands, you can put yourself in trouble. The opponent can then make predictions about the hand you have and start using strategies to ruin your hand and make the game in their favor.

In poker, all the players bet money on their hands. Therefore, as a part of the strategy, every player must hide their cards from other players. If a weak player gets to know about the cards of a strong player, he will not bet as much money as he should have. So, the player with strong hands will not be able to earn a lot of profit. Hence, all the players keep their expressions completely blank.

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How to use poker face in poker games?

The idea of having a poker face is to express as little as possible with your behavioral cues. Keeping this in mind, here are some tips on "how to keep a poker face when lying":

  • Create a routine for yourself. It is important that you stay consistent with your disciplined act of making the poker face. Therefore, having a routine keeps you from expressing ‘tells.’
  • Decide how you want to sit first. Do you sit cross-legged or straight? What keeps you from involuntarily flinching or smiling during gameplay?
  • Let your mind process while you express boredom. If you’re too anxious when you receive your cards and look at them instantly, then your opponents will notice your enthusiasm. Your goal is to give them nothing, no joy, no remorse, no excitement.
  • Develop a predictable behavior to glance at your cards. Ideally, you can wait till it is your turn. That way, your behavior is consistent and you can maintain your poker face throughout the game.
  • Try not to touch your poker face at all or keep touching your face continuously throughout the game. This way, no one can tell if your poker face-touching action is a nervous reflex or simply a force of habit.
  • Make eye contact with opponents but think of something extremely boring and non-committal to maintain your poker face.
  • If you want to sit silently to keep up your poker face expression, that’s fine. If you want to engage in polite chit-chat or talk constantly, keep a smiling poker face. It is a good technique to throw off your opponent’s read on you.
  • Be consistent about how you fold. Even when your cards are bad, fold with a stoic expression if you’re silent or with a smile if you keep talking. They’ll never know what to expect.
  • Lastly, consider how you contribute your chips. Be consistent and either lay them out haphazardly or pile them neatly. Either way, maintain your poker face expression even if you’re worried about losing the chips.
Importance of poker face

Importance of poker face

Now that you have got a fair idea about the meaning of poker face in English or poker face meaning, in this section, we have discussed the importance of having a poker face.

A key skill for acing any game of poker is to read your opponents. By successfully reading your opponents you can get a fair idea about the hand they may or may not be holding and thereafter you can plan your moves accordingly. For instance – Let’s assume you are playing a game of poker and your opponent has not maintained a poker face. The flop is dealt and your opponent immediately gets a small smile on his face. This is a tell-tale sign that your opponent likes his hand and unless you have a premium hand you must play cautiously.

Vital to this, to win at poker, it is important for a player to give off as little information about his hands as possible. For this reason, a player must consistently maintain a poker face while they are playing.

Professional poker players in general understand the importance of having a poker face. For this reason, poker pros invest hundreds of hours perfecting their poker faces and thereafter ensure their face gives off zero tells to their opponents.

Amateur players on the other hand generally fail to gauge the meaning of a poker face and often struggle to maintain a poker face. This leaves them vulnerable to their more experienced counterparts.

Unfortunately, there is no one-strategy-fits-all solution to ace this practice. Though there are some simple tips you can employ to maintain a poker face. For instance – while playing a game of poker always keep your poker face relaxed or stoic and maintain the same expression whether you like what is happening in a hand or not.


We do understand that maintaining a poker face is easier said than done, especially when the tensions are high. But if you practice consistently you will be able to make sure that your face is not giving away any tells to your opponent while you are involved in playing a poker game.

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What does "Poker Face" mean?

  • A Poker Face is a neutral expression to conceal emotions while playing poker. It helps players maintain a strategic advantage by not revealing the strength or weakness of their hand.

Why is a Poker Face important?

  • A Poker Face prevents opponents from reading your emotions, making it difficult for them to gauge the quality of your hand. This ambiguity enhances your ability to bluff effectively.

Can anyone develop a good Poker Face?

  • Yes, practice and self-awareness can help. Work on controlling facial expressions, maintaining composure, and mastering non-verbal cues to project a consistent and unreadable demeanor during the game.

Are there any tips for a successful Poker Face?

  • Focus on breathing calmly, maintain steady eye contact, and limit unnecessary movements. Practice in front of a mirror to refine your expression. Consistency is key for a convincing Poker Face.

How does a Poker Face contribute to winning strategies?

  •  A strong Poker Face complements strategic play. It keeps opponents guessing, making it challenging for them to make informed decisions. By maintaining a composed demeanor, players gain a psychological edge in the game.
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