Though the term “poker face” has been used to describe an expression of true, unfaltering confidence for ages, a study of college students proved that “poker stance” may be the more appropriate term. The study showed that poker players are more likely to show confidence in their hand through body language, mainly arm movements, rather than the stiffness of their faces.
Poker face refers to a poker player, or anyone, really, being able to control their facial muscles in a way that shows no visible emotions; but to truly fool other players, ladies and gentlemen at poker tables should spend more time focusing on controlling the movements of their bodies, especially their arms. For example, players should use a confident motion when they add chips to the pot. Confidence when pushing chips towards the center during bet making shows that a player is extremely satisfied with their hand.
The body language study, conducted by Tufts University researchers, was published in Psychological Science, a well respected journal. The study involved showing video clips to its 78 college aged participants in three separate group experiments. Participants were asked to carefully examine the levels of confidence shown by the poker players in the clips.
The video clips showed professional players during tournaments. In order to see which parts of the body showed more confidence, the first group of students watched videos that showed faces and torsos, the second group watched videos showing the players’ arms and torsos. The third group also watched the arms and torsos clips, and rated the players’ confidence levels based on the smoothness of their arm motions during play.
The results of the study showed that players with bad hands of cards moved their arms far less smoothly than the players with better card stacks.
Researchers have concluded that though players have spent decades perfecting the ideal “poker face,” they still have to fix obvious body language movements and positioning that give away the confidence levels in their hands.
The study has shown that even the simplest body language movements, including the way players move their arms when betting on a hand, can completely give away the position during a poker tournament.