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How to Keep a Poker Face

Whether you're playing cards or at a meeting, a great poker face can prevent observers from getting the upper hand. Follow these steps to keep others guessing.


  • Step 1: Compartmentalize your emotions to allow your body to focus completely on handling stress when necessary. Remember: it's hard to keep a poker face if you're still angry about a fight you had earlier.
  • Step 2: Approach situations with confidence, which will help you control both your emotions and tells, and play better no matter what hand you're dealt.
  • FACT: In 2010, Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" won a Grammy award for Best Dance Recording.
  • TIP: Try to talk as little as possible to give yourself fewer chances to misspeak.
  • Step 3: Keep your voice even when you talk -- raising your pitch or trailing off at the end of phrases can serve as a tell. Speak at a consistent speed and with a regular pattern; pauses or stammers can also tip off observers.
  • Step 4: Practice controlling your facial muscles -- even slightly tightened lips or a raised eyebrow can serve as a "tell," a physical sign of what you're thinking. Film yourself looking at pictures that evoke a range of emotional reactions in you -- then, study the film and practice reigning in any movements in your face.
  • TIP: Consider wearing sunglasses to hide your eyes -- signs like avoiding eye contact or dilated pupils can indicate you're lying.
  • Step 5: A poker face isn't just what you show above the neck -- control your entire body language to avoid telegraphing your thoughts. Keep all movements steady and consistent, and refrain from any unnecessary motion like biting your nails, tapping your feet, or touching your face.
  • Step 6: To keep a poker face you need to control your emotions -- get yourself in peak physical condition to stay in command. Getting plenty of rest and eating a proper diet will increase your ability to handle stressful situations.

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