All experienced live poker players are aware of the impact of poker tells on their game. Even those who do not play poker are aware of gestures and facial expressions that reveal information about hands. In fact, the term “poker face” is well-known not only among poker players, but also among those who have never played poker. “Poker Face” is also the title of a song that brought fame and glory to Lady Gaga even though it had nothing to do with poker.
Seasoned poker players know that, although it is important to maintain a poker face while playing a hand, it is not the only thing players need to worry about. Tufts University researchers have shown that players’ arms, not just their face, also reveal a lot of information about the cards they hold. Tufts University conducted three studies, in which people were asked to watch twenty 2-second video clippings of poker players in action. After carefully watching the players, they were asked to rate “the hand they were holding based on views of the face or the arms.”
It turned out that viewer responses based on observation of facial expression proved to be wrong, indicating that the players had learned the art of maintaining a poker face very well. However, gestures related to players’ arms gave away a lot of information, enabling viewers to guess correctly the nature of the cards in their hands.
The researchers concluded that arm movements can reveal a lot of poker hand information, and all serious poker players should take this into consideration. They said: “Even though professional players may be able to regulate their facial expressions, their arm movements could betray the quality of their poker. So player’s intentions may be visible from their actions while moving poker chips to place bets.”
This research study will definitely interest poker players, but the findings should be taken with a pinch of salt. The researchers have not revealed much information about the people who viewed the clips, such as their number, gender, background, and so on. These factors can easily have an impact on the findings of the study. Simultaneously, it cannot be denied that all physical gestures and movements, not just those of the face, are equally important and can give away valuable information about one’s gaming style and hand. It is therefore important that poker players maintain a poker body along with a poker face.