Guest Author - Robin Rounds Whittemore
Take time now to pay attention to any nervous habits you may have. Do you move your leg under the table? Do you do it more when you are concerned and less when you are self-confident? Check and make sure. A nervous habit to you may seem very familiar and you could be ignoring it. Your friends and strangers may feel that is the first thing they notice about you. It could be a dead giveaway in a poker game.
How are your eating habits? Do you eat more when you are nervous? If so, you may want to wait to munch on popcorn or other snacks until you are between hands. Nervous eating habits may also give you away.
Other things to look for are your eye movements, hair pulling or fussing, knuckle breaking, and even facial movements. You have surely heard the expression – poker face.
One episode of the TV show M*A*S*H* featured the guys playing poker. One of them excused himself in the middle of the game for a moment. While he was gone, it was pointed out that one of them whistled louder when he had a certain type of hand. That way the rest of the people knew how to play him.
This may sound crazy, but try playing a game of poker in front of a mirror; a full length one would be ideal. Deal yourself a hand, as well as a few “ghost” hands. Play them all yourself, of course. While you do that, look at yourself very objectively in the mirror. Do you notice any giveaways in your mannerisms? If you do, then now is the time to try to bring them under control.
If you feel you cannot look at yourself objectively; rally a group of friends or your family around to tell you if you have certain habits that they are aware of. Don’t take anything that they may say personally. These are people that know you well and perhaps notice behaviors about you that you are not aware of.
Getting a book on body language and studying it could also help your game when it comes to other players. Check a book out at your local library first. If you like it and it comes in handy, purchase it at a bookstore. It will be worth the money.
Remember, not every “good” hand in poker is a winning hand. Sometimes it is the bluffer’s hand that wins. If he or she can convince the other players that they have the better hand, they can get the better of you.