Facial Expressions as Poker Tells

Facial Expressions as Poker Tells

Facial Expressions as Poker Tells

Facial Expressions in Poker

A form of unique artistry and expertise is the ability to read tells. While many pros will say that physical tells aren’t important in the big leagues, for the everyday poker player, they can still provide a valuable resource.

Facial Expressions as Poker Tells

There are a few common facial/micro expressions that you will notice in many lower stakes and inexperienced poker players.

In this article, we’d be discussing those expressions that give players away.


Wide eyes:

A microexpression that can be detected easily is how the eyes of a player slightly opens further when a card that makes his/her hand is dealt.  If you look closely, their eyes basically mouth “there it is!” In a mix of excited and lucky.  This micro expression happens very fast.

  • Looking at you, their chips or your own community cards: This works hand in hand with the first tip. The opponent either looks at their chips or may quickly glance at you and your own cards to weigh out your chances.  Although some professionals at not giving tells away will continue into space but the slight wide eye look will give them away.
  • The last and final expression is commonly seen in relation to bluffing. The river card comes and as the players place their  bets, they let a slight smirk show. There’s a big chance that they are trying to call your bluff.  Some players who are outright lying would give off a sheepish smile like they’re getting away with something.

Note that these micro expressions are only common amongst players who are inexperienced and/or new to the table. They are yet to learn the art of bluffing but professional players know that they need to maintain a poker face(a dominantly blank expression in order to avoid giving their actual feelings away).

Professionals have also mastered the art of using facial expression to deceive others and that’s where it gets tricky. Although poker isn’t acting, it will only take a trained eye to read that these expressions are deceitful and act accordingly. But here are some tips

Blinks and deep breaths

Busy eyes

Hissing lips

Are all signs of a fall from confidence in poker players.

The non-facial tell that professionals have mastered in the smoothness of arm movements. Players with bad hands have much less confident movements and actions than players with good hands. The arm movements are smooth and much more organized as they are genuinely self assured and much more unconscious of their hand movements.

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