Gambling is not an easy hobby — to win, you often need to outsmart people by far. Poker players especially use bluffing techniques the most, so if you wish to learn how to spot a bluff and react, you better start studying.
Learn to Pay Attention
Since a lot of card games are games of skill, you can use most of the bluffing techniques in various poker games, for instance. So how do you know if a player is bluffing when you play against them? Is there any way to figure them out and react accordingly? Well, it looks like you’re in luck because even the best of liars and actors among gamblers are often given away by their betting patterns.
Focus on People’s Body Language
This is probably the best way to figure out a bluff. You know how everyone always tells you that liars avoid eye contact? Well, at the poker table, this is definitely not true. On the contrary, a bluffing player will probably stare at your eyes just to convince you they’re confident. That’s where most of them make a mistake. If a player stares at you so hard that you start wondering if they’re a psychopath, they’re probably bluffing. It is not in human nature to overextend eye contact.
The Intimidation Technique and Stress Watching
If a player has a weak hand but they want to convince you otherwise — then they will try to appear intimidating. There are plenty of ways for a player to scare you. Some of them raise their voices and talk really loudly; others keep slamming you down with raises, while some just keep staring at you to make you uncomfortable. These are all signs of weaknesses that you can use against your opponents, so don’t be afraid.
Believe it or not, our shoulders have a lot to say about how stressed we are. This is one more situation where our bodies work against us. If you see a player with tensed up shoulders, they probably don’t have a strong hand. Whenever we’re nervous, our shoulders tend to clench — good players know that this is a sign of a defeated gambler.
Spot the Aggressive Player
Some players only want to seem aggressive to convince you that you should fold. Don’t let this stop you, there are ways to see if a player is really confident or only acting like it.
If you try speaking to your opponent at a poker table, you will probably figure out their poker hand nearly immediately. A liar often uses something linguists like to call ‘the non-lexical conversation sounds.’ You probably know these sounds as ‘uhm,’ ‘uhhh,’ ‘uh-huh,’ etc. This usually means a person doesn’t trust their own words and lacks confidence.
This one might be a bit of a stretch, but a lot of amateur gamblers suffer from shaky hands. If your hands start to shake, other players will immediately notice it — which will throw your poker strategy down the drain. However, the important part of this is that sometimes, it might not be a sign of a person who’s about to lose. At times, a gambler is nervous merely because they’re anxious or introverted.
Smiling with Eyes
It doesn’t matter if you’re an amateur or a veteran, you probably know that you should in no case smile if you have a big hand. However, this is when your eyes can betray you. If your opponent seems stone cold, but suddenly the fine lines around their eyes start to emerge, they probably have a very good hand. Additionally, a lot of professional players will hide their eyes with their cards, but this still can’t hide the way their skin unfolds in the general eye area.
This is a well-known fact that can go two ways. Many psychologists believe that liars speak with their hands by making a lot of gestures. However, the same thing goes for highly intelligent people. It looks like you will need to find a way to determine if your opponent is a bad liar or outstandingly smart. More often than not, your opponent can be both. If that’s the case, I wish you plenty of luck. Highly intelligent bluffers are probably the most dangerous opponents out there.
Now You’re a Human Polygraph
Now that you know how to recognize a bluffing player, consider yourself a human lie detector. If you play a couple of poker rounds at a casino, you will be able to see right through that poker face facade. No need to tell you that none of this applies when you’re playing online. Unfortunately, in that case, other people’s faces are hiding behind the screen. Ultimately, who knows — if you become really good at reading other people, I might even hear your name all over the poker news someday.