Poker Face
Judi James
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Buy *Poker Face: Mastering Body Language to Bluff, Read Tells and Win* by Judi James online

Poker Face: Mastering Body Language to Bluff, Read Tells and Win
Judi James
Marlowe & Company
272 pages
August 2007
rated 3 of 5 possible stars

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Anyone who isn't aware of the major poker revolution taking place on television and online is either in a coma or has never placed a bet in their life. It is big business and has generated a new type of armchair athlete - the amateur poker player trying to make the leap into the professional ranks. It is a nearly impossible task, and only one out of a thousand will ever be able to play cards fulltime and actually make money at it.

But for those who do, there are huge payoffs in multiple tournaments held regularly during the year and virtually hourly on a number of online poker sites.

This book, obviously, is for those playing in casinos at tables with real humans. There is no mastery of body language required online because there are no bodies. Well, there are, but they're represented as sort of dis-embodied icons on a graphics screen.

The authoress is a body language expert, and she attempts to break down the methods and tricks novices and pros use in misleading their opponents. She covers all aspects from the staring-down gambit to vocal inflections: quiet voices; fast talkers; slowed-down speech; hesitant speech; the hum; loud voices; and breathlessness.

She covers Signs Of Thinking and what these actions reveal: the tilted head represents subtle thoughtfulness; staring at cards or into the distance relates to concentration or memory access; looking to the right means creative thinking and looking to the left means logical thinking.

There is a short chapter dedicated to online play, and that basically breaks down into a simple maxim: Play online as though playing face-to-face. Simple, straightforward, and relevant advice.

In the final analysis, the entire book is condensed into two theories:

  1. Never, ever underestimate the skill involved in making a good bluff or poker face.
  2. Play for fun or play to win - either way your body language skills will enhance your game.

Makes sense. The only problem is, truly dedicated and efficient players know all these rules and will present a weak facade when they're sitting on a full house and pretend to be strong with two unsuited low cards. So be careful.

Certainly if you follow the tips here, it can only improve your game. And unless you're already on the pro circuit and know everything there is to know about poker, this can be a helpful tool.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Steven Rosen, 2007

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