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Study Shows Poker Bluff Is In The Hands And Not The Face

Poker is considered by many as a game of skill and less of luck. Even anti-gambling voices are often forced to admit that the law prohibiting games of chance do not apply to the art of poker. The psychological aspect of poker is legendary and many believe that a trained professional can bluff his way to a winning hand. The old saying of showing your “poker face” when playing might not be too accurate according to a study in Psychological Science. According to research by Michael Slepian the real trick is in the hands and not the face when trying to fool your opponent.

Slepian conducted a fascinating study by showing a group of tester’s short video clips from players in the World Series of Poker. Each clip focused on three different body areas including the face, the hands and the player’s upper body.

Based on the clips the test group were asked to guess the quality of the player’s hand. Interestingly enough the best results were achieved by those looking at the hands. This experiment is in contrast to the common notion that a poker ace holds the power to deceive with his facial expressions. Even more telling is the fact that testers using the player’s faces to gauge the card strength performed worse than those relying on random luck.

It turns out that for this small group of researchers the smoothness of arm movements was the most telling sign.

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