In the game of poker, some players make up for lack of skill with dirty poker tricks intended to break the concentration of other players during critical parts of the game. The pressure is on when you are face to face with other players to perform well, or lose your hard earned money and walk away from the table with nothing. When you add in the tricks used by many of these uncouth players, the pressure can often be hard to bear. By learning about these tricks now, hopefully you will be better equipped to handle them when confronted with them around the poker table. There are many legal ways to help your odds of winning, playing the correct cards, learning pot odds, and betting are all very important skills. Unfortunately, many players choose not to master these skills, instead focusing on mind manipulation of other players to win their games.
We will discuss three of these so called mind tricks that are often used in poker games. They all take quite a bit of time to perfect, but once perfected can be extremely effective. Players who are able to perfect all of these techniques can be very formidable at the poker tables, without really having a lot of skill at the actual game itself.
The pause is one of the riskiest tactics to use, but when used at the right time can bring down even the most seasoned players. Players who use this are the ones who seem to take a really long time to make any decisions. Most players use this too often or at the wrong time and it becomes obvious what they are doing. If you just sit there staring at your cards or other players, it will be a definite cue that you are just blowing time. Most players get by with this trick by counting their chips, checking hole cards, etc. It is important to appear confused, asking the dealer questions will help with this illusion. It will make you appear to be thinking, instead of just blowing time to throw other players off their games. This trick is designed to keep everyone guessing as to what you are doing. You want them to spend their energy trying to figure out what cards you are holding, etc.
Another of these tricks used quite frequently is called the stare. It is commonly known that when something captures a person's interest, or excites them, their pupils dilate. So many players will stare at other players to look for this effect, thus enabling them to know if they are bluffing or what sort of cards they have in their hand. Many experienced players will wear shades when they play to prevent this from being used on them. The only bad side of this trick for the user is that it would be very hard to use this on more than one player at once. For this trick to work to its full potential, it has to be used from the moment the cards are dealt until the player either folds or the game ends. If this technique doesn't afford you any other help, at the very least it will make the other player very uncomfortable, which will affect their decisions and how effectively they play the game.
Many players are masters at distraction. The point of this is to make other players uncomfortable, which in turn will effect their concentration and performance. You try to distract them during key points in the game, when the need for concentration is at its highest. This sometimes is done by asking questions or making noises at crucial times to take a players mind off what they are doing or planning to do. Some players will ask what time it is, burp, laugh, cough, or just chatting in general. Talking to other players will often be the best source of distraction, because even if it is directed at another player, most people will still listen to what is being said. This is the least obvious way to perform this trick as it is human nature to listen to conversations that go on around us. If the other players seem to get angry at this trick, it means it is working. The angrier they become, the more off their game will be, therefore increasing your odds at winning that much more. Masters at this skill are often able to make a whole table of players lose their concentration and impact their games.
All of these are very effective but dirty tricks. The hard part is learning when to use them and on what players. If you use them and it becomes obvious, most of the effect will be lost. Players will warn other players of your tactics and they will be prepared for you. For some players, mastering these tricks of mind control has helped them to win several games they otherwise would not have won based on skill alone.