"Son, I've made a life out of readin' people's faces, and knowin' what their cards were by he way they held their eyes." Kenny Rogers, "The Gambler"
Kenny Rogers was right - reading people is important in the game of poker. Just as important, though, is to be very aware that whilst you are reading your opponents they are reading you! (Also the hand rankings and betting rules are important but we will get to those at a later date.) Today's tutorial subject is:
Table image begins before you even set foot on a poker table. Sit back and imagine yourself right now playing a hand. How do you look? Are the other players respecting your raises? Are any hot ladies sweating* you?
The first thing to do is determine your personal style. See if you identify with any of these:
-be old, beloved and wear a white cowboy hat. be from Texas.
-grow very tall. use your mild manner to become the Principal of Poker.
-wear creepy hologram glasses and carry bones in your pockets.
-grow you hair totally long and wear black. ballroom dance.
-sign many endorsement deals. throw tantrums and be a prick.
-make rockin gold brass knuckles with your name on them. be British.
Do any of these appeal to you? Yes? Too bad, they're taken, but don't fret, you still have hope. Just follow this recipe.
1.Choose a hat. Poker players across the globe agree, one of the beginners best investments is a hat with a substantial brim. Hats can be trucker, baseball, cowboy, or even a Mexican sombrero. If possible, pick a hat with a witty poker saying, such as "I got the Nuts!!!" or "Poker Stud" so people know you are serious enough to invest in true poker gear.
2.Sunglasses are a must. I cannot stress this enough. Now that many casinos are non-smoking, sunglasses are the only way to have that hip Hollywood image we poker players admire and respect. Warning: the only brand to avoid is Oakley. Oakleys are for dorks only (unless you can slice my head off with a playing card - then you can pull off Oakleys).
3.Apple iPod. Poker players only love one thing more than poker and drinks and snacks and buffets, and that is tunes. Tunes help us stay in the winning mindset. Some songs to preload before the big game: Bohemian Rhapsody, Eye of the Tiger, Another One Bites the Dust and Highway to Hell.
This should get your look started, but I know what you're thinking, "Facty, I look outstanding! But how shall I deport myself to inspire respect in my opponents?"
"Chill," I reply to you, "Just follow my three rules of table behavior. Check it out:"
Rule One: Bluff early, bluff often. Bluff bluff bluff. Make sure you show people your cards after a successful bluff and laugh in their stupid faces. Rub it in good! Keep bluffing a little more.
Rule Two: Develop a signature sound. Maybe shout "Bok bok!" every once in a while. Or snort through your nose really loudly. Whistle!
Rule Three: Chip tricks. Riffle them, shuffle them, flip them, spin them. Whatever you do, move your chips, and the louder the better!
Well, that should get you started on a winning poker career. Next time: Factgirl's Complete Poker Tutorial Part Two: The Rules of Texas Hold' Em
*sweating = watching you play and caring if you win or lose.