Best Pro Poker Faces3 years ago
Players who haven’t been around all that long often don’t put much stock into the poker face. However, it is a very important aspect of the game in the live setting and is somewhat of a double edged sword.
On one hand you need a ‘stone cold’ poker face so you do not give away any emotion signalling the strength of your hand to your opponents, but that is just half the story. Numerous players have actually used the poker face or poker staredown to apply pressure to their opponents, making them uncomfortable, which often gets them to reveal things about their hand inadvertently.
So who has the best poker face in the game? Take a look below to find a few of my favorites and then weigh in with your own in the comments section.
Just seeing Phil's name at your table draw is often enough to get many players out of their comfort zone. His actual presence at the table intensifies this even further, and when he gives you the stare many players just crumble then and there.
Ivey’s poker face, along with his skill, have helped him amass close to $24,000,000 in live tournaments and millions more in online and live cash games. It has made him one of the most recognisable faces in the game.
Mike ‘Timex’ McDonald
Timex is one of tournament poker's well known online players. He has crushed the highest stakes games for as long as many can remember, and way back in 2008, at the tender age of 18, Timex won his first major live event, EPT Dortmund for close to €1,000,000.
A big part of Mike's success when transitioning from online to live play was his stare down. He uses it to put great pressure on his opponents, and has gotten a lot of attention for it. Whether you are a fan of it or not, one thing is for sure - it is damn effective.
Ben Lamb is not a name we see on the poker scene much anymore, but one thing that will remain etched in my memory forever is the phenomenal poker face that was on display during his absolute tear in the 2011 World Series which included a 4th place finish in the Main Event.
Time and time again he displayed that deep inquisitive stare that just left you feeling like he knew exactly what everyone else was up to.
Tom ‘Durrrr’ Dwan
The online legend burst onto the main stage during his absolute annihilation of the field in the WSOP 2007. Perhaps the strongest part of his poker face is his ability to just stare at a single point of the poker table and give away nothing even when bluffing off an absolute fortune.
We seen a great example of this on High Stakes Poker in a hand against Phil Ivey where Tom fires a 4 barrel bluff vs Ivey and ships a $700k pot.
Phil, who is more affectionately known as the Poker Brat because of his hilarious blowups on various televised poker shows, is one of the most successful tournament players in the history of the game.
Many have bashed his playing style over the years, but the fact is he is the most successful player in WSOP history with a record 14 bracelets across multiple formats as well as being a Main Event winner in the WSOP and WSOPE. His most recent bracelet came just last year in the $10k Seven Card Stud Championship Event, proving that he is still very relevant in today's games.
My final entry is Daniel ‘KidPoker’ Negreanu, which is somewhat of a controversial pick. Daniel does not exactly have an intense stare down or stone cold poker face that doesn’t move regardless of whether he has the nuts or a complete bluff.
But Daniel does have immense reading ability and the power to lure weaker opposition into giving away lots of information about themselves and their hands. This is what players staring down their opponents to intimidate them are trying to achieve. Daniel’s way is much more pleasant and a lot less intimidating as well as being very more successful!
Daniel sits atop of poker's all time money list and is a great ambassador for the game. He uses his very likeable personality to his advantage at the tables by chatting away to his opponents, which in turn gets them to relax and let their guard down. This usually causes them to inadvertently and sometimes intentionally reveal certain aspects of their hand. He has fine tuned his skills to perfection, often calling an opponent's exact hole cards out loud to their astonishment and more often than not enjoyment too.
This particular style works really well for Negreanu, obviously having opponents give up free information is great, but on top of that, we have seen a number of non-professionals almost soft play Daniel because they genuinely like chatting and playing with him and do not want to create animosity between themselves and Kid Poker.
So there you have it, some of my favorite poker faces in the game. Chime in with yours in the comments below.
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