Face masks could provide a false sense of security for poker bluffers

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Posted on: June 8, 2020 6:28 pm EDT

With casinos now given the green light to re-open in about half of the 50 states dotting the map of America, live poker has become somewhat problematic. In some casinos, for example, play is limited to 4-handed poker. And due to that restriction, some casinos have chosen not to offer poker at all until those restrictions are eased.

But for casinos that have reopened their poker rooms in an effort to return a sense of normalcy to the gambling world, the experience is slightly different than what poker players enjoyed before COVID-19 ravaged our way of life.

Live poker can be one of the most concerning casino games with respect to virus transmissions due to the frequent exchange of cards and chips between players and dealers. To help stop the spread, many casinos have made face masks a requirement at the tables.

Newbie poker players might assume that wearing a face mask helps mask a bluff and hide their poor poker face, making it difficult for opponents to read you and figure out if you’re bluffing. And while that might be true on the surface, beginner poker players should be warned that the face mask could give them a false sense of security.

According to some experts, wearing masks could make casual poker players more likely to give off physical tells because they falsely feel more at ease.

Wearing a mask could cause some poker players to let their guard down. While their mouth might be covered, the eyes are highly visible. And players with less experience might be more apt to give off tells using other parts of their body.

While masks are new to the poker table, concealing parts of one’s face at the tables is not a foreign concept. Many professional poker players wear sunglasses to hide their eyes and avoid providing opponents with any clues.

That said, with the lips providing a wealth of information to opponents, face masks could very well prove to be a game-changer in the world of live poker.