Poker Face


Poker face. Everyone is aware of this term. Most are well versed with it’s use. Some unfortunately not so much. As can be determined from the name the term most probably came forth from the card game ‘poker’. It refers to the ability of a person to keep on a straight, emotionless face so as not to reveal what they are truly feeling at that point in time. For poker players this is indeed a very handy and a very important ability. It helps them in concealing their feelings with regards to the hand they have and thus helping their ability to bluff their way through the game. Of course seasoned players can tell when a person has a poker face on and they can make some sort of calculated judgment about one’s hand.  But we are not discussing ‘poker face’ for its origin or use in poker. We are simply discussing ‘poker face’ itself i.e. the ability. It is not restricted to poker. It is used by people in all sorts daily life situations. It’s description in the online dictionary on Wikipedia is:

‘An impassive facial expression cultivated to prevent others from determining one’s motives, feelings or situation’

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And of course the need for above mentioned is required in so many situations in life. At work when listening to the baseless and uncalled for ranting of a senior co-worker or your boss. In business negotiations when you are ‘playing this one close to the chest’. In relationships where you are determined to seem independent and stronger then the person at the other end of the relationship (this could be a sibling, parent, child or spouse or even a friend).

Now coming back to the fact that most people or at least most people I have come across in life have this ability inherently built within them which functions at least 85% of the time. That is good enough. Some people which they could have this ability work for them maybe even just 10%. But unfortunately for them that isn’t the case and their faces tell their state of emotions quite easily. It is like reading an open book so to speak. And that doesn’t help their cases in life. It means you never get to have an upper hand in negotiations and have to stay on the back foot. It means an unjust and unprofessional boss being able to hone in on your vulnerabilities even faster and well just exploiting your situation. It means maybe a loved one being the more powerful one in your relationship and having the ability to get away with emotional murder (I know the last one probably didn’t make sense… but it doesn’t have to. Those who need to will get what I mean here and will understand or relate). It just makes life so much more fun and easier for people who can control who gets to see their emotions and who doesn’t. For those who can’t control theirs, it is torture, trust me.

Now I would like to add a thought here. Do the people who have the all powerful ‘Poker Face’ ability count as people who are in control of their emotions altogether? As in would it also be safe to say they aren’t emotionally charged individuals? I would be inclined to believe so because if they were emotionally charged then I highly doubt they would be able to control anything with regards to the expression of their emotions whatsoever especially in the more intense situations. Please don’t confuse being emotionally charged with being passionate about something. Two different things altogether. Anyways so yes I think that people who are emotionally charged individuals would mostly be the ones who also have this lack of ‘poker face’ ability. Emotions live on the surface as it is. Hence they are easily readable by all and also more vulnerable to emotional damage. But then again surface level wounds are always more easily healed. Unless of course someone gives you that wound and then constantly keeps attacking it again and again with salt and what not. Well that then turns to scarring. But I am going off on a tangent here. Point is since the emotions are on the surface therefore it would be a mighty tall order for someone to pull of a zombie blank expression. Those who have their emotions a little deeper down and are in control of their flow and expressiveness would of course pull it off magnificently. Without a hitch. Like taking candy from a baby.

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Author: Sammy Wiseguy

Marketer, blogger, reader, Arsenal fan, frequently emotionally wounded cricket fan

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