Experts reveal the best ways to read a ‘poker face’, from how to spot a fake smile to uncovering anger, here’s what’s hiding beneath the bluff
With the excitement of hit TV series The Traitors coming back to our screens this January it has sparked wonder in viewers as to how to suss out contestants’ poker face.
The term ‘poker face’ appears in everyday life, but the likelihood of you spotting a poker face is unlikely if you are unaware of the tells.
To help decipher what’s going on beneath the surface, experts at Casino.co.uk have shared their guide on how to read a poker face – both on and offscreen.
A spokesperson from Casino.co.uk said:
“Poker faces are something we see very often, but might not have any idea. In situations like job interviews, business meetings or at any casino table there are poker faces everywhere, its knowing how to suss them out that is the challenge.
“There is however one way to see straight through a poker face and that is to look out for microexpressions, which happen subconsciously. Microexpressions cannot be deliberately hidden or suppressed and are difficult to spot, as they don’t last for long. However with some practice, you can learn how to spot them.”
If you are tuning in to the new series of The Traitors, try following the guide below to see if you can spot who might be giving their best, or worst, poker face.
How to spot a Traitors poker face
It’s important to focus as quick-fire facial movements like microexpressions will last only half a second, this is why its important to concentrate and try to focus on every little change in expression.
- Surprise – If someone is surprised, their eyebrows are likely to be raised and curved, and you may notice horizontal wrinkles across the forehead. Without staring, notice if their eyelids are open, with the white of the eye showing above and below the pupil. Their jaw may slightly open, too, but there will be no tension or stretching of the mouth.
- Fear – When a person is trying to hide fear or anxiety, their eyebrows will be raised and drawn together, usually in a straight line. They many also show wrinkles in the centre of the forehead just between the eyebrows – but not across. Their eyes may have the upper white showing, but not the lower white.
- Disgust – Hiding disgust is difficult, however there are some subconscious facial movements to look out for. The eyes may be narrow, and the nose may be slightly wrinkled. Look out for a quick flash of the upper teeth, too.
- Anger – If you’re having a heated conversation, or perhaps said something out of line in the workplace, these are easy ways to spot if someone is angry at you. Look at the person’s eyebrows, and notice if they are lowered and drawn together, with vertical lines between them. Their lips may also become tense, with corners down, or in a square shape. Another good way to know for sure, is if their nostrils dilate.
- Happiness – Happiness is the most difficult emotion to fake, and it’s easy to spot a fake smile if you know the trick. Notice if they have crow’s feet near the outside of the eyes, if they don’t, and their lips are open in a smile, chances are they aren’t conveying genuine happiness.
- Sadness – Sad microexpressions are not very large or noticeable and can be difficult to detect. However, they usually last slightly longer than the other microexpressions. However, look to see if the inner corners of the eyebrows are drawn in and then up, and the corners of the lips are drawn down. The lower lip may also very slightly pout out.
- Contempt – if you think someone dislikes you, or disagrees with your opinion, there is one thing to look out for. If one side of their mouth slightly raises, chances are you’re right. This is the only asymmetrical microexpression and it’s one of the easiest to spot.