Putting on Your Poker FaceOnline poker is the dish of the day, and like it or not at 50% of the sites you visit, you are going to have to get dressed-up to play. No, they are not using web cams or spy software to see if you’re playing in your unmentionables, but they will ask you to choose a virtual composition of your “Avatar” (an online alter ego) either from a bank of characters or using the facial and body components available in the site’s face maker program.
Players generally have a variety of character designs available, and judging by the clowns, devils, angels and Al Capones that sit across from you in Texas Hold’em, players have as wide a variety of imaginations and senses of humor.
But choosing an Avatar for some is more than just whacking the most unlikely features on an uncommonly shaped head. In fact, some serious online poker players are designing their avatars with the poker faces they want to see.
Anyone that’s ever seen a poker scene in a Hollywood movie knows that each player has a stone cold poker face that revels absolutely nothing but the stone-cold nature of his card playing style; but how is anything other than an unemotional face achievable online?
Online gaming expert Gabriel Black told GOM that “serious players are moving away from ostentatious characters because they require a lot of time to plan and dress up. They consider intricate characters a sign that the player is very familiar with the gaming software, and are therefore a potential table threat.” Additionally, player who are looking to increase their chances at the bluff sometimes create very stern and serious Avatars to reflect their unchanging seriousness.”
Avatars can be wolves in sheep’s clothing or sheep in wolves clothing depending on the nature of the gambler. To play the psychological game, you first need to decipher which characters are designed by accident and which are designed for a purpose. It may take a substantial amount of waiting and recording before you get to see your opponent’s patterns of behavior, but eventually you’ll be able to find the nature of the character behind the Avatar.
Once you’ve cracked the outer shell, you’ll recognize if the player has designed his online persona in an earnest self-image or in intentional deceit. If you figure the Avatar as earnest you are in for a straight up game, if you have found an Avatar that is intended to steer you off the path of truth, you’ve unraveled the misdirection. If you can crack the Avatar you will open volumes on the playing style of your opponent, you’ll know when to hold ‘em and know when to walk away.
Is that teddy bear across the table from you really holding a full house or is his milk chocolate brown fur hiding a player on the ropes?