Thursday, November 30, 2023

A leading poker player reveals how you can bluff your Christmas way

A leading poker player has revealed how to bluff your way through Christmas – by relaxing the jaw, blinking when making eye contact and trying not to fidget.

Former Irish Open champion Ian Simpson is a card-sharp who has provided advice for situations such as opening up a naff present or navigating the office party.

He said: “With the festive season almost here, many of us will be looking forward to spending time with family and friends.

“Many of us, however, will also be dreading those little awkward moments that naturally occur – from smiling when we receive unwanted gifts to keeping up friendly chatter with the in-laws over dinner.

“There are times when the art of bluffing is just as essential for maintaining good relationships as it is for playing poker.”

Simpson suggests that you take deep breaths, relax the jaw, and keep your lips together to put on a poker face after opening a gift.

Eye contact shows the other person you have nothing to hide – but don’t forget to blink.

He also advised not to fidget, not scratch your skin, or play with your hair. His advice also included keeping your voice balanced when you say thank you.

Ian Simpson, a spokesperson for 888poker, said: “If you hide that you got a bad gift, you run the risk of getting another bad gift next Christmas.

“That being said, if you want to protect someone’s feelings then as well as smiling and saying thank you upon receipt of the gift, make sure your gift giver sees you using your gift in the future.

“Flash them your naff socks the next time you see them to reassure them that it was a nice gift – just be prepared to get another pair next year.”

Don’t be fooled

When it comes to dealing with the complex politics around the office Christmas party, dealing with ‘tells’ that might give away your true feelings is critical.

Behaviours such rubbing your face or cheeks on your own armpits can be a sign of distress. You might need to offer some additional support if they do this.

If you need to pretend to be interested in a colleague’s Christmas party joke or show interest in a dull story, lean towards them as they speak and keep your posture open.

Even if you’re not paying attention, they will think you’re fascinated.

Simpson claims that novice players who are learning to bluff when they first start to play will behave the opposite of the strength of their hand. This could include a bored expression if they have a strong hand or aggressively throwing chips in the pot when they are bluffing.

He suggests that anyone chatting to a coworker at an office party who is unnecessarily abrasive or standoffish in their remarks should remember that they may be hiding their insecurities by using this behavior.

It is also advised to look people in the eye as you talk to show them you care,  as those lying or under stress are less likely to make eye contact, may blink more often or rapidly change direction of gaze.

Ian Simpson added: “Outside of poker, I’m most likely to bluff when dealing with companies for sure.

“Whenever competitors want your business, you can say you’ve been offered a better price by someone else in your negotiating to help you get a better deal.

“When dealing with work colleagues, and particularly your boss, bluffing could help you negotiate better working conditions or even a better salary.

“Whatever your plans are for the Christmas holidays, the chances are you will need to bluff on occasion.

“Whether that’s telling your mother-in-law that you love her Christmas jumper, pretending the turkey isn’t dry, or being sociable with people you would really rather avoid until the office opens again in January.

“When you practice the art of bluffing, you can not only improve your poker skills, but perhaps also get through the festive season without being the one that starts the annual family row.”

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