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Fighting with a poker face

Fighting with a poker face

Masking your true emotions allows you to conceal how you really feel and give your opponent a false sense of security..

I often draw the comparison between poker and chess with fighting. I want to use this comparison to help you understand how you can conceal your emotions and deceit your opponent to beat them.

Poker players have to win hands by convincing their opponent they either have a weak hand (when they have a strong one) or a strong hand (when they have nothing). To do this they not only bet but put on their poker a face. A poker player that picks up a pair of aces may "gulp" and pretend to act nervous - this is to bait his opponent to raise him for a lot of money - allowing him to re-raise and get more value. A poker player that has a 2-7 may raise high and act confident, encouraging their opponent to fold as they think they have a strong hand.

This same principle can be used when fighting in the ring or in the street.


If you are fighting for a few rounds and begin to feel fatigued you must not let your opponent realize you are tired. Letting him notice your fatigue is like letting a lion smell blood - it will boost his energy and confidence and drive him to finish you off. Remembering to use your poker face will allow you to mask this - stay looking strong - keep your eyes up - don't lose composure for one second.

On the other hand - you can give your opponent a false sense of security by faking your fatigue. Putting on your poker face to act tired and fatigued will allow you to lure your opponent in by giving them a false sense of security. This will allow you to intercept and shock your opponent into realizing your actually fighting full of energy and controlling the fight.


Faking fear would most likely be used on the street. If you are confronted in the street then you must not back down - note that this doesn't mean to panic and become the instigator of the fight. You may be scared as hell but acting stern, strong and confident can win the fight straight the way. Using your poker face to act powerful can make the other guy think twice before acting.

You can even ask simple questions to mess with their head - for example asking "have you got the time mate?" or "where did you get that T-shirt from? I've been looking for one of those for weeks". These questions put the attacker on the back foot - making him think about something entirely different to what he had just psyched himself up to do.

Alternatively you can fake the fear... If you know you are undoubtedly going to get attacked you can pretend to be scared. This will again give your attacker a false sense of security and will lure them in to your interceptive attack - be sure you are confident that you can take the attack down as once you allow him to come close there's no turning back.

Between competitive rounds

If you are fighting in a competition such as boxing, kickboxing or MMA then you must not look weak between rounds. Any sign of looking tired or fatigued will give the other corner the confidence to finish the fight off - we've all heard the shouts of "he's tired" at just about every fight. At the end of each round sit on that stall with a strong straight back, look alert and keep your focus - even if your hurting like hell inside!

When you've been hit

If you get hit and it hurts - the worst thing you can do is show it. How many times have you watched a boxing match finish because one boxer gets hit hard, looks dazed and the other just pounces on them? If you get hit you must not let your opponent know you've felt it.

Remember to always use your poker face

I could talk about many other scenarios where you can use a poker face but I hope you understand my comparison and can add this to your fighting as well as every day life - a poker face can be used in almost any situation in life - for job interviews, business meetings and even when shopping to haggle a better deal. Good luck and remember to keep your focus.

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