Poker Style: Music
If you think strategy only happens at the poker table, you’re still a novice. At a poker party, strategy starts well before the guests arrive and hands are dealt. If you’re lucky enough to host such a party, don’t overlook your ace in the hole—controlling the music for the evening.
You can start by simply comparing your guests’ response to the shrill minor scale chords in the Psycho soundtrack to a breezy Frank Sinatra serenade. Movies, mazes, and haunted houses expertly instill fear in their use of musical score, silence, and sound. The Psycho soundtrack unnerves you while Frank uplifts you. Fear leads to conservative poker behavior: more calls, checks, holds, and folds. Moreover, fear distracts people, so they’re less focused on the game.
Of course unnerving your friends isn’t a typical goal, and you as host may not be immune from the effects of the soundtrack yourself. Your friends may worry you’re going to stab them in the shower and stop attending poker nights altogether. But don’t discard poker party ploys just yet—sometimes it’s the ridiculous and unconventional strategies that can make all the difference.
For instance, the trend of wearing headphones during professional poker tournaments that emerged in 2004 seemed so cutting edge at the time. Now it’s typical for a third of the players to don headphones, including pros Phil Ivey, Phil Hellmuth, and Erik Seidel. You could surmise they’re listening to ocean waves, Star Wars scores, or Euro-trance, but then again, you’d never know if they were listening to nothing. Headphones could just be a prop used to convey an unfocused, distracted, and nonchalant lack of attention to the game. What do you think? Are headphones the latest accessory for the ultimate poker face?
If poker players do actually listen to music under headphones, wouldn’t they be missing out on opportunities to read faces, body language and emotions? These are all an integral part of poker’s social experience. Similarly, playing music to incite fear in your friends takes away from a worthwhile social bonding experience. But if you’re frienemies, you might as well be a card shark and play Jaws music.
Fortunately, you can opt for music or silence whenever you play Hollywood Poker online. After all, you don’t want to lose your focus when playing against celebrities, do you?
There are so many overlooked details that contribute to strategy. We’ve covered body language, your online poker face, and next up, we’ll explore the strategy in food and drink choices employed by everyone from casual players, poker pros, and celebrities.
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