An interesting study that took place a few months ago, where psychologist Kevin Holmes, at Colorado College, studied if there’d be gaze direction differences when study participants played blackjack. He did find differences: in short, participants looked slightly to their left when holding low-value hands, and more to the right the higher the hand’s value became.
An email subscriber of mine wrote to me today asking for my opinion on this and if it had any application to poker. I’d actually forgotten about the study so am glad he wrote. This was my response (edited slightly):
I’ve been skeptical for a long time about the whole ‘looking-left-when-lying, right when telling the truth’ theory that many people believe; especially when cops are using that in interrogations despite it never having been proven. This idea is more believable to me, especially as it involves numbers, which makes more logical sense, and because the effect is so slight.
If this effect is true, it sounds like it’d be so slight that it would be super-hard to make use of it in poker. Plus there are so many other factors in poker that would make it tough to be sure you were noticing this specific effect. It’s an interesting question, though: perhaps people who get the nuts are more likely to be looking a little bit to the right. It’s definitely something I’ll try to be thinking of when I play next (although I’m skeptical I’ll notice anything). Probably too subtle to notice in any televised footage.