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No Poker Face

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These characters couldn't hold a poker face if their life depended on it. Every emotion is broadcasted for all to see. They may not even be aware of how readable they are.

Subtrope to Bad Liar. See also The Tell and Pinocchio Nose. Contrast The Stoic.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Gabriel Dropout: Tapris ends up in a game of Old Maid against Satanichia which will determine Gabriel's fate, but Tapris face reveals all and Satania is easily able to avoid the Joker.
  • In an episode of Love Live!, Umi is playing a card game with Kotori and Honoka. She holds two cards facing toward herself and lets them pick one. Kotori reaches for one, and Umi gets a look of dread on her face. Then Kotori reaches for the other one, and Umi positively lights up. This happens again in "The School Idol Movie".
  • Nisekoi: Kosaki Onodera ends up proving to have very big expressions in card games for Ichijou to notice effortlessly. However, her faces are so adorable that Ichijou can't help but take the joker card anyway. Chitoge Kirisaki is even worse with her face becoming completely gloomy when she takes the joker card. Their faces are so bad, Ichijou feels the need to tell them about it.
  • In No Game No Life, this is one of the reasons why Stephanie Dola is so terrible at games as her face reveals everything. Unfortunately for her she's constantly at the mercy of Sora who specialises at reading people.
  • In Ranma ½, Ranma is revealed to be this during the Gambling King Arc. When playing Old Maid, Ranma will get excited when his opposition is about to take the Joker, while looking sad when they pick another card. Ranma is later humorously put through Training from Hell to help him get a poker face, only to fail spectacularly, but he injures his face so much that it becomes bandaged up and rendered impossible for anyone to tell his emotions. Unfortunately for the Gambling King, he also suffers from this — it takes Nabiki to point it out, but sure enough, once Ranma sees that the Gambling King makes a face better described as "ecstatic" whenever his opponent is about to pick the Joker, the game becomes much easier.
  • In Accel World, Kuroyukihime, piecing together several different clues, comes to the erroneous conclusion that Chiyu, whom she's just met, is actually Cyan Pile, the Burst Linker stalking her for the point bounty. In response, Haru claims that Chiyu, his long-time Childhood Friend, isn't capable of that, since, among other things, "Everything she's thinking shows up on her face and in her attitude." While Haru's ultimately right, Chiyu is later able to trick Nomi, staying with him until she gets enough levels to unlock the ability to take back Haru's wings for him, so perhaps she's a better actor than he thought.
  • Yuuutsu-kun to Succubus-san: Eru the angel is unable to maintain her expression in any way during a game of Old Maid with Sakuma. Sakuma, being a demon, is much more proficient than Eru. However, while her Poker Face is excellent, her Poker Wings leave much to be desired, as Eru's attempts to pick a card elicit either dead silence or frantic flapping.
  • Hiroki, the "probably" gay son in I Think Our Son Is Gay, can't hide his sexuality without turning into a stuttering mess and his face turning red as a beet.

    Comic Books 
  • In the Crime Syndicate of America's first appearance, they capture the Justice Society of America and force the Justice League of America to battle them on Earth-2. After the Syndicate's defeat, the League discuss what to do with them. The looks of horror on the villains' faces when it's suggested they be imprisoned on Earth-1/Earth-2, coupled with the smug smirks they display when it is suggested they be left on their homeworld Earth-3, make it easy for the JLA to realise something's wrong (which is revealed to be that the JSA's prison has been rigged to destroy Earths 1 and 2 if it is tampered with). The CSA lose their chance at having the last laugh, all because none of them can keep their emotions hidden.

    Comic Strips 

    Films — Animation 
  • In The Emoji Movie, Gene is a Meh emoji who's capable of making more than the Meh face. Throughout the beginning of the movie, he tries and fails to keep up the Meh face while on his way to work, much to the hostility of others (since emojis in the movie are supposed to only be able to make one face).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Joey: In "Joey and the Poker", Joey is playing poker with Alex, and thoroughly losing; he wonders what he's doing wrong. Then he draws three new cards, and his eyes go big and he gasps before pressing his mouth into a line and trying to act nonchalant.
    Joey: Alright, well, I guess I'll raise.
    Alex: I fold.
    Joey: It's like you can read my mind!
  • In Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Terry has a tell in which he flexes his biceps whenever he has a good hand.
  • Josh Lyman from The West Wing. During a flashback to how the Bartlet campaign came together Josh tries to convince Sam Seaborn to come along to a speech by then-Governor Bartlet but Sam declines. Josh asks what he should say to convince Sam if Bartlet turns out to be a valid candidate, Sam replies that he won't need to say anything as "You've got a pretty bad poker face". After seeing Bartlet in action Josh returns to Sam's office, stands at a window where Sam can see and points at the giant smile on his face. Sam immediately quits his job and joins the campaign.
  • Jessica Jones: In the sixth episode of season 1, Kilgrave is playing Texas Hold 'Em against some men implied to be gangsters, reacts to a useless hand with an "ugh" face and visibly pulls back. One of his opponents says that he should work on the poker face. However, it turns out he's not planning to win fairly.

    Video Games 
  • In Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment, the gang decide to play a game of Texas Holdem. Leafa evidently has a very poor poker face and her brother Kirito is able to see right through her bluff. However the biggest offender has to be Klein, who tries to bluff with an All-In when he only has a measly hand of a pair of 4's, which Kirito immediately picks up on and beats him to.
  • WarioWare: The microgame "Joker Face" has you facing such a character. Their expression makes it very clear what card is the joker. In the updated version in Gold, some rounds have them attempt to hide their tell with sunglasses while other rounds have them sweating.
  • In a Neopets game that has the opponents' faces as a gameplay mechanic, only one late-stage player has anything resembling subtlety — smirking near the corner when he has a strong hand — and even he has a comically visible reaction when it's not going his way.

    Visual Novels 
  • The protagonist of Liar! Uncover the Truth is noted to broadcast her emotions over her face. One character notices when her stocking was torn because he saw her looking down at her leg in worry; if pressed on how he knew, he explains and adds that she's an open book. Another sees her entering a fancy restaurant and notes that her eyes immediately go as wide as saucers. He remarks to her:
    "You look like an untouchable goddess, but every tiny expression reads on your face."
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, Fineas Filch's body language is very blatant about what he's feeling, which gives players a hint on which statement in his testimony is a lie.

    Web Comics 
  • Steffi of Kiwi Blitz has a terrible poker face, according to Ben. Word of God puts hers as the worst among the cast.

    Western Animation 
  • Family Guy: Played for Laughs in "Take My Wife"; While playing poker with his friends, Peter sees that he has a good hand. Not only does he smile widely, he also pulls a rope that summons a mini-parade and lowers a banner reading "Great Cards!" When asked if he has any good cards, Peter unconvincingly claims that he doesn't.


Video Example(s):



Kosaki and Chitoge can't make a poker face to save their lives.

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Main / NoPokerFace

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Main / NoPokerFace