The U.S. States With the Best Poker Faces

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A header image for a blog about the states with the best poker faces.
BetMGM Jul 31, 2023, 2:34 PM
Table of Contents
Key Findings
Which States Have the Best (and Worst) Liars?
What Lying Looks Like Across the U.S.
The Types of Lies Americans Are Currently Telling
Closing Thoughts

An incredibly important part of successfully playing casino table games is keeping your cool when the pressure is on. For example, if you’re involved in a high-stakes game of Blackjack, you don’t need everyone at the table to know you’ve been dealt a pair of eights. Some call this triumph keeping a poker face. Others call it lying.

When mastering the art of deception, some people can easily tell tall tales, while others let the nerves get the best of them. To learn more about the art of lying, we surveyed people across the country to determine which states in the U.S. have the best poker faces or, in other words, which states are home to the most adept liars.

We evaluated four key factors: frequency of lying, proficiency in lying, comfort level while lying, and success rates in getting away with it. Read on to see if your state emerged as a champion of deception or if your hometown’s poker face game could use some improvement.

Key Findings

  • The three things Americans say they lie about most often are reasons for not seeing people (24%), how they feel (21%), and secrets they’re keeping (17%). Men most often lie when keeping secrets (20%), while women most often lie when providing reasons for not seeing people (29%).
  • The people Americans lie to most often are their friends (26%), strangers (16%), and their parents (14%).
  • Americans think the biggest tells of a liar are avoiding eye contact (46%), closed body language (15%), and changes in voice (14%).

Which States Have the Best (and Worst) Liars?

A heatmap showing the states with the best and worst liars
A mobile heatmap showing the states with the best and worst liars

Iowans claimed the top spot with a perfect score of 100. Our survey revealed that Hawkeye State residents lie more frequently than any other state and are most successful in getting away with their lies. Iowans seem to have mastered the craft of maintaining the perfect poker face.

Taking the second position with a score of 70.3 out of 100, Massachusetts residents are no strangers to telling tall tales. They ranked second in terms of proficiency in deception and reported a high level of comfort while doing so. Interestingly, people from Massachusetts admitted that they lie about their mistakes more than anything else.

Securing the third spot with a score of 69.6 out of 100, Connecticut residents have a high success rate in their lies, revealing that the people they lie to most often are their friends. 

On the other side of the sly spectrum, Ohio ranked as the state with the worst liars by a wide margin, earning a paltry score of 9.4 out of 100. 

Ohioans confessed to lying the least frequently and having the lowest success rate in their deceptive endeavors. Moreover, they admitted to commonly lying about their emotions, indicating that their poker faces are far from convincing.

In second-to-last place, Idaho scored 17.2 out of 100. The people of Idaho claim to be the least skilled at lying and express high levels of discomfort during the infrequent occurrences when they do it. Their most frequent lies revolve around making excuses for backing out of social engagements.

Tennessee claimed the third spot in the worst liars category, scoring 17.8 out of 100. Survey responses point toward Tennesseeans lying less frequently than individuals from most other states and having a lower lying success rate. Similar to folks in Massachusetts, their lies are predominantly related to topics they find embarrassing.

What Lying Looks Like Across the U.S.

An infographic showing the results of a survey about how Americans lie
A mobile infographic showing the results of a survey about how Americans lie

In our survey, 65% of respondents confessed that lying makes them uncomfortable, telling us that most Americans aren’t out practicing their poker faces daily.

But what is a lie? And are they all created equal? It appears that opinions differ on answers to those questions. Especially when it comes to those “little white lies.” A significant portion of Americans, about 1 in 4 (24%), do not consider these seemingly harmless fibs as lies at all, suggesting a certain level of acceptance or leniency towards minor deceptions in daily interactions.

What’s also striking is Americans’ confidence in their ability to deceive even the most sophisticated technology designed to detect lies. Approximately 19% of survey respondents are bold enough to believe they could successfully outwit a lie detector test. Interestingly, this confidence varies between genders, with 23% of men expressing such belief compared to only 15% of women.

Once you tell a lie, it can be challenging to back out of it. A significant majority, 46%, agree with this sentiment and would rather perpetuate a lie than come clean with the truth.

In fact, another 19% of Americans admitted that they are keeping up a lie right now!

When money is involved, honesty can sometimes take a backseat. Over one-third of Americans (36%) admitted to being more likely to lie when financial matters are at stake. On the other hand, a significant majority of 79% stated that they are more inclined to lie if they believe it would benefit the other person.

Similarly, 27% of Americans confessed to lying on their resume or during an interview to secure a new job. Interestingly, age seems to play a role in the likelihood of corporate coaxing, with 35% of respondents aged 25 to 40 admitting to this behavior, while only 16% of those aged 57 and above confessed to the same.

Finally, getting out of an unwanted social engagement is the most common reason for lying in the country. A significant majority, 68% of Americans, admitted to being likely to lie to get out of a social event, with only 17% claiming they would be unlikely to resort to such measures.

The Types of Lies Americans Are Currently Telling

We asked respondents about the lies they’ve told and gotten away with. Outside of the common answers like faking sick to get out of going to work and lying about age or weight, some notable deceptions run the gamut from different to downright odd. Some noteworthy responses are below.

A graphic showing the lies Americans tell and get away with
A mobile graphic showing the lies Americans tell and get away with

Closing Thoughts

When embellishing stories and telling fibs, some do it better than others. We wanted to find out which U.S. states have the best poker face, leading us to discover which regions are the best at lying while avoiding detection. The results reveal some surprising patterns of deception across the country, meaning you should think twice before trusting anyone’s word at face value.

If you’re looking for a legitimate and honest platform to take your gaming experience to the next level, try BetMGM today. It’s a secure platform that provides users with a safe and seamless betting experience from the comfort of their own homes. The best part? You don’t need the greatest poker face of all time to have fun (and be successful) playing BetMGM’s online casino games.


To determine the states with the best poker faces, we surveyed over 3,100 people from 44 U.S. states and asked them questions about how frequently they lie, how good they are at it, how comfortable they feel doing it, and how successful they typically are when lying. The survey took place over a two-week period in June 2023.

Our “poker face score” is based on the responses to the questions above. When respondents reported being better at lying, the state received a higher score. When they reported being worse at lying, they got a lower one. We put these individual scores for each question on a scale of zero to five, with five meaning the state had the best liars. We equally weighted the answer for each question and totaled them to give a “poker face score” to each state.

We also surveyed a population of additional Americans to discover what their lying habits are.

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.