Secrets of poker Poker

Dressed for success?

Written by Ben Blaschke

If you wander into any serious card room in any major city around the world, you’re almost certain to be met with a unique breed of fashionista known as the poker player.

Poker players are a strange bunch. Where else would you find a group of people with hoodies pulled up over their heads, sunglasses on, earphones or headphones blaring and attire fully emblazoned with the logos of whichever online poker site they wish they were affiliated with?

Phil Laak is renowned for wearing a hoodie

Phil Laak is renowned for wearing a hoodie

Truth be told, there are pros and cons to the fashion choices of the poker player and we’re going to run you through a few of them from the examples we’ve listed above.

Let’s start with sunglasses. The obvious reason to wear sunglasses at the poker table is to prevent opponents seeing your eyes when you are involved in a significant pot. If you tend to be a bit nervy when making a big river bluff and your eyes twitch, it’s best not to let your opponents notice. Personally though, I find that wearing dark glasses in an already dark room makes seeing the cards annoyingly tricky so rightly or wrongly I prefer to let my poker face do the hard work for me. The subject of headphones at the poker table was discussed in depth by my fellow WGM contributor James Potter in the Sep/Oct 2012 issue of WGM.

The hoodie makes a little more sense. Pull it up over your head and pull the strings tight and you can withdraw into your own little world where there are few distractions. As an added bonus, it can be harder for opponents to see your face. I much prefer this option to sunglasses, but each to their own.

Headphones are an interesting one. Poker tournaments can be long, grinding affairs and many players like to break up the boredom with music as they wile away the hours. The risk is that you’re blocking out important sounds such as the voices of the dealer and other players. Many a player has been caught out horribly announcing “call” or “raise” because they didn’t hear another player raise before them. Throwing away chips in this manner is a harsh way to learn your lesson.

Lastly, we’ve got sponsored clothing. Every poker player on the planet dreams of being sponsored by one of the major online poker sites but when this isn’t possible, the next best thing is to look the part, right? The problem here is that dressing up like the pros when everyone knows you’re not one really only serves to make you look like a fool. And do you really want to become the target of the unassuming “reg” on your left that doesn’t feel the need to make believe?

Next time you’re getting ready to play some serious poker, think about why you’re dressing as you are and make sure you make the best decision for you. Remember, it’s not about how you look but how you play that will determine your success.