Does what you wear at the poker table affect your image to the degree that people change the way they play against you? Some argue that an effective outfit can not only throw off your opponents but give you a competitive edge when it comes to winning.
Luck and poker go hand-in-hand - even when it comes to the clothing you wear! If you watch live games, you’ll often notice players adorning their section of the table with unique little trinkets or special items. These can look like card holders, idols or even everyday items. Many believe that they give them special luck to see them through the game and wouldn’t dare play without them. For some these items can be clothing. From lucky t-shirts to underwear, there's no end to where poker players will garner their luck. There is a touch of logic to these lucky accessories. After all, when you believe fortune favours you, you’re more likely to play a strong game with confidence.
Several poker players are famed for wearing sunglasses at the tables. Unlike other scenarios, a poker table is probably the only environment where it’s considered acceptable to wear sunglasses while indoors. Perhaps because there’s a reason for the behaviour beyond the attempt to look cool. In Poker, sunglasses can facilitate a player in hiding their gaze from an opponent. This means that a player can scope out their competition without the rival being made aware. What’s more, if a player doesn’t have a particularly skilled poker face, a dark pair of shades can help conceal a sudden blink of panic from the rest of the table.
Of course, sunglasses can also be used to make a statement about a player's status. The more expensive and fashionable the glasses, the higher the status of the player. Just remember not to make the tint on your chosen glasses too dark - the ability to see the cards far outweighs any benefit of a well-placed fashion statement!
We’ll say it so you don’t have to - poker players just love a hat! No, it’s not because they’re having a bad hair day. In fact, much like sunglasses, hats serve an important purpose in a poker game. Baseball caps in particular are popular in the poker circuit as they allow players to hide their expressions while making tough decisions. A simple tilt of the head and they have momentary privacy before making a move.
So why do so many poker players wear hoodies? For some, poker hoodies really can be an expression of their personal style and love for the game - which we’re guilty of ourselves! Alternatively, it’s important to remember that temperatures in poker rooms can fluctuate intensely. Having an item of clothing that you can quickly add or remove during a game is of great benefit. Still, like sunglasses and hats, hoodies can greatly assist a player in hiding their facial expression from others. With a hood up and a player’s face concealed, it can make it increasingly more difficult for other players to get a good read on them.
While not all poker players have the ability to grow a hefty beard, if you do, it might be worth a try. There are two core benefits to having creative facial hair at the table. Firstly, the wackier the facial hair, the more of a distraction it will cause to other players. But hey, you can’t help it if they spend more time looking at your beard than their cards. Distraction is a method often used in poker clothing so why not extend that method to your hair? Secondly, for those that can see past the distraction of your beard, there’s its ability to hide your expressions. Like some of our other additions to this list, anything that prevents a player from reading your tells or gauging how strong your hand is, is of benefit.
Masks & Costumes
Anyone who can’t grow a beard can always lay their hands on a mask, costume or even an extravagant wig to make an impression. Now, some tournaments have strict rules about players wearing anything that conceals their identity completely. This rules out some masks that cover the face completely. Thus, it’s worth double-checking your specific tournament rules before you take a trip to the costume shop. Casinos also don’t take too kindly to the idea of not being able to easily identify who’s on their premises. However, some lower-stakes or more casual games will allow you to do so. In these cases players like to express their frivolous side, often choosing masks depicting the celebrity or public figure of the moment. A particularly unusual mask, costume or wig can help in knocking an opponent off their game. Yet, as you can imagine, the biggest advantage to wearing an elaborate costume or mask is its ability to conceal the expressions of a player who hasn’t mastered their poker face.