Poker is a game of image and deception. Even through it’s rough history, poker will always remain a game of class, even with the recent blow-up of Texas Hold Em in rural and suburban areas as well as on television, so when you cash in next time you go to the casino, do you even think about what you’re wearing, and how that affects how people view you and your game?
This is America, you don’t need to be dressed up to play cards in a casino like Europe, but does this mean you should go in wearing ripped jeans, a t-shirt, and sunglasses? If this makes you feel comfortable, then sure, but you should know that some of the sharks hanging around will view you as nothing but a casual player, there to win or lose a small amount, but generally be there to have a good time. This is fine if you actually can play your cards, as you’ll be a little bit of a sleeper around with guys who may look more polished or serious then yourself.
Poker is no easy game to play but at the same time it can be learned quickly as all you need to have is a bit of focus and strategy in order to beat your opponent. It is quite astonishing to note that the greatest players seem unconquerable but do meet their match in some underdog who proves to be a shade bit better.
Keep an eye out for young guys or teenagers (I live and gamble in Minnesota, where our gambling age is 19) wearing poker themed slogan t-shirts with sayings like “Big Slick” or “I’ve Got the Nuts”. Although these may impress their friends who have nothing to do with the game other than watching the WPT once, all it does to a table full of skilled players is scream “I’m a beginner player.” Again, if you’re actually not just a beginner, maybe throwing that “I’ve got bullets” shirt on will throw some play your way.
Keep an eye out for small emblems or logos on clothing that represent poker brands. These could either be brands that this player actually likes, or more importantly, he may be a sponsered player, either way meaning he has invested time and money into learning the game and is probably an extremely skilled player. If you want to get into a pot with these guys, you’d better make damn sure you know how to play your cards.
Again, people who feel the need to dress up to play poker are probably either extremely serious and talented players, or people just trying to act that way. It shouldn’t take too many hands to seperate the wheat from the chaff with these players. Even if their game isn’t completely watertight great, I must admit, I always respect a player who will sit down in designer sunglasses, a suit, and a tie.
Women! A great display of cleavage or generally just looking attractive has switched many a male player’s concentration to the female from his hand. Use this trick wisely!
This bring us to the subject of sunglasses. People wear sunglasses in poker to try to eliminate tells from the eyes, just like people wear hats to somewhat eliminate facial tells. I personally wear sunglasses (a pair of highly reflective Aviators), because I can somewhat hide in my own little world. I still converse and table talk, but I can sit right there and stare at a players face the whole hand, and they will have no clue where my eyes are. They didn’t glance down at the flop, turn, or river, they had been watching the player to my right the whole time. It feels good when you have someone under complete surveillance, but make sure your glasses aren’t too dark so you can misread a card or the color of a chip. Poker pro Phil Ivey recalls throwing a pair of thousand dollar sunglasses away after he misread a river and lost a $100,000 pot.
Now to tell you all what I wear to the casino or cardroom. I’m only 19, so I’m consistently the young guy at the table. I’m a kid, but I know my way around a poker table and a 4/8 or 2/10 game of Hold Em, so usually I dress up a little which is something my younger peers very rarely do. It’s easy to disrespect the lousy kid with the Metallica t-shirt on throwing chips around left and right and then remarking to what happened when Esfandiari had that hand last week on the WPT. I dress up to seperate myself a little bit, usually wearing my signature Aviators, unkept curly hair under a Guiness cap, button up long sleeved shirt, comfortable khakis or jeans, and either my work shoes or Converse All-Stars. This shows that I am fun and cocky, but I did think to throw on something that looks presentable before sitting down to play.
Take these tips as they are and think about what you’re wearing before heading to the cardroom! See ya at the tables.