By Paul Hewson
Anytime you watch a big poker event on TV, or any poker event for that matter, you may notice that people generally dress the same. There's the ubiquitous hoodie, often worn with the hood up to help disguise tells. Sunglasses are commonly worn for the same purpose, and scarves have become quite popular in recent years. It's only a matter of time before turtlenecks return to the table.
So what should you wear to your next live poker event? That depends in part on the dress code of the establishment you'll be visiting; rules are usually pretty lax, but tank tops and flip-flops might prevent you from getting in the door. Otherwise, your attire should be an extension of your game.
Under the Hood
Live poker is first and foremost a social game, so what you wear will have a definite impact on your results at the table. If you don’t feel comfortable around people, or if this is your first live event, it's perfectly fine to hide under a hoodie and sunglasses. Don't let the poker fashion police tell you otherwise – unless it's against the establishment's dress code, that is.
Besides, depending on the room itself, a cozy hoodie might be a very good idea. Many poker rooms have the air conditioning cranked up to help keep people awake and active. If you're not sure about the room you'll be visiting or the people you'll be playing with, consider bringing your “conceal, don't reveal” outfit along with you in your bag. It could come in handy.
Having said that, don't merely default to the hoodie-and-shades outfit. Provided you're comfortable, the right clothes can dramatically alter the image people have of you at the table. Wearing a business suit will communicate that you're serious about your poker, and wearing a Hawaiian shirt and Panama shorts will do the opposite.
This can be very useful for your game. If you're naturally a loose player who wants people to fold, the suit-and-tie can help intimidate your opponents, as well as confuse them about your true poker nature. Conversely, if you're a tight player who mostly sticks with big hands and wants opponents to call you down, the casual “I'm just here on vacation” vibe will help you win some money – at least until people catch on.
One other thing about your wardrobe: remember that part about poker being a social game? Winning isn't everything. If you're hoping to make some business connections along the way, dress for the part. If this happens to be a televised event, and you're looking to drum up some sponsorship for down the road, up your dressing game. You don't have to sport a tux like James Bond, but at least consider what you'll look like to your potential business partners. As they say, dress for the job you want.
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