Over the last fortnight, we’ve brought you a series of self-help guides to improving your life at the poker tables and away from it. We’ve helped you organise how to restructure your diet, revolutionised your sleep patterns, assisted you in keeping on top of your mental health and even given you some tips for travelling.
We now come to a vital and often overlooked aspect of poker, namely what to wear when you’re at the table. On the face of it, you might think, it sounds easy. You get up in the morning, you take a shower and throw on some clothes. Right? Wrong.
Here are five ways you improve your ability to wear clothes and have a positive effect on your poker game.
1. Plan your wardrobe
Your regular wardrobe may well include the latest trends. In fact, you could be so on trend, you’re practically a hashtag. But unless your wardrobe includes clothes you put aside for poker events, then you’re never fully dressed, smile or not.
Planning what to take with you for a poker tournament isn’t easy. Less is more when it comes to options, especially with the cost of taking luggage already astronomical and on the rise rapidly. Generally speaking, take less jackets, shoes and external clothes such as hats and scarves than you think you’ll need. Instead of those bulky and often heavy items, take more lighter wear such as under garments and t-shirts that you can wear under other clothes.
2. Account for weather
Poker clothes should be put by not only for tournaments in your own country, but in foreign climes too. If you’re based on London and playing in Morocco for a week in Marrakech, then your regular jeans and jumper combo isn’t going to work when you step off the plane into oven-like heat. Likewise, a ventilated polo and khaki shorts might raise a few eyebrows as you breeze through a freezing Heathrow Airport upon your return.
Planning for weather may be a fool’s errand in the British Isles or Ireland, but in many other areas of the world, you can make more solid plans for what to wear. If the meteorologists suggest it’s going to be cold for a week in deepest Russia or be fairly sunny in The Bahamas during summer season. Dress accordingly when outside and you’ll enjoy the event a lot more.
3. Dress for the day
One thing many poker players make the mistake of doing is to dress for the first two hours of a long, arduous day at the felt. I’ve personally lost count of the number of times that I’ve seen a gentleman of what might be called ‘several decades’ enter the cardroom at noon in a crisply-ironed, colourful dress shirt. Looking resplendent as the tournament director announces, “shuffle up and deal”, that same shirt after ten hours of live poker looks like a crisp packet that’s been left in the sun.
Wearing something that will still feel comfortable in for 10-12 hours not only is good planning for the eventuality that you make it that far, but it is positive assertion that you’ll do so. We all know the power of positive declarations on our poker game thanks to the positivity projected by players such as Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth.
4. Comfort is everything
Wearing comfortable clothes is important for poker players. From trousers that allow you to sit without distraction for many hours to a top that you can store what you need at the table in – we’re not thinking Mike Postle, just some music and a healthy snack – what you wear at a poker table should be optimal at all times.
When you’re thinking of what to wear at a poker table, think of the last time you made a bet then faced an all-in from a player you then folded to. What were they wearing? If you can’t remember, it could well be because they looked so comfortable that it didn’t even register. Be that comfortable.
5. Be yourself
While the previous four tips all focus on the ways you can tailor your apparel to suit your environment, other players and the length of time you’ll hopefully be playing poker, it’s important to remind yourself that individuality matters too.
While wearing comfortable clothes and centering your apparel around maintaining an optimal physical condition is advisable, retaining your own sense of style is important too. You always feel at your best in clothes you enjoy wearing, so while choosing clothes that reflect your personality – or the table image you want to project – is something worth considering.
There are loads of different places to buy poker-centric clothing, such as Bad Beat Clothing and Spreadshirt, both of whom ship most places at reasonable rates. Whoever you use to help you, we hope you look the business at the poker table and enjoy winning wearing whatever you feel comfortable wearing.