Dress Code for Poker Tournaments

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Clasic Poker Tournament Clothing

The guy with Elmo’s head, Pink Bunny, Julius Caesar, or even a mysterious visitor wearing a Wonder Woman costume. And thousands of individuals disguised under hoodies and dark sunglasses. Are you sure we’ve come to the right place? Because we were heading to the poker tournament… Yes, there’s no mistake here! But why is the world championship is becoming that much of a huge spectacle, attire-wise? Well, let’s find out what are the most outrageous poker championship outfits and why they even bother with such creativity!

Why Poker Players Dress So Crazy

High-roller poker tournaments games are big events aired on international TV channels. So when the buy-in at the final event is $10,000 (or even $50,000 as at the latest 50th WSOP anniversary Final Event), and the winner is to take a couple of million, you know it’s going to be the talk of the town.

Poker live costumesSo perhaps that’s the reason why poker players like to catch the attention of the TV cameras and some potential sponsors by wearing all those crazy clothes and accessories. Also, they like the idea of disguising their reaction, all striving to make the most convincing poker face possible! Plus, there are some pretty weird things that might serve as lucky charms for them…

Look at our pick of the craziest people we found at poker events and have a think about how you can outplay them! And don’t forget your WSOP bracelet, if you’re lucky enough to have one.

What Do They Wear

Now let’s see particular examples of the usual poker-player dress code for a championship. Warning: we’re a whole world away from the old black-tie style here!

Sunglasses

It looks like these have already become a uniform accessory for poker players. Wearing sunglasses has a few benefits. First of all, you can hide your “tells,” so that nobody can read you by the way you move your eyes. Secondly, you distract the other players or even make them more nervous, because they don’t know what to expect from your hand. Also, you can stare at other players as much as you want and they won’t notice it. Tournament participants also say that the Rio casino has bright lights, and it’s sore on the eyes to sit like that for hours.

But we’ve got to warn you here – mirrored glasses are considered lame by most of the poker community! Indeed, these sunglasses might even end up revealing your hole cards by reflecting them in their lenses to other players. And yet, pros like to shatter myths. So if everyone had their fun posting memes of Kim Kardashian being “lame” for wearing mirrored glasses at a charity event, the legendary Phil Hellmuth did the same thing at WSOP 2019 and managed to look at the cards in such a way that the glasses didn’t reflect them!

Clothing on Tournament for Poker with Glasses

Some say it’s possible to cheat by painting or counting cards, with the help of some devices you’ve integrated into your shades. The same logic can be found in the idea of wearing headphones: because someone who knows a little more than the player might be able to give remote instructions.

Some people believe that sunglasses became an official poker championship style after a few players won big while wearing them. For example, Stu Ungar made a big comeback (albeit his last one) by winning WSOP in 1997. He was wearing rounded sunglasses. And, Chris Moneymaker, the amateur who won at the WSOP main event in 2003, donned sunglasses and a baseball cap. But if you finally do decide to wear sunglasses at the poker event, keep in mind that you’re going to be watched closely by the casino bosses. They want to make sure you’re not being influenced…

Big Headphones. Really Big

Do you know why an average poker player at WSOP is called a fish? Picture in your mind the big hall with literally hundreds of poker tables and players constantly changing or just watching the game. So when you think about it, it might be pretty noisy out there. So big noise-canceling headphones sound like a good idea! Also, you can turn up your favorite music; you know, the kind that helps you concentrate, deal with the tilt, or just ride the swelling tides of success to your final victory!

Really Big Headphones on girl playing poker

Then again, who can guarantee that your competitor doesn’t have a spy standing behind your back and watching your cards and then telling them in their headphones what you’ve got? We don’t know whether WSOP is going to review the probability of cheating with special devices but rumors say that some famous player we won’t name (*cough* Phil Ivey *cough*) has made a fortune on a good old card-counting. Who knows, who knows…

Branded Clothing

With this point, things are actually more difficult than they might appear. Because it turns out that championship rulers have a very strict policy regarding logos. In the official WSOP rules, you’ll find many regulations about showing brands, especially at televised events. So here are some of the rules.

The WSOP administration reserves the right to ban apparel with logos having to do with cryptocurrency, marijuana, and anything in between. And if you’ve got your sponsor’s logo and it’s okay, then even in that case, you can wear no more than one logo on one piece of clothes (like a sleeve or a cap). And at the final table of the main event, there can be no more than three “branded” participants. Even so, many players still want to find sponsors to collaborate with, because it’s the latter who given them the money they need to actually enter the tournament and play. Currently, the main event appearance with a logo costs around $100,000. So why not, huh?

Costumes

There are plenty of stories about outrageous costumes from the times when the WSOP main event took place close to Halloween. Another important thing to remember here is that poker players are risk-lovers, so they’re capable of gambling on pretty much anything! And what they love most of all is betting on appearing in very special costumes.

Now, it’s pretty much impossible to tell you about all the crazy things that have happened at WSOP, so we’ve created this list of the most famous epic appearances. And the grand prize goes to… Phil Hellmuth! Now this is a guy who likes to be the champion of everything he does. Besides gaining the biggest number of WSOP bracelets (15) and cash prizes (150 times), with an overall bank of $14,727,690, he’s always trying his best to live up to his reputation of a true superstar. Once he even appeared in the role of Julius Caesar on a real chariot with real horses! Other famous appearances from this player are a WWII General, boxer, race-car driver, and even big baby (our favorite!)

Other crazy costumes include these:

  • Kara Scott as a pink bunny
  • Tatjana Pasalic as a playful leopard
  • Daniel Negreanu as Scotty Nguyen (no, seriously!)
  • Phil Laak did a 6-hour makeup session so he could appear as an old man
  • Bruno Politano as Scooby-Doo
  • Richard Wyrick as Snow White (we mean it!)
  • Bertrand Grospellier as the main character from Assassin’s Creed
  • Jeff Madsen as Jester

Now the WSOP main event is held in summer, just like the rest of the championships. Even Phil Hellmuth this year looked… just normal (wait, what?!) Too bad. We’ll miss those crazy Halloween appearances…

Weird Headwear

Just like with costumes, headwear is mostly either a lucky charm or the result of a lost bet. For example, after losing a bet, Tom Dwan had to wear a huge and fluffy flamingo hat! And that year he went pretty far, so the pink flamingo happened to be his lucky mascot too.

Some other crazy bits of headgear from the World Series of Poker include a multicolored umbrella as seen in Bruce Almighty, a leprechaun hat, a clown’s green wig, a modern take on the native American’s headwear, and even a snowman’s head (bigger in size than the actual wearer’s head!) Hope these wacky pieces of headgear did bring their wearers some good luck…

Hoodie Undercover

Sometimes this poker championship is rather reminiscent of a shady meeting where people are plotting something illegal. The reason? Lots of stealthy (or should we say creepy?) people who you can’t actually see through their hoodies. Add a pair of sunglasses here, and you don’t even know whether the guy is mentally okay or not! However, hoodies, together with sunglasses, have become another super-recognizable feature of a poker-tournament style. Don’t let anyone read your tells!

Hoodie on man that playes poker

The thing is, players feel more protected when wearing a hoodie. Hopefully not because they’re carrying a gun underneath!

One more popular notion is that the Rio hall where the action happens keeps the air-conditioning at a temperature of nearly 67 degrees Fahrenheit in the middle of a desert. After a few hours by the table, you may want to either curl up under a blanket or throw on something warm. Otherwise, if you’re renowned for your stone-cold bluff, forget about your hoodie and then show them how you can do it with no help from the outside. We would be really impressed to see that!

FAQ

  • How to dress if I’m going to the poker tournament for the first time?

Bring something warm like a hoodie with you for air-conditioned halls, and don’t forget about summer outfits, because you’re most likely going to the kind of location where it’s summer 365 days a year. Also, it’s better to make your own style statement. Think about how you can stand out from the crowd.

  • Can I wear a mask at a poker event?

At the final stages of the championship, especially if they’re going to be aired and you’re also a high roller, you’ll be allowed to wear a mask.

  • Why do some players dress in such a crazy way at poker tournaments?

They might do it for a number of reasons. Some are seeking attention, some are wearing lucky charms, while others have lost a bet. Anyway, wearing something outrageous became an exciting part of the show itself when poker tournaments first started getting popular worldwide.

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