Why are pro poker players allowed to wear sunglasses?

Not sure if this has a factual answer- I mean since reading the other player I thought was a big part of the game, and I would think the eyes are an important part of this.

For one thing all poker players are pros. If you are not playing for money then what is the point? It’s gambling, not football. There are no uniform regulations other than whatever policy the casino might have. They probably would frown on any nudity that wasn’t part of the floor show.

Because casinos don’t care whether you win or lose in poker. They just want you to play since they take a percentage off the top. Any unneeded rules hurt their bottom line. If one casino bans sunglasses, another will advertise that they allow them.

The factual answer is, there is no rule against it.

Many pro players don’t wear sunglasses. In fact based on my completely unscientific survey I’d say that there are as many pro players who don’t wear shades as there are who do, if not more. I’ve seen interviews with a number of top pros who’ve said that they don’t wear shades because it makes it more likely they’ll misread the board or miss a tell from an opponent and any advantage they’d get from wearing them is more than offset by the disadvantages. OTOH, pros who do wear them say that they’re useful in concaling any tells relating to their eyes and it prevents other players at the table from seeing where they’re looking.

Um, no they aren’t. Most poker player are not pros, if “pro” is defined as making a living from playing. An oft-bandied about statistic is that some 50 million Americans play poker. There are not 50 million professional poker players in the US.

Most pros would probably avoid doing so anyway when they get that royal flush they don’t want their ‘tell’ standing out

Um whatever. If someone is equating poker to a sport then you have to use sport terminology. Someone who plays a sport for money is a pro. Someone who does it for fun is an amateur. Obviously everyone who plays poker is not doing it for a living. That doesn’t mean there is a huge gap between “pros” and the rest of the masses (not talking about ability). Anyone with a buy in can be a “pro” along next to someone trying to do it for a living. Thats not really possible in the NFL. You can keep your ums to yourself.

Of course, if you’re wearing the wrong kind of sunglasses (or glasses in general) it’s possible for your cards to be reflected from the glasses and thus are visible to another player.

I wish I could find the T-shirt, but there’s one out there that says “Why are you wearing a hat and sunglasses at a 3-6 limit table?”

Ah, found it.

If you’re reading your cards in such a way that they’re being reflected off your glasses, you should probably not be playing poker.

I’m just saying it’s possible. I agree, if you’re reading the cards right, the chance should be low to impossible.

Honestly, I only worry about it in games like rummy or others where you routinely actually hold the hand. Though I did lose a game of Stratego once that way.

Bender gets to wear his X-Ray sunglasses because he needs them for "reading stuff, on the other side of stuff!"

Who’s the someone here?

Why are you putting “pro” in scare quotes here? Doesn’t that tell against the point you’re trying to make?

This suggests an important disanalogy between poker and sports, or if “someone” prefers, poker and other sports. I’d say a distinction between senses of “pro” could be built out of the facts underlying this disanalogy.


By the same token: Why are pro football players allowed to wear cleats? I mean since causing the other guy to lose traction I thought was a big part of the game, and I would think that the shoes are an important part of this.

In other words, as long as the same rules apply to everyone, it’s still a fair game. Yeah, maybe I can’t read you as well when you’re wearing shades. If I think that’s a big advantage, then I can wear shades, as well.

our local casino however bans sunglasses - I think it is to make sure that their security cameras can recognize everyone and stop cheats etc

If my and my buddies bet to see who can orgasm the fastest I’m a pro masturbator? I’m with Otto on this.

Say what?

“Pro” means “professional” as in someone who engages in an activity as a profession, as in a vocation or business. Weekend games with friends for money hardly qualify as a profession. Taking a flutter on the horses a few times a year also does not qualify as a profession. With gambling, money is (almost) always involved, and you’re not a professional gambler unless that’s how you make your living. Just because money is involved in an activity does not make that activity a profession.

I suspect the OP was talking about “pro” as in “participant in sponsored big-money tournament on ESPN”, not as in “guy with day job who makes a profit some weeks down at the local Indian joint.”

I agree that I’m surprised that high-level tournament play allows glasses, but then again, part of the alllure of TV poker is the more interesting characters among the players. If everybody was a Spockian robot in a cheap suit it’d be a lot less entertaining, which translates into less money for ESPN & their sponsors.

It’s also still the early years for this TV sport. What next, team poker (like UFC is now doing?). Or maybe sponosrship deals where their clothes start looking like a NASCAR driving suit, a giant collage of logos? Maybe a steroid scandal?

I know nothing at all about poker, and based the question on the idea that the thing that separates a big time winner and a joe on the street is the ability to “read” players, and with sunglasses, that ability seems greatly diminished, yet even with sunglasses the top players are still the top players. Does this mean the reading of players “tells” is not as important as it is played up to be?

No. It just means reading the other players’ eyes isn’t that important, at least under certain circumstances. It could be a result of not reading the players being important, or it could be a result of eyes being only one kind of tell. It takes a lot more than a pair of sunglasses if your tell is the set of your shoulders or a slight up-or-down-turn of your mouth, or whatever.

One more question about “tells”- say a pro reads another as bluffing on a hand- can good players tell to what degree the other player is bluffing as in, can they tell not only if somone is bluffing they have a great hand, but also if they have a fair hand, or nothing at all, if that makes sense. In other words, say I know from your tell you didn’t make that straight flush, but can they also tell a straight flush bluff from a flush bluff from a one pair bluff from a eight high bluff?