I was watching the World Poker Tour or something like that over the weekend with my mom, and at one point she asked me why half of them were wearing sunglasses. The reason seems obvious to me, but since my mother asked the question, maybe not. So I thought I would briefly touch upon it for today’s post.
The most obvious reason sunglasses are worn in this situation is because it helps to hide your true intentions. It’s true; your “poker face” will be much more effective if your eyes are hidden from view. Because your eyes and facial expressions are both key indicators of body language, wearing sunglasses makes it infinitely more difficult for another player to call your bluff.
Another reason is because sunglasses make some people look intimidating. Intimidation is a prerequisite to fear, which is a key motivator for everyone. Making yourself look intimidating helps raise an element of doubt in your opponents, and can make them slightly uneasy thereby increasing the odds that you can knock them off their game.
The third reason is that it can help alleviate your own anxiety. If you wear sunglasses at the table, then you can be reasonably confident that your opponents will have increased difficulty pinpointing your true intentions. Thus, even if this does not actually give you an advantage, you will think it does which will make you more confident and less nervous at the table.
Of course, there are a couple of downsides to this practice as well, which is why not all players wear shades at the table. Most obvious is the fact that you are wearing sunglasses in a dimly-lit room, which could make things more difficult to see and thus could lead to playing errors. Additionally, some old-timers frown upon this practice and might give you a hard time about it.
In the final analysis, I really do not play poker so I probably won’t be doing this any time soon. But if I can get an unfair advantage by wearing my Neo Sunglasses or Morpheus Sunglasses while playing Rummy 500 or Go Fish, then I’m all in!