MCU poker tip: How to dress for poker

One excellent poker book claims that you should dress up in a business suit and a tie to play poker. The idea is that this gives you a psychological advantage over others by making you seem successful and professional. You gain an intimidation factor, it’s alleged.

I have come to doubt this advice more and more over the years. I believe the most important thing you can do about clothing is to dress very comfortably. Cotton works for me. I also believe that a businesslike, professional image is precisely the wrong one to bring to the poker table. You want to look as if you’re fun to play with and not particularly out to win everyone’s money. Winning their money should appear accidental to your opponents.

Willing to gamble

Try to appear unpredictable, not too serious, and willing to gamble. You’ll make much more money with that image, even if you play essentially the same strategy.

Opponents will notice you more readily if you wear something that draws attention — an unusual hat, clashing colors, unusual eyeglasses. You don’t need to do that, but it helps advertise your presence and tends to earn you more calls when you have winning hands.

Main goal

It’s okay to dress appealingly, too. But the main goal is avoid clothes that make you seem to be a superior player. That’s why that old “dress for success” adage doesn’t mean the same thing in poker as it does in the world beyond. Years ago, I tried wearing business suits at the poker table and the image didn’t fit. I got fewer calls and earned less profit.

My advice: Dress to make yourself comfortable and behave in a way that makes your opponents more comfortable about losing to you. Dressing to appear businesslike is wrong for poker. — MC

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Mike Caro

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Known as the “Mad Genius of Poker,” Mike Caro is generally regarded as today's foremost authority on poker strategy, psychology, and statistics. He is the founder of Mike Caro University of Poker, Gaming, and Life Strategy (MCU). See full bio → HERE.

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