Examining How Poker Fashion Has Changed Over the Years
Over the years, poker has seen a massive evolution when it comes to fashion styles. From hoodies and gaudy t-shirts to tracksuits, baseball caps, old-school cowboy hats, polos and even suits, poker has always had a very varied relationship with fashion. From styles that make you cringe, to the ones that actually look cool, and ugly attires that make you wonder what the players were thinking, we’ve taken a trip down memory lane at some of poker’s most memorable looks.
#1. The Cowboy Hat
Cowboy hats have always been and often still are popular in the world of poker. Some of the most memorable players to wear a cowboy hat are Bret Maverick, Doyle Brunson, and Amarillo Slim - not to mention all the veteran players in every poker movie ever. This trend began when Texas Hold’em started to grow in popularity during the early 1900s in the Lone Star, and before a player sat down at the table, they’d need three things with them; eyes in the back of their head, stake money, and a cowboy hat that John Wayne himself would be proud to wear. When Las Vegas caught the Texas Hold’em bug in the 1960s, the early super-players in the game wouldn’t be seen dead without their trusty cowboy hat on their head.
#2. The Sports Jersey
From 2004-2008, the sports jersey - usually a show of support for your favourite team - became a major trend in the world of poker. Although it’s debatable whether or not the players were avid supporters of the teams that they wore jerseys for, there’s no denying that baggy sportswear was the thing to be seen in at the poker table. Main players to head the sports jersey trend include Daniel Negreanu and the entire Full Tilt Red Pros table.
#3. The Scarf
Wearing a scarf at the poker table is a trend that started back in 2006 and is still popular in the present day. It’s primarily an accessory to keep your body warm in colder climates, but the mid-2000s saw the humble scarf moved indoors and into poker rooms across Europe. The trend was started by Italian high-roller Dario Minieri, who wore an AS Roma scarf during multiple legs of the European Poker Tour. Poker rooms can be quite chilly at times - particularly in the U.S., where the air conditioning is cranked up to the max - but another reason that players decide to continue the scarf-wearing trend at the poker table is to hide any physical tells.
#4. The Hoodie
Wearing a hoodie became a classic look at poker tables during the late 2000s, when the new generation of online poker players began to play live regularly. Unlike many other poker fashion trends, the hoodie has stood the test of time and is still a popular look in poker to this day. This popular, humble clothing item works well for poker players as not only is it comfortable, the hood can also be used to cover the face in order to avoid giving away any physical tells. There are also a handful of other things that players would do; you can read about some of them here. Some players have been known to really take this to the extreme, such as Phil Laak, who’s pulled his hoodie so tight at times that only his eyes are visible.
#5. The Poker Billboard
From 2007 to 2011, getting sponsored meant that the players did almost anything shy of getting a logo tattooed on them. It wasn’t uncommon to see professional players with up to ten logos emblazoned on their shirts, hats, and jackets. It was pretty much the poker equivalent of staying in a nice hotel and taking all the freebies that were available - perhaps not the classiest of choices, but definitely cost-effective. This trend, often known as ‘patching up’ and often used by finals players at massive tournaments around the world certainly had its purpose; a precious few minutes of TV time, or photos in a popular magazine were highly effective marketing tools for both the players and the sponsors. Although this poker fashion trend was never really ‘cool’, it played a huge part in raising the profile of the game around the world.
#6. The Fighting T-Shirt
Popular from 2005-2010, fighting t-shirts were worn by pretty much every online qualifier in the mid to late 2000s, and certainly by every poker player who went to the gym. This trend rose to fame due to the fact that from 2000-2006, mixed martial arts (MMA), particularly the Pride Fighting Championships and Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) gained massive popularity, from near-obscurity to the mainstream. And, it had a rather unexpected effect on the world of poker, with the world’s best players suddenly coming out dressed like their favourite MMA heroes. Brands such as Ed Hardy, TapOut and Affliction, with their garish, loud and often gothic designs began to dominate the poker table. But, in recent years this look has begun to fade out, with players now choosing to sport plain coloured, more professional-looking V-necks and polo shirts instead.
#7. The Suit
From 2010 to the present day, the dapper trend of wearing a smart suit at a final table has been seen more regularly at several tournaments. Whilst it’s a rarer look compared to more casual outfits, Daniel Negreanu and other slick dressers such as Tony Durst, Ben Roberts and Marcel Luske have been suiting up and helping to raise the dress code at the table in recent times. Poker fashions are certainly getting increasingly smarter these days, and many of the styles chosen by today’s top players are in line with a new focus on healthy eating and living. Many players still have the motto that you may as well be comfortable if you’re sitting at a table for twelve hours a day; but with a higher number of players now placing more importance on their lifestyles and health habits, clothing trends have also changed to become a bit more smart and presentable.
Which poker fashion trends are your favourite? Are there any trends you remember that you think are worth a mention but we’ve left out? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.
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