Monday, February 25, 2013

Hardware Pick of February: Sunglasses

I find that the tells I read most are in the eyes. I admit that I cannot look into my opponents' souls, but I don't really have to. Their eyes betray them with nervous twitching. An opponent with out of character eye-contact—either too much or not enough, will generally lose the hand to me. It is a tell that is easily remedied, as I do, by wearing protection.

If you find me at a big-money live game, you'll find me in shades. Your eyes are a hard tell to conseal without sunglasses. Sure, I suppose if you practice your poker face enough you could minimize the tell, but for me that would require constant awareness. I want all my mental resources devoted to playing my cards and reading my opponents, not damage control.

One complaint about shades is that they interfer with your vision. I don't think they have to. Your glasses need to be either tinted or mirrored to conceal your eyes, and I agree that tinted glasses used in an already dim room will make gameplay difficult. Mirrored glasses, on the other hand, don't have to be dark barely at all. Even the infamous holographic specs of the "Fossilman" barely darken the view. If you have trouble viewing your cards, you can always try wearing your glasses upside down like TV's Marcel Lewis. He knows the importance of shades is so much that he completely sacrifics style. Nowadays you will find him wearing poker-specific glasses that open at the bottom for easy hole-card access.

Personally, I wear Oakley half-jackets. Nothing about them is specially better for poker then any other good pair, but the ability to easily switch out lenses was a draw for me. I have both a dark tinted lense and the lighter mirrored "fire" lense. If I ever made it to the WSOP main event I'd take the shades off for the camera, but there is no way I would go against the pros without them.


  1. I'm afraid I have to disagree with you on this one, Grundy, but hey, we can't agree all the time. If you read my article on sunglasses, you already know we disagree. You make a great argument for wearing sunglasses, but I really believe not wearing them is an advantage for me.

    If somebody is giving away tells with his eyes, I believe he'd be better served to address the issues causing this rather than to simply mask the symptoms. He probably has more tells than his eyes and covering one symptom is not going to solve the problems.

    For me, I want people to know exactly where I'm looking. If they are bluffing me, I want to stare at them and let them know I'm looking and watching. I'm going to look at them for a long while and I want them to look into my eyes so they know that I'm observing every action they make. If I do that, they may think twice about bluffing me again.


  2. I think my eyes are the hardest tell to control, so I opt for the shades.

    In response to KC, when I'm up against someone who has bet to me on the river I, take the glasses off. At this point my tells don't matter and I get the same benefits you mention when assessing the possible bluffer.

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