Why Do Poker Players Wear Sunglasses at the Table? 5 Smart Reasons

Why do poker players wear sunglasses at the table? From amateurs in local card rooms to celebrity pros on TV, it’s common to see poker players sporting dark shades while playing. Sunglasses have become a signature part of the poker scene for strategic reasons. Wearing sunglasses helps poker players boost their edge and performance at the tables. In this article, we’ll explore the key reasons why savvy poker players use shades and how they gain an advantage.

Why Do Poker Players Wear Sunglasses? Key Reasons

There are a few main reasons why pros and amateurs alike use sunglasses in poker:

1. Conceal Emotions and Limit Tells

One of the biggest reasons to wear sunglasses in poker is to hide facial expressions and limit the amount of information you give away. Subtle changes in your face can betray the strength of your hand. A smile, frown, or grimace after looking at your cards or the flop can tip off observant opponents.

Sunglasses act as a barrier, masking your eyes and upper face. This makes it tougher for others at the table to read your reactions and pick up on your tells. Having a “poker face” is vital in the game, and dark lenses help you maintain a steady demeanor.

2. Avoid Giving Away Eye Tells

Eyes reveal a lot about your thinking and decision-making process. When you stare at chips or cards longer, your eyes say something. Sunglasses prevent opponents from picking up on eye tells and movements. They won’t be able to gauge your interest level in certain cards the same way.

Dilating pupils can also give away strong emotions, whether excitement or fear. Sunglasses hide any pupil dilation so you don’t reveal the strength of your hand.

3. Reduce Eye Strain and Fatigue

Staring at cards and chips for hours on end leads to eye strain and fatigue. Poker sunglasses with polarized lenses help reduce glare and let your eyes relax. This helps you stay alert and focused for the long haul at the poker table.

Tired eyes can give off tells as you squint or blink excessively. Sunglasses prevent this eyestrain response. Keeping your eyes fresh improves your stamina.

4. Deal With Bright Lights in Casinos

The lighting in poker rooms and casinos is usually very bright and harsh. This makes it easier for security cameras to monitor games, but tougher on the eyes. Poker sunglasses counteract the bright lights and reduce glare.


Without tinted lenses, constantly staring into bright lights can cause headaches and watery eyes. Sunglasses remedy this issue and let you keep your eyes open without discomfort or damage.

5. History of Sunglasses in Poker

Sunglasses became popular for poker players in the 1970s and 80s. Before then, casinos actually prohibited the wearing of sunglasses and hats at the poker table. They wanted security cameras to have unobstructed views of all the players’ faces.

But as poker strategy evolved, pros realized the immense value sunglasses brought to the table. Concealing expressions and masking tells gave players a big edge.

In the 1980s, casinos relaxed their rules and allowed small glasses and hats to accommodate players. Classic slim black sunglasses became the norm and an accepted part of poker culture.

Types of Poker Sunglasses

There are a few main styles of sunglasses designed specifically for poker:

1. Classic Slim Frames

Thin frames with small lenses are the most traditional poker glasses. These are non-polarized, lightly tinted, and subtly mask eyes and upper facial expressions. Classic styles don’t look obvious or tactical.

2. Large Lens Wraparounds

Wraparound sunglasses with wide lenses offer more coverage. These shield the entire eye area and block side views of your eyes and brows. Large lenses can look conspicuous but provide enhanced concealment.

3. Blue and Yellow Lens Tints

Some poker players opt for blue or yellow-tinted lenses rather than dark black. These tints sharpen contrast slightly and can help pick up on tells from opponents. Blue lenses also filter out yellow casino lighting.

4. Anti-Reflective Coating

This lens coating reduces glare and reflections. It clarifies vision to detect opponents’ reactions and behaviors better. Anti-reflective coating also cuts down on eyestrain.

Do Sunglasses Actually Help Win at Poker?

There is certainly logic behind why poker players wear dark glasses – masking emotions and limiting visual information for opponents to take advantage of. But do sunglasses actually tangibly help players win more hands and earn more money?

Some professional poker players insist sunglasses give them an edge and strategic benefit. Others argue any advantage is minor against observant opponents, or offset by not being able to read others as well.


Ultimately, results come down to the individual player’s skill level. Sunglasses seem to help most by boosting player confidence and comfort. If wearing shades makes you feel more focused, relaxed, and absorbed in the game, then they can contribute to playing your best poker.

FAQs About Poker Players and Sunglasses


Are sunglasses allowed in poker rooms and casinos?

Yes, today most poker rooms and casinos permit players to wear small, non-reflective sunglasses at the table. Often, hats and hoods are limited, but shades are generally accepted.


Do professional poker players wear sunglasses?

Many top pros frequently wear sunglasses at the poker table. They help them remain stoic and unreadable against stiff competition. Some well-known players associated with shades are Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, and Chris Moneymaker.


Do online poker players wear sunglasses?

Sometimes, yes. Since online poker is played on a computer or phone screen, sunglasses can reduce glare and eyestrain. They likely provide minimal strategic benefit, but may still offer a comfortable feel.


Should amateurs wear sunglasses when first learning poker?

It’s fine for beginners to try sunglasses out and see if they help them focus and stay calm at the table. But new players should be aware that observing others’ reactions remains important in learning the game.


Do poker room rules limit the type or tint of sunglasses allowed?

Most rooms prohibit fully-mirrored lenses, very dark tints, or large oversized shades. Standard moderately-tinted slim frames are widely permitted. Players should check specific casino policies before playing.



So why do smart poker players insist on wearing sunglasses? While debate continues on their tangible benefits, sunglasses offer pros and amateurs alike a mental boost.

By hiding facial expressions, masking eye movements, and sharpening focus, shades help players hone their “poker face” skills.

Sunglasses have become ingrained in poker culture and tradition. And as any seasoned poker veteran will advise – when in doubt, put on your shades!

Walter Hendricks

Walter Hendricks is a well-known authority in the eyewear industry, specializing in a diverse range of products such as gaming glasses, swimming goggles, sunglasses, eyeglasses, computer glasses, and fashionable daily-wear eyewear.

Hendricks believes in empowering his readers with in-depth information to help them choose the right glasses that blend functionality and fashion, catering to their unique lifestyle requirements.

His comprehensive reviews and informative articles provide clear insights on everything from cutting-edge gaming glasses to the latest trends in eyewear fashion. Through his work, Hendricks has proven his dedication to helping consumers make informed eyewear decisions that support both their visual needs and style preferences.