The quietly tense world of poker playing is as well known for it’s huge financial payoffs as it is for the celebrities that consider it a ‘professional hobby’ or play the game to benefit a favorite charity.  Ben Affleck, Dave Navarro, Shannon Elizabeth, Neil Patrick Harris, Laura Prepon and Howie Mandel have all spent time at the table, their poker faces on, their eyes hidden behind a pair of shades.  But whether a poker player is a well-known actor,  or simply a celebrity in the world of poker, are those sunglasses really necessary?

The first argument for wearing sunglasses during a poker match is that it is a simple defense against the other players to read your intentions by way of a telling glance.  Say you have a horrible hand of cards, but you know that if you bluff long enough, you could end up with something better.  Professionals say that there are tell-tale physical sings that a person is bluffing:  eyes darting nervously around the room, the quick dilation of the pupils, or a look of hesitation.  If you check out the action on, more often than not, you’ll see the players hiding those telling emotions behind a swank pair of sun-specs.

Another side of the story is that some players may wear their favorite shades just to look cool.  And let’s face it.  A nice pair of stylish sunglasses are a fabulous accessory, whether you’re playing poker or not!

Arguments against the use of sunglasses during a match are varied. Many folks feel that it gives an advantage over the players who choose to not wear sunglasses.  It’s often called an unfair advantage at that. Then there is the whole ‘intimidation factor’ – the school of thought that what you can’t see is scary.  Many players have commented that they feel uncomfortable when they can’t see another player’s eyes.  And some people just feel that wearing dark lenses over the eyes when playing cards is a sure-fire way to misread their cards.

The debate over wearing sunglasses whilst playing poker is an old one, and it’s certainly not going away anytime soon.  As long as the world of poker exists, the argument will be there right alongside it!