When you’re playing poker, you need intense focus. It’s easy when you’re in a tournament, but not in a poker room full of people buying in and cashing out of tables. One way to avoid distractions is by using headphones that professionals use for music, white noise, or noise cancellation.
Our top pick for the best headphones is Sony WH1000XM3. It has the best ANC and audio output that we’ve seen. When on a budget, Soundcore Life Q20 is an excellent choice. For those who want to splurge on their headphones, Bose NC Headphones 700 is what we recommend.
These three aren’t the only headphones that you can use when playing poker. In fact, we’ve tested dozens of headphones and played poker for weeks to provide you with one of the most comprehensive reviews for poker headphones. Stick around to learn more about each of them and find the one that suits you.
I have an in-depth article about the best poker monitors and other gear (including chairs, keyboard, headphones, …) that will make you play like a real pro.
What Headphones for Poker Should Have
When looking for headphones that you can use for poker, you can’t just pick anything and call it a day. You need specific features, such as active noise cancellation, comfort, and battery life. Besides these, audio quality and price are also two crucial things that you need to consider when looking for a pair of headphones.
While working on this review, we had to go through these factors to ensure that you’re getting the best headphones for poker. What we learned is that, sometimes, quality doesn’t come at a price. Even the ones with the best features didn’t make it in our list just because most of the features that they have aren’t what poker players need.
If you want to get the best headphones for your poker games, here are the five things that you always need to consider:
Audio Quality for Everyday Use
Headphones are probably one of the commodities that have the most number of overpriced products, or at least that’s what audiophiles are claiming. Why? Because it’s difficult to put a price on audio quality.
Will a $50 headphone sound the same as a $1000 headphone? Of course not! But will a person be willing to pay a premium for the difference in audio quality? It’s hard to say, but some would. In fact, you’ll even find the notorious Focal Utopia on Amazon right now for $5000! It sounds exceptional, and it’s easy to put in on any list of the best headphones. But we didn’t include it here because it’s too expensive and it’s a wired headphone.
The point is, whatever your budget is, you’ll find a headphone that sounds great. So, we’re not looking for the best-sounding headphones in the world. We’re looking for something that you’d be happy to use every day without spending a fortune on it.
Active Noise Cancellation to Keep Your Focus
Active noise cancellation or active noise control is a technology that we usually find in high-end headphones. Its purpose is to continuously produce sounds to cancel ambient sounds and make sure that you only hear the sounds that you want to hear.
It’s the most effective method to ensure that you don’t hear anything while wearing the headphones, but it comes at a price. It also requires a power source, so if you’re using it for poker, the cost may seem quite exuberant compared to other headphones. That’s because headphones for poker should be wireless, and it’ll require a lot of power to keep running.
Some headphones have noise cancellation that may be cheaper than the ones we have on this list, but those are using passive noise cancellation. In headphones, you’ll get this feature using thick layers of material to insulate your ears from external sounds. It’s a lot cheaper than ANC headphones, but you’ll have to compromise comfort.
Extreme Comfort Even After Hours of Playing
Poker is a long game, and some poker players intentionally train themselves to be able to make longer poker sessions.
If you would like to play longer yourself, then read this all you need article. It has tips from my poker career where I was able to do whole day sessions (even 8h of playing cash games online with no breaks).
Sure, you can win massive pots in each round, but professionals know that a poker game will take hours. If you’re in a tournament, you don’t have the luxury to pick between noise cancellation and comfort, and you, most certainly, should never pick either in exchange for focus.
If you want the best headphones, you need something that can cancel ambient noise for hours and still be comfortable enough for you to wear. Headphones with passive noise cancellation may effectively reduce external noise for less, but they can get uncomfortable around your ears.
We all had one of those headphones that we can’t wear for hours, right? Those are the ones that use passive noise cancellation. It should snug tightly around the ear to cancel unwanted noise, and if you wear it for hours, it can get uncomfortable.
Long Battery Life That Can Keep Up With You
Active or passive noise cancellation, we all know what we need for poker games. However, another huge drawback of having ANC headphones is that it has to produce sounds using a power source. You’ll also need a consistent, uninterrupted Bluetooth connection to keep working. Both of these will require a lot of power, and if you’re playing for hours, you need something that can keep up.
There are headphones with a feature that allows you to turn off ANC to preserve battery life, but it’s not an option when playing poker. If you want to cancel external sounds, you want to have it turned on every time. So if it affects the price that you have to spend on your headphones, don’t expect one to be on our list.
ANC wireless headphones can keep working from 20 hours up to 60 hours of continuous playback, but we tried to be realistic and kept everything between 20 to 40 hours. The longer the battery life gets, the more you need to shell out when buying these headphones.
The Balance of Cost and All Three Features
We want to provide you with a list of the best headphones that aren’t after the most expensive ones. So you can expect that all of them have the right balance of every feature and price.
There are tons of different headphones that you’ll find in the market, and most of them have all four features. The question is, will it make sense for you to pay for its price? Some headphones that flash the best audio quality, active noise cancellation, comfort, and battery life come with a hefty price tag.
It’s also common to see feature-packed headphones but with even higher prices.
To make our list useful for anyone, we made sure that all of these headphones have the balance of audio, ANC, comfort, battery, and a price tag that won’t break the bank. In this review, we have headphones that you can buy and help you keep your focus while playing.
Our Top Pick: Sony WH1000XM3
Sony WH1000XM3 is the quintessential headphones for poker. The audio quality is just perfect; bass gets too deep without being too loud. You’ll know that it’s one of the best as soon as you hear its output, and you can hear the smooth transition between frequencies.
Sony has been one of the leaders in active noise cancellation (ANC), and this headphone is no exception. According to them, it adjusts based on your surroundings to make sure that ambient noises, wherever you are, don’t pass through. It seems to work just as they claim because it cancels almost every sound, wherever we use it. You can also turn its ANC feature on and off, to help you save up on battery.
Comfort is exceptional; you can wear it for hours and not feel anything around your ears. When playing, you want to focus on the cards that you have, not on the slightest discomfort that you may feel. It’s also easy to control with its touch navigation feature, giving you full control of the headphones without removing it.
The battery life isn’t the best, but 30 hours of playback is still above average. That’s more than enough for at least three tournaments, but if you run out of juice, it also comes with fast-charging that’ll give you 5 hours of playback for a 10-minute charge.
What we like about the Sony WH1000XM3:
- Smooth transitions, deep bass, and high definition output
- Touch controls and easy navigation
- Most comfortable over-the-ear headphones
- Adaptive noise cancellation
The Sony WH1000XM3 isn’t the cheapest, but we can say that it’s the one that gives you the best value. With all the features that you’ll get from it, it’s not surprising that many professional poker players prefer to use it for their games.
Budget Pick: Soundcore Life Q20
We were surprised to see Anker, the company that specializes in charging technology, producing headphones. But what’s even more surprising is the quality that it has for its price. Soundcore Life Q20 has most of the features that you want, but it costs a quarter of what you’d typically spend for mid-range headphones!
Audio quality isn’t the best, but it’s good for its price. It can produce clear and crisp sounds without being too loud or obtrusive. The noise cancellation works, but only for the sounds that you’d hear when outside like engines. When indoor, it still works, but some frequencies can pass through.
The ear cups are great for long hours of use with its memory foam. Aside from effectively filtering some sounds, it snugs nicely around the ear, reducing any discomfort that you’ll feel when using other budget headphones. Navigation can be troublesome, though, with all the buttons and switches that you need to press for controls.
The battery life is its best feature. It works for up to 35 hours, which is better than headphones that are 4 to 5 times more expensive than Soundcore Life Q20.
It also comes with ultra-fast charging capability that gives you 4 hours of playback for 5 minutes of charging time. That’s impressive but expected since Anker specializes in batteries and charging technologies.
What we like about the Soundcore Life Q20:
- Lasts for 35 hours of non-stop playback
- 4 hours of playback for a 5-min charge
- ANC that works when on the poker table
- Affordable without too many compromises
If you’re only looking for a pair of headphones that can effectively cancel ambient noises while playing, Soundcore Life Q20 is an excellent choice. It works better than what you would expect for its price point. It even has some features that beat other more expensive headphones.
Splurge-Worthy Pick: Bose NC Headphones 700
If you’re expecting a thousand-dollar pair of headphones for our splurge-worthy pick, you’ll be disappointed. The aptly-named Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 is our splurge-worthy pick, not because of its price but because of its features outside our radar.
Voice control was something that we’re not looking for in a pair of headphones for poker, but Headphones 700 had the most efficient control we’ve tried. It was so good that we didn’t even miss using the touch and button controls. It has an adaptive mic system that keeps your voice clear even when there’s too much noise.
Most headphones only have noise cancellation features for three environments, but Bose took it to the next level using 11 noise cancellation options that allow you to adjust and adapt to what you need. If that seems too complicated, fret not, because aside from voice controls, you also have touch controls that allow you to control your headphones by touching the ear cup.
As for the battery life, Bose 700 isn’t as good as Soundcore Life Q20 that has 100% more juice, and Sony WH1000XM3 with 50% more. It lasts for 20 hours, making it seem like a deal-breaker for many people, but it’s not. We’ve used it for weeks, and we never had to charge it in the middle of the day. The time-based power information also helps us know when it’s time for a recharge.
What we like about the Bose NC Headphones 700:
- Great comfort for the whole day
- Voice and touch controls
- 11 NC options with an adaptive mic system
- Sleek, modern design
Bose 700 isn’t the best that you can buy, but it goes beyond what we are looking for in a pair of headphones for poker. If you have a bit of extra to spare for your headphones, you may want to check it out and see if it’s what you want for your games.
#4 Best Headphones: Beats Solo Pro
If you’re an Apple user, Beats Solo Pro is your best pick. It’s compatible with Android, but it’s not as good as you might expect, so let’s keep it solely for Apple. One of the reasons is because if you have an iOS device, it connects seamlessly, and it uses Siri for hands-free voice control. So, if you’re going to use it for Android, you’re not really getting the most out of it.
Like other Apple products, the attention to detail with its design is impressive. One example is the fold-unfold to turn the headphones on and off. You’re not walking into a store to look for this feature, but most of us always forget to turn our headphones off. How many times have you experienced that your headphones’ battery dies out in the middle of your game?
The design is simple, it looks just like any other headphones that you’ll find in the market, but the brushed metal side arms add to its elegance and durability. The ear cups are way more comfortable than others that we’ve tried. The touch controls are smooth and responsive. It looks simple, but it’s ergonomic, sleek design makes it a great addition for every poker player.
The battery, with active noise cancellation, turned on, lasts for 22 hours. We’ve seen headphones with more juice than that, but if you turn its “Transparency” off, you’ll get around 40 hours of battery life. Even if you run out of battery, you can charge it for 10 minutes, and you’ll get around three more hours of playback.
What we like about the Beats Solo Pro:
- Optimized for iOS devices
- Battery life that lasts for 40 hours
- Usability and comfort
- Combination of sophistication and simplicity
If you’re using an iOS device, Beats Solo Pro is what we would recommend for you. It tops everything on this list in terms of comfort, usability, and style. It can even go head-to-head with most headphones in battery life, making it the best option for iOS users.
#5 Best Headphones: Sennheiser PXC 550-II
Whether for travel, work, or play, you’ll find Sennheiser PXC 550-II an excellent choice. It has most of the features that we’re looking for in a pair of headphones for poker, but the reason we have it on this list is its sound quality.
It’s not cheap, but you’re getting more than what you might expect. The sound quality is superb. Clean, crisp hi-res audio that can match headphones twice its price. The transitions from low to high frequencies are smooth, and there’s very little that Sennheiser can do to make it better—unless they’re going for the thousand-dollar-headphones market.
Sennheiser designed their headphones for people who are always on the go. The NoiseGard™ technology is an adaptive noise control that automatically adjusts to your environment. Whether you’re using it outdoors or in a poker room, it will effectively cancel all ambient sounds.
The only reason why it’s ranked 5th is because of touch control. It works well for volume control and skipping music, but the rest feels a bit more complicated than other headphones. If we’re not talking about touch controls, Sennheiser PXC 550-II could easily rank higher than Beats Solo Pro.
What we like about the Sennheiser PXC 550-II:
- Compatibility with Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri
- Audio quality that matches expensive headphones
- Adaptive active noise cancellation technology
- 30 hours of continuous playback
If you’re leaning a bit towards ANC and output rather than comfort and usability, Sennheiser PXC 550-II is a perfect option. Comfort isn’t that bad, but for long tournaments, Bose 700 or Sony WH1000XM3 is a better option. However, if you’re an audiophile-slash-poker-player, you need to check Sennheiser PXC 550-II out!
#6 Best Headphones: Jabra Elite 85h
If you’re looking for a beast in battery life, Jabra Elite 85h is what you need. It has enough battery to work for up to 36 hours on a single charge, even with active noise cancellation. That’s more juice than any that we have on this list. Unfortunately, it can be tough to find one on sale, and we were only lucky to find ourselves a pair.
Like other headphones we have on this list, Jabra Elite 85h also has adaptive noise cancellation that adjusts to your surroundings. You don’t have to do anything to manage it, and it’ll work well wherever you are. It effectively blocks ambient sounds, even while playing in the busiest poker rooms, allowing you to focus on what you do best.
Comfort is good, but not the best. Sometimes, it feels like they’re too cumbersome, but the memory foam is okay. We wouldn’t recommend it for all-day use, but it’s perfectly fine when you’re playing short games.
Jabra Elite 85h also has a basic touch control feature that allows you to adjust the volume, skip, play and pause music, and answer phone calls. If you need more than these features, you’ll need the Jabra mobile app to change the default configuration and select a voice assistant. Functionality is better than most, but we’re pretty sure others can do better.
What we like about the Jabra Elite 85h:
- Long battery life with fast charging
- Adaptive noise cancellation
- Basic functionality that’s easy to memorize
- Compatibility with Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant
If we’re to pick one reason for you to choose this pair of headphones, it’s the battery life. Even if you leave the ANC feature on, it has enough juice to last for 36 hours! With all of the features that it has, we could’ve given this a higher rank if it wasn’t that hard to get. Be sure to check it out and see if it’s available because it’s a steal for all the features that it has.
#7 Best Headphones: Philips Performance PH805
Honestly, this was a tie between Philips Performance PH805 and Cowin E8 PerfectQuiet. We only prefer the minimalist design from Philips, as opposed to Cowin’s candy-colored accentuated headphones. Both sound great, and of the same price range, but Cowin is a bit cumbersome for our taste, so Philips takes our 7th spot.
Active noise cancellation is good. It minimizes ambient sounds, but you’ll notice the difference when you’re in loud rooms. It’s not adapting to your environment, so you’ll have to adjust it as you move from one place to another. Still, it’s better than most ANC headphones we’ve tried.
It’s good for cash games, but if you’re in a tournament, you may want to check other ANC headphones with adaptive noise cancellation.
Design and comfort are the only reason why we have Philips instead of Cowin, and it’s probably one of the best in terms of design. Ear cups are over-ear, so there’s no discomfort even for long hours of use. Plus, it’s not as cumbersome as the ones that we have on this list.
Probably the most significant factor for us to pick Philips Performance PH805 is that it doesn’t have any visible button for controls. What you’re getting is a smooth, sleek finish that works well with touch navigation.
Battery life is great; it lasts for 30 hours of playback with ANC off and 25 hours with its noise cancellation. It even has a quick-charging feature, allowing you to get up to 6 hours of playback from 15 minutes of charging. If we’re only looking at battery life, Philips Performance PH805 could easily rank within the top 5.
What we like about the Philips Performance PH805:
- Smooth, sleek and button-less design
- Great battery life for all-day use
- Comfortable even for day-long tournaments
- Affordable price with minimal compromises
It doesn’t cost a fortune but has everything that you need when playing poker. Plus, it’s something that you’d want to wear wherever you go. If Philips went all out with its audio output, we could’ve easily given it a higher rank. If you’re looking for affordable headphones without a lot of compromises, Philips Performance PH805 is another option that you may want to consider!
With all the options available for poker headphones, it can be daunting for anyone to pick the one that suits their needs. In fact, we had to spend weeks comparing dozens of different headphones to come up with the best in each category.
Here are the best in every category that a poker player might consider when looking for a new pair of headphones: