Can you wear a mask at a poker table?


It’s an open secret that you have to mind your appearance when going to the casino. You know you can’t show up in a casino wearing your pajamas. Most casinos have dress codes they require their customers to follow. Both beginner and poker enthusiasts have approached and asked if they could wear a mask at a poker table.

You cannot wear a mask at a poker table and this is mainly for security reasons. If your reason for wearing a mask is to hide tells, you can instead wear sunglasses or hoodies. Also, work on your poker face.

By following the casino dress code, you not only show that you obey rules but that you also have respect for other players. We’ll be talking about the issue of masks in detail as well as what you can wear in a casino.

During Covid-19 virus epidemic, you can wear a normal face mask that covers your mask and nose though. But it cannot cover your whole face. Rules vary from casino to casino though.

If you want to master the art of body and face tells, then our recommendations for the best books for poker tells will be perfect article for you to read.

Wearing a festival costume to a casino - poker room - is not allowed..
Many casinos and poker rooms changed their policies to comply with government rules. During C-19 pandemic you are allowed to wear face masks that cover mouth and nose, but don’t expect to get away by wearing a festival costume.

Why do poker players wear masks at the tables

The main reason why poker players wear masks at the tables is to cover tells. Most poker players have the unending fear of giving their opponents the strength of their hand through their facial expressions. And they do employ a simple solution to the problem – by covering their faces with masks.

Perhaps, the biggest difference between beginner and experienced poker players is the ability of the latter to read other players while at the same time making themselves unreadable. Tells are mannerisms or behaviors that give away your feelings and thoughts. And they are not applicable only to poker but also to your everyday life.

Now, the truth is that tells varies from person to person. However, there are a number of indicators that are universal, that applies to everybody. These indicators are more like reflex actions and unless you work really hard to hide these reactions, an experienced eye will always spot them.

Can you cover your face in poker?

The short answer, no. Many tournaments and casinos have rules that specifically state that players cannot wear masks or any clothing that hides their identity.

The World Series Of Poker (WSOP) has no love for players covering their faces as stated in their rule below:

“Participants may not cover or conceal their facial identity. Tournament officials must be able to distinguish the identity of each Participant at all times and may instruct Participants to remove any material that inhibits their identification or is a distraction to other Participants or Tournament officials. Participants may wear sunglasses and sweatshirts with hoods, but may be asked to remove them if Tournament officials cannot identify them.” [via VIP Grinder]

Many players agree with WSOP and a lot of casinos forbid players covering their faces. The reason for not allowing players to cover their faces is for security purposes. Casinos want to be able to identify customers at a glance. Some casinos may not have rules against covering faces. But you’ll do well to ask the particular casino before visiting.

Covid-19 And The Compulsory Use Of Face Masks

Covid-19 pandemic has forced a lot of businesses to implement a number of policies. And casinos are not left out. After being forced to close down for months, casinos around the world have reopened while many are close to being reopened.

One of the guidelines put in place by casinos during C-19 pandemic is for players to wear face masks especially on tables that have no barriers. Table and card players and even spectators are required to follow these guidelines.

This will no doubt make the casino experience a lot different. A lot of casinos were initially hesitant to open poker rooms due to the constant touching and exchange of chips that could cause the spread of the coronavirus. Poker rooms are now finally open after various policies have been put in place.

You can expect to find fewer chairs at poker tables as well as fewer places for people to stand around the craps table. Big casinos such as MGM Resorts have taken the extra step of installing plexiglass partitions at its tables, making masks optional but strongly recommended for players.

Video: This company designed a gaming barrier for casinos amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Does Wearing Face Masks Have Effects?

We are pretty sure that you’ve had to wear face masks at one point or the other during a pandemic. And if you’ve worn a mask for long, you know how irritating or uncomfortable they can get. Some people even begin to wonder if masks have health consequences. We’ve seen a lot of poker players genuinely concerned as to whether wearing a mask will affect their gambling skills.

There are a number of health experts that claim wearing masks has no consequences. And the only time when you should be concerned is when you have pre-existing breathing problems. After all, a lot of health professionals wear masks for long periods. Definitely, they wouldn’t do this if it were harmful to their health.

In a nutshell, wearing a mask won’t affect your gambling skills if you are healthy. You may feel a bit irritated but you’ll be just fine. However, if you have pre-existing conditions, you should consider playing online poker for the time being.

A Bit About Poker Tells

It won’t take long after you start playing poker to understand the value of the information you can get from other players. More often than not, we don’t know the strength of a player’s hand until it is too late.

Physical demeanor and betting patterns could provide you with valuable clues about the strength or weaknesses of your opponents’ hand. We must also mention that some players deliberately fake tells.

They want to lead you astray and why not? Poker is after all a game of deception! To understand poker tells, you have to understand body language, and it is much harder to do if your opponent wears a mask at the table.

What Can You Wear To The Poker Room?

Knowing what you are allowed to wear to the poker room can make a lot of difference to your long-term expectations. Most casinos allow you to dress formally or casually. A variety of casual clothing is allowed usually with the expectation of tracksuits and ripped jeans.

  • Wear Hoodies: When going to a casino, you have to dress for a cold environment. We’ve encountered people who on their first visits to the casino were surprised at how cold it is. There are lots of air conditioners installed in casinos to make the environment comfortable. And you can quickly start feeling cold after some time.
    This is why you’ll see many people in the casinos wearing hoodies. These people know how important it is to dress for the cold environment. Another good thing about hoodies is that you can easily remove them and put them on your chair. You can wear leather jackets too but they can be bulky and inconvenient especially when switching tables.

You can read our article – Why poker players wear hoodies? – for more information.

  • Wear A Watch: Have you ever seen clocks hanging on the walls of the casinos? The answer is a solid no. Casinos are smart. They want you to keep playing and lose track of time. So be sure to wear a watch. You definitely don’t want to be making frequent trips to the sports betting area to ask what time it is. And you can cause friction at the table you are playing by constantly asking others what time it is.
  • Headphones or earphones: There’s been a lot of discussion about whether earphones should be banned at the tables. Some say it reduces socialization during gameplay.
    But there are times when headphones or earphones come really handy. You may not be feeling chatty and prefer to listen to music. It could be that you need to hear your favorite playlist to be in the zone or activate your mojo.

We have a complete article on why poker players wear headphones at the tables.

  • Bring sunglasses: Some poker players wear sunglasses to protect their eyes from the casino’s bright lights. There are those who wear them for fashion while others simply wear them to hide tells. Sunglasses are socially accepted at the tables so one would bat an eye if you show up wearing one.
  • Avoid Tight-Fitting Clothing: Tight-fitting shoes, pants, and shirts all look cool but may be uncomfortable during long sessions. And this could make you give valuable information to other players as you’ll become more readable.

Final Thoughts

Since you are not allowed to cover your face at poker tables, keeping your emotions in check and understanding tells will ensure you don’t give other players clues about the strengths and weaknesses of your hand. Even executing a bluff here and there can be an effective strategy thereby increasing your chances of winning.

Primoz

I have played poker professionally for more than 10 years. I was a winner at every poker format that I played - from tournaments to cash games, both in NL Holdem and PLO. Now my biggest satisfaction is to provide enthusiastic but new poker players with answers to all of their questions.

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