This is why Poker Players Often Wear Headphones


I’ve seen it, you’ve seen it, everyone’s probably seen it. Poker players who wear headphones during games. Whether you play tournament poker or cash poker at your local casino, the sight of a few poker players with headphones on and music on full blast is quite common. If you find this baffling, read further to find out why poker players do this.

Players wear headphones during games for various reasons:

  • to block out the noise and chit-chats going on in a poker table
  • to entertain themselves when it gets boring after playing for hours non-stop
  • some players come to games with headphones just for the trend. This habit is mostly found amongst younger poker players below age 40

Active noise cancellation is one of the reasons why players love to wear good headphones. In our list of best poker headphones, we chose headphones that are really good at keeping the outside sounds out when you are listening to your music, and without them being tight on your ears. Moreover, you can wear them for hours without any problem.

But this is not the only reason why poker players love to wear headphones. Poker is a game of strategy with players coming up with various ideas to try and improve their gameplay or outplay their opponents. From your dressing to facial expressions, there’s so much to hide or learn from your opponents with your appearance.

Are Headphones a Strategic Move For Poker Players?

It is common knowledge that players do a lot of things to conceal physical tells in poker. Some wear hoodies, baseball caps, and sunglasses to hide their faces and prevent other players from reading their emotional or physical reactions to in-game actions.

 So, are headphones strategic moves too? The easy answer to that question is no. You’re not going to gain an advantage over your opponent by wearing headphones, but it can help you play your best game if you think better when the music on.

Make sure your headphones don’t completely isolate you from the outer sound. You still need to hear the action of other players on the table and of the dealer!

For some players, the noise going on in a poker table can be quite distracting. With headphones, they can block out those noise and other mindless chit-chats. This move allows them to dedicate their attention to the game.

If you play cash poker at casinos, then you should know how terrible it is sometimes. You get to play against different characters, some of whom are drunk and foul-mouthed. Then there’s probably the guy who starts to talk about his ex-wife and another who talks about politics. If you’re the quiet type, the chances are that those conversations will annoy you. Luckily, good headphones can save you the trouble.

Also, most tournament players I have met who wear headphones usually do it to help with the boredom, and on a first look, that’s by no means a viable strategy. Yet, you must consider that a player who is bored out of his mind is less likely to be mentally invested in the game like the player who is in high spirits.

Poker tournaments can go on and on for days. It’s hard to maintain focus when, on average, in live poker games, you get dealt around 25 hands per hour, and each playing day of the tournament goes on for 12 hours. With poker being a game that requires a lot of mental work, it’s easy to get mentally exhausted without some form of entertainment. It is, therefore, safe to say that while not being a notable strategic move, wearing headphones can surely be advantageous to players.

Should I Wear Headphones During a Poker Game?

Not everyone is a fan of wearing headphones in a poker game. The need to wear headphones varies from one poker player to another. If you’re playing tournament poker and you hate the boredom that creeps in after spending hour after hour on a table, then perhaps you should wear headphones to keep you entertained.

The problem with wearing headphones, however, is that you’re blocking out everything and everyone. While you can certainly do without any of those unnecessary chit-chats on the table, you can learn a few things about your opponents just by listening to them talk. While people emphasize what you can see on a poker table, you should never underestimate what you can hear.

From side banters to the player who remarks leaving soon, there’s a lot of information going around in a table that an intelligent player will be able to process and exploit. Also, I have discovered that certain players are less likely to be aggressive against you when you form a casual social bond through a small chat during the game.

A small chat could be the difference between the guy on your left checking after you check or raising you. This is not true for every player, but if there’s a small chance that you can win an ally on the table, then you should go for it. Also, if you’re not opposed to making new friends wherever you go, then you may want to indulge yourself in some of those conversations on the table. Yes, a poker table is not the first place you think of when you’re looking for new friends, but at least you get to form bonds with like-minds. 

Whatever you do, be sure it works to your advantage. If you’re a player who finds it hard to concentrate or are disgusted with some of the words that come out from the mouth of your opponents, then you may block out those inanities with your headphones. However, if gathering information about your opponent is more important to you, then you should leave those headphones at home.

Other Unusual Trends on a Poker Table

Let’s face it; we’re talking about why players often wear headphones because it’s a bit weird. In that case, you’re probably going to come across other trends amongst poker players you may find unusual. One of such trends is poker players who wear sunglasses. Why would anyone wear dark shades while playing poker? To hide physical tells!

Many players can amass a lot of information by only studying their opponent’s eyes. The eye movement of a poker player can suggest what he’s thinking and his next possible move. When pros wear sunglasses, they’re protecting their eye movement from being read by opponents.

Also, some players simply wear sunglasses to look cool or appear like their favorite poker players on TV. For these players, it’s purely for fashion and nothing else.

Final Thoughts on Headphones Amongst Poker Players

Every player on a poker table has their reasons for doing whatsoever they do. Sometimes, it’s for fashion, other times it’s for strategy. If you do decide to wear a headphone to your next poker game, be sure it will come in handy one way or the other.

Related Questions

Do players who wear headphones and sunglasses cheat on poker tables? There have been talks of poker players who cheat with sunglasses. They do this by marking the cards with invisible ink that becomes visible while putting on altered sunglasses. There haven’t been many fears players cheating with headphones, although some poker tournaments do not allow earphones to avoid illegal communication. However, the likelihood of players cheating with sunglasses and headphones are low as most casinos set up rules to check cheating.

Can I become rich by playing cash poker? Yes, it is possible to become rich by playing cash poker. The game of poker is fun for many and a money-making venture for others. There have been players in casinos and online gaming sites who have managed to amass a small fortune by playing profitable poker. For me, poker has paid all the bills for ten years. It was my only source of income. While I didn’t become wealthy by playing it, it was certainly enough to give me a comfortable living.

How long would it take me to learn how to play poker? There’s no timeframe on learning the game of poker. The basic rules quite easy to learn, and that should take you a few minutes, but it could take a little time to learn the procedures and betting order of the game. A route I would recommend to everyone, and that worked for me personally, is to start with some free poker coaching website that will teach you to beat the lowest limits. After a while, when I felt comfortable, I switched to a more advanced educational poker site, where very best professional poker players taught me through videos. And then lastly, when I was able to see where I lack knowledge at I switched to hire a poker coach or two.

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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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